Those who have read the latest articles I have posted will realize I am an authentic “fan” of Béla Bartok.
I will conclude by speaking about the rest of his works for violin and piano or violin and orchestra.
The last two sonatas for violin and piano are quite different, one from the other. The first one, particularly the second part, seems to me almost a rhapsody. Very brilliant and virtuoso. The second one I consider to be music that is more abstract and complex.
As I commented in my last posting, there is a third sonata that was posthumous. It is a work from his youth, with a style that is more folklore. It is also a very brilliant work.
The two rhapsodies, which can be performed in recital either with piano or orchestra, are works which can be compared in form with Ravel’s Tzigane. They are made up of two well differentiated parts and of course are written in a more modern style. These works, as well as Ravel’s Tzigane, are successfully received, although they are not yet so popular. Technically they are very difficult.
Contrasts, a work dedicated to the famous jazz clarinetist, Benny Goodman and the violinist Joseph Szigeto, at no time escapes from the influence of jazz, with two cadences, one for each instrument, including some experimental curiosities. In the third part, the violinist must play with two violins, tuned differently. One is tuned in G sharp, D, A, E flat, and the other one is tuned as normal. This is not only an effect, but it gives the violin a more popular character, using this “scordatura”.
The Roumanian Dances (arrangement by Székeli), as well as the Hungarian Dances (arrangement by Orszagh) are actually arrangements of piano works, but which I believe are better played on the violin than on piano solo. It must be remembered that in those countries the violin is as popular as is the guitar in Spain, for example.
Not to be forgotten is a Sonatina for piano, which André Gertler arranged for violin and piano, with very good criterion.