Bartok – Music for String Instruments, Percussion and Celesta: “

I’ve always been fascinated by the somber compositions of Hungarian composer Bela Bartok. So much so, that the very first composition I wrote was a set of choir pieces in the style of Bartok. This was in my freshman year at college so you can imagine how naive I was. My composition teacher caught the influence yet praised my originality. He also said they were so full of mistakes that the pieces were unplayable as they stood. So much for my career as a composer.

My favorite orchestra work by Bela Bartok is the Music for String Instruments, Percussion, and Celesta. While many see Bartok as dissonant I think he is incredibly melodic with each note making perfect sense. The 2nd movement is a joyous (for Bartok) mixture of phrases playing off each other. There is not a bad choice in this composition. This particular performance is a classic in itself. Recorded in 1949 by the Los Angeles Chamber Symphony conducted by Harold Byrns, this is a moving and dramatic performance. It is also the very first recording of this seminal work. The transfer from 78rpm disc to MP3 file is another F. Reeder miracle. How does he capture this great sound in VBR MP3 at around 96kbps? This is another must download from the 78rpm collection at The Internet Archive.

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(Via Free Albums Galore.)

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