Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Bela Bartok (2)

Cover for Folk Music of Rumania
(after a photo by Bela Bartok)
30" x 20", oil on canvas, 2012
Hungarian girls in traditional dress
(after a photo by Bela Bartok)
32" x 25", oil on canvas, 2012

In the late eighties playing the countdown of 100 songs could take up to 24 hours. I had orchestral symphonies in the list that I would play whole. Bela Bartok was a Top 100 regular those days. There are no symphonies in the Top 100 2011. That is not to say I don't like classical music anymore, there is still, and always has been, classical music in my list. These days I divide up the lengthy works into their passages, movements, acts, or selected arias. I'm also drawn to classical works that don't rely on long orchestral movements (such as my infatuation with medieval music). Playing the 100 songs this year takes up a modest six hours.
I always liked the music of Bela Bartok but his presence in my top 100s have been limited to his function as a ethnomusicologist who extensively recorded in the field in Eastern Europe. And as a photographer! With four of his photographs used to model my paintings after, he is this year's most used visual source. The four photographs are equally divided between Romania and his native Hungary. It is quite possible that Bartok took the photograph of the six Romanian boys on Palm Sunday (which will be coming up soon).
The last two canvases of the Top 100 2011 on top a back yard landscape are paintings to illustrate second tracks from both Folk Music of Rumania and Hungarian Folk Music. The Romanian song is called Lament for a dead brother and resides at precisely the other end of the spectrum as the first one, which was a lively and fast Hora dance performed by village (gypsy) musicians (see Rumania, July 2011).  The lament from the Romanian LP was recorded by Bartok. The Hungarian song Elmegyek, elmegyek was not recorded by him but comes from the official academic Hungarian research title mentioned above. The Hungarian image comes from the booklet inside Bartok's Folk Music of Hungary LP.

1 comment:

  1. Hi! I can't help but to notice that you write good articles and i enjoy reading them :)

    Can you write something about Dracula's castle? It is my favorite! please... Ill just stay tuned if you will post something about the castle of Dracula. Thank you so much!