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Bartók: Rhapsodies Nos. 1 & 2; Piano Quintet

5.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

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Bartok: Rhapsodies Nos. 1 And 2 / Piano Quintet
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Audio CD, 13 Jun 1995
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Frequently bought together

  • Bartók: Rhapsodies Nos. 1 & 2; Piano Quintet
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  • Bartók: Violin Sonatas 1 & 2, Contrasts
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  • Bartok: Viola Concertos / Two Pictures
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Product details

  • Composer: Béla Bartók
  • Audio CD (13 Jun. 1995)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Naxos
  • ASIN: B000001403
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 228,874 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Beautifully performed vigorous accounts of the two Rhapsodies for violin and piano as you would expect when played by Gyorgy Pauk and Jeno Jando. The melody of the 'friss' part of the first Rhapsody is delightfully close to the American folksong 'Lord of the Dance'.

The surprise comes when Jando is joined by the Kodaly Quartet for a performance of the early (1903) Piano Quintet, the work that Bartok considered the end of his apprencticeship years and written just before his official Op. 1 - the Rhapsody for Piano and Orchestra. Little in the way of Bartokian modernism - the role models are closer to Brahms, Strauss and Dohnanyi - it is still a very engaging piece. Hints of the future can be found in the Adagio third movement and Finale where the Hungarian melodic inflections add a piquancy that takes the music into the 20th century.

The recordings from 1993 and 1994 and clear and natural. A winning disc from Naxos.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta) (May include reviews from Early Reviewer Rewards Program)

Amazon.com: 4.4 out of 5 stars 7 reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The piano quintet may be early Bartók, but is a superb work 4 Sept. 2009
By G.D. - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Bartók's early second piano quintet (the first one is lost) is a very fine work, even if the language is more reminiscent of that of Brahms, Liszt or Dohnanyi than his own later style - although there are certainly touches of originality and preechoes of his later style (mostly so in the finale, although the folk touches here are Gipsy rather than Hungarian). It's an ambitious work, but the young Bartók is imaginative and skillful enough to manage to sustain the listener's interest, and while no masterpiece, perhaps, it is certainly a work recommended not only to ardent Bartók fans.

The performances here (I have not heard any alternative ones) sounds committed, and they play with spirit and color; indeed, I find nothing really to complain about with regards to the performances of the quintet. The far more famous and idiomatic Rhapsodies don't quite stand up to the competition, however, even if Gyorgy Pauk again plays with energy and spirit (he loses out somewhat on the music's humor). The early, small Andante from 1902 is a fine miniature worth hearing, however. Overall, this is a very interesting issue with respect to the music, and a very satisfying one with respect to performances. A pity, then, about the sound, which is rather murky and grainy and does the music no service (though not awful). Nevertheless, this is a very recommendable disc for music-lovers in general and Bartók enthusiasts in particular.
5.0 out of 5 stars Bartok as a gift 25 Nov. 2011
By Daphna - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Bartok as a gift: Wonderful! (Rhapsodies Nos 1 & 2; Piano Quintet). Make your friends happy for Christmas, as I did with my friend for his Birthday...Bartók: Rhapsodies Nos. 1 & 2; Piano Quintet
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars This review compares the recording on the Naxos label, with those on the Helios label and Harmonia Mundi label 6 Jan. 2013
By Tom Brody - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
This compares Bartok's Rhapsodies Nos. 1 and 2, as available on the NAXOS label (Gyorgy Pauk on violin; Jeno Jando on Piano) and on the HELIOS label (Krysia Osostowicz on violin; Susan Tomes on piano). Both of these discs contain extra pieces, but I only review and compare the Rhapsodies.

ISABELLE FAUST'S RECORDING OF THE RHAPSODIES. Since writing and posting my initial review, which appears below, I discovered the recording of Bartok's Rhapodies by Isabelle Faust, as issued on the HARMONIA MUNDI label. The Faust recording is superior to that on the Naxos label. Please see my review on Amazon.com of the 2-disc product recorded by Ms. Faust, which includes Bartok's Rhapsodies Nos. 1 and 2, Romanian Folkdances (for violin and piano), Bartok's Sonata for solo violin, and Bartok's Sonatas Nos. 1 and 2, for violin and piano. To repeat, as far as the two Rhapsodies are concerned, when compared to the Faust recording, the recordings on the Naxos label comes out a distant second. Also, the Faust recording is superior to that on the Helios label.

MY REVIEW. I prefer the NAXOS recording over the Helios recording, because the piano is somewhat more distinct and in the foreground, while the piano in the HELIOS recording has too many echoes. For the HELIOS recording, the Rhapsodies begin on track 14. I made no attempt to harmonize my reviews of the two recordings. I first listened to the NAXOS recording, then the HELIOS recording, then went back to the NAXOS disc, and again to the HELIOS disc. On the NAXOS recording, you can hear somebody moaning, but the moaning is not loud. I know that Glenn Gould hummed when in the recording studio, but this seems not to have detracted from his customer base.

RHAPSODY No. 1.

NAXOS. TRACK 1. The piano dominates slightly over the violin. The melody plods along at a moderate pace. The theme is an ascending theme, which goes like this, where each number ascends by one note: "ONE-2,3,4, FIVE-6,7,8, NIIIIIINE!" (The 1 is a whole note. The 2 is a 1/4th note, the 3 and 4 are 1/2 notes. The 5 is a whole note. The 6 is a 1/4 note, and the 7 and 8 are 1/2 notes.) At 1 minute, 35 seconds, a slower wistful theme takes over, which continues to 3 min, 10 sec. This slower episode could almost pass for Brahms, especially at 2 minutes and 50 seconds. At 3 min, 15 sec, the original ascending theme returns. The movement ends in a major key, and this movement is 4 minutes and 38 seconds, as determined by my compact disc player. Vocal moaning can be heard at 50-55 seconds, 3 minutes and 30 seconds, 3 min, 40sec., and at 3 min, 49 sec.

HELIOS. TRACK 14 (same movement as NAXOS Track 1). The violin dominates somewhat over the piano. The violin is thin sounding and harsh to the ears. The piano is somewhat muddy. At 1 minute and 35 seconds, the slower wistful theme takes over. At 3 min, 5 sec, the ascending theme returns. 4 min 25 sec total.

NAXOS. TRACK 2. Violin and piano have equal prominence. The violin is not thin sounding and is not harsh to the ears. The piano is not enshrouded in echoes. This movement, that is, the second movement, starts with a melody similar to that of SIMPLE GIFTS, made famous by COPLAND's Appalachian Spring. At 1 minute, occurs a romping transitional period which at 1 min, 35 sec, becomes a joyous bluegrass-tinged melody. At 2 min, 20 sec, starts a moderate paced motoristic episode which at 3 min, 5 sec, becomes deliriously loud. From this point on, the music often sounds like an entire symphonic orchestra (even though only two people are playing). At 3 min, 35 sec, comes an end-of-the-piece type of theme. At 4 min, 15 sec, the SIMPLE GIFTS tune returns. Vocal moaning occurs at 2 minutes, 20 seconds to 2 min, 35 sec.

HELIOS. TRACK 15. The violin and piano are well balanced in this movement, unlike the misbalanced sound engineering found on other movements in this HELIOS recording. The piano has too much of an echo. The SIMPLE GIFTS melody occurs, as mentioned above in the review of the NAXOS recording. At 1 min, 15 sec, a little dance them appears which at 1 min, 40 sec, turns into a spirited whirling dance. At 2 min, 20 sec, a motoristic episode occurs which at 2 min, 40 sec, doubles in speed. At 3 min, 55 sec, the SIMPLE GIFTS melody returns. The second movement is 5 min, 14 seconds long in the HELIOS recording.

RHAPSODY No. 2.

NAXOS. TRACK 3. The violin plays in a minor key. At 9 seconds to 15 seconds, you can hear vocal moaning. The melody is like a whining child. At 50 seconds, the piano dominates for about 10 seconds, playing a theme reminiscent of part of Bartok's CONCERTO FOR ORCHESTRA (2 minutes and 15 seconds into the third movement of CONCERTO FOR ORCHESTRA). At 1 min, 8 sec to 1 min, 20 sec, you can hear vocal moaning. At 1 min, 40 sec, there is a transition where the music becomes more delicate and the violin plays a high-spirited squeaky motif. At 2 min, 10 sec to 2 min, 30 sec, only the piano plays, and this playing is robust. A meandering episode occurs from 2 minutes 30 seconds to the end of the movement. In this meandering episode, the composer's goal was to envelope the listener is dramatic pathos (and not to subject the listener to lilting dance-melodies). The movement ends at 4 minutes and 15 seconds, as determined by the clock in my compact disc player.

HELIOS. TRACK 16. The violin plays in a minor key, but it does not sound like a whining child, as in the NAXOS recording. At 1 min, 40 sec, the music sounds like parts of Bartok's CONCERTO FOR ORCHESTRA. At 1 min, 50 sec, a delicate and quiet episode occurs, and at 2 min, 15 sec, the volume picks up. At 2 min, 40 sec, comes a harsh episode where the violin sounds constipated, but at 3 min, 15 sec, the constipation ends. This movement is 4 min, 37 sec long.

NAXOS. TRACK 4. The theme is like a clumsy peasant dance. One can almost see clods of earth flying from the feet of gypsies prancing around their campfire. At 1 minute exactly, comes a barbaric theme, characteristic of Bartok's early period. From 1 min, 30 sec to 2 min, occurs an aleatory theme. Suddenly, at 2 minute, comes a 30-second episode sounding like PETRUSHKA by Stravinsky. Barbarism returns at 2 min, 30 sec. At 3 min, 20 sec, a beautiful lilting melody occurs, which continues to 3 min, 50 sec. Plucked strings occur at 4 min, 10 sec, where there starts a minutes of jauntiness. Plucked strings occur again at 5 min, 10 sec. This movement is 6 min, 38 sec total.

HELIOS. TRACK 17. This movement starts like a clumsy peasant dance, as mentioned above. At 50 seconds occurs a barbaric theme, lasting until 1 min, 18 seconds. The piano pounds out a tune that sounds like a tape recording being played backwards. An aleatory theme then occurs. Suddenly, at 1 min, 47 sec, we hear Stravinsky's PETRUSHKA (or anyway, something sounding like it), and this lasts until 2 min, 5 sec. The barbaric them returns at 2 min, 14 sec, and continues until 2 min, 25 sec. At 4 min, 30 sec, comes a chugging motif. Plucking occurs at 4 min, 40 sec. This movement is 6 min, 5 sec long.
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A great showcase of Bartok's early compositions 13 Oct. 2000
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
A great oppurtunity for Bartok fans to experience a few oft forgotten gems of his early years. The Kodaly quartet seems to know their Bartok very well and, exerting their technical skills, do a good deal of justice to Bartok in their performance. They do fall a little off on the rhythm a few places, but the overall performance is very decent considering the challenge that these compositions put forth.
The folk rhapsodies are charming, and similar themes based on them run throughout Bartok's career (heavily influenced by the folk music of his native area). They aren't as impressive as the more well-known Bartok pieces, but they are interesting to hear.
The piano quintet is the real jewel on the crown. Its more developed than the other pieces and resembles, stylistically, the mature Bartok pieces we all know and love.
I would recommend this to anyone interested in Bartok's music though it isn't essential to anyone's collection.
5.0 out of 5 stars Bartók: Rhapsodies Nos. 1 & 2; Piano Quintet 6 Feb. 2012
By Bjorn Viberg - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
Bartók: Rhapsodies Nos. 1 & 2; Piano Quintet is a 1993 Naxos recording starring violinist Gyorgy Pauk and pianist Jeno Jando. One also gets to hear the Kodaly Quartet. Keith Anderson has written the music notes. I very much enjoyed this fine recording. Highly recommended. 5/5.
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