Happy Birthday Bartók!

Poor Bartók has the misfortune to have his birthday land just day’s after Bach’s, and thus the google hits for the German master’s outnumber the Hungarian’s some six to one.

But here are some nice tidbits around the web for the occasion:

Bartók at the piano:

Daniel Harding and the Berlin Philharmonic tear into the Divertimento:

Yehudi Menuhin, Jeremy Menuhin, and Thea King in an untidy but appropriately rustic performance of Contrasts (ignore the carping in the comments about King’s tone, this is supposed to be quasi-folk after all):

And here’s the NY Phil page for the fantastic concert we saw earlier this month.

And though Bernstein doesn’t mention Bartók in this clip, it’s a wonderful discussion:

Speaking of ‘modern’ music, I had a true music ed fail this week, when I played a clip from the Pulcinella suite to a roomful of 5th graders and asked what they thought. I asked them to pick one word to describe it to someone who had never heard it before.  This has worked with younger kids, who came up with adjectives like ‘funny,’ ‘smooth,’ and ‘bold.’  One little girl said it sounded like a fart.

I asked the 5th graders for their ideas.  “Boring,” one guy shouted, whose eyes had glazed over the instant the music started.  I did the good teacher thing.  “Why is it boring?”  I asked.  “It doesn’t have a beat,” he replied, apparently stating the obvious.

I didn’t reveal that I had chosen this music precisely because it has a beat, a strong one in fact.  But he couldn’t hear it?  Classical’s funky, goofy side doesn’t appeal?

More thoughts on this later.  For now, I’m off to hear music that really doesn’t have a beat.

– Amanda

About thousandfoldecho

Everyone likes classical music. Not everyone knows it yet.
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