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String Quartets 1 And 2 (Vegh, Lysy)

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4.7 out of 5 stars 3 reviews from Amazon.com us-flag |

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Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. 44 Duos For Two Violins/ String Quartets (48 Tracks On 2 Discs) - Bela Bartok

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Amazon.com: 4.7 out of 5 stars 3 reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Bartok, the minimalist 2 Sept. 2004
By Bruce Hodges - Published on Amazon.com
It was a delight getting reacquainted with the 44 Duos for two violins, a set of delightful miniatures, most of which are only 30 seconds to a minute long. Given one of the inherent problems -- how to maintain musical interest using only two instruments with the same timbre -- Bartok solved it magnificently. These little gems pack in a great deal of contrapuntal and rhythmic interest, but nevertheless are still playable by mid-level or even beginning violinists.

But Alberto Lysy and Sandor Vegh are no "beginning violinists," and it is marvelous to hear experts give these pieces the royal treatment. One can almost listen to all 44 straight through, which is quite surprising. (You'd think the sound would wear on the ear, but I didn't find this the case.) Lysy and Vegh dig into these studies with gusto, emphasizing their robust folk origins, and the results have power and more than a little humor. Other musicians might approach these with more lyricism, but the slight rawness here seems like the way to go.

The two quartets are almost a bonus, but the Vegh Quartet is much admired in these. (Seek out the comments on their complete set of all six quartets.) The sound quality (on Naive) is good -- perhaps slightly dry and close-up, but it works with the material.

To date, this is the only recording of the Duos I've heard, and although I'd be delighted to explore others, this CD has given me much pleasure.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bartok: 44 Duos for Two Violins; String Quartets 1 & 2 5 Sept. 2007
By Samuel Clemens - Published on Amazon.com
This is an outstanding CD of these 3 masterpieces from Bartok. Bartok showed his brilliance as a composer composing 3 these masterpieces. The only drawback that I have from this CD was the descriptions of the 44 movements of the 44 Duos for Two Violins. The descriptions were only in French, and there was no English translation of those 44 movements. I have to get somebody who knows French to tell me the names of those 44 movements. Anyway, I am still glad that I bought this CD. Thanks, Amazon!
5.0 out of 5 stars Musical Studies Transformed into Real Music 10 Sept. 2016
By Matthew Davidson - Published on Amazon.com
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These short little duets are well known to student violinists, as they range in difficulty from the sort of thing that a beginner can navigate to a few at that present some real challenges (mostly rhythmic) towards the end of Book IV. They’re also a lot of fun to play, even when your technique has outgrown their didactic purpose as violin studies.

I’ve owned two other recordings of the duos over the years (Paul and Sawa on Naxos and Kiss and Balogh from the New Budapest String Quartet), but once I heard what Végh and Lysy do with these, the alternatives seemed to miss the point entirely (as I did when I played them as a student). Végh and Lysy are very free with tempos; their rubato is often very pronounced; and they really dig into accents and syncopations. In other words, they actually play these like folk music (the origin of most of the melodies). This kind of edge-of-your seat playing makes for a very lively listening experience that is the musical equivalent of adding some salt and paprika to an otherwise under-seasoned goulash. It also helps that the violinists actually program the duos instead of playing them in order, so that the very simple ones are not all clustered at the beginning.

All of this said, even though the harmonies are often quite interesting (Bartók is not simply transcribing folk melodies), this is (at heart) pretty simple music-- both in origin and purpose (they were written for student violinists). To enjoy these, one should not be expecting them to be an adjunct to the quartets or the violin sonatas. Nonetheless, I do think there is much of interest here even to those who never played the violin, but my high marks are primarily for how well I believe Végh and Lysy realize the potential of this music. If you’re looking for ambitious or challenging musical content, adjust back the rating a star.

The second disc collects the Végh Quartet’s stereo traversal of the first two of Bartók’s string quartets. How recommendable these are depends on your tolerance of this quartet’s occasional lapses in technique and intonation (though choosing to include the two earlier quartets mitigates these problems somewhat). Like their famous recording of the Beethoven quartets, in the Bartók quartets these imperfections in execution are balanced by a keen insight and interpretive depth that most other ensembles only aspire to achieve. For me, the Végh Quartet is always worth hearing, even if their technical frailties mean that they are never quite my first choice. Your mileage may vary.
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