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  • 44 Duos  Vn/Ballad & Dance/Ligatura
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44 Duos Vn/Ballad & Dance/Ligatura Import


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Audio CD, Import, June 18, 2002
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Product Details

  • Performer: András Keller, János Pilz
  • Composer: Béla Bartók, György Ligeti, György Kurtág
  • Audio CD (June 18, 2002)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Import
  • Label: ECM Records
  • ASIN: B000062X71
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #318,248 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. Bartok: 44 Duos for Two Violins - Bartok, Bela
2. Ligeti: Ballad and Dance - Bartok, Bela
3. Kurtag: Ligatura-Message To Frances-Marie op. 31b - Bartok, Bela

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com

Bartók's Duos are triple-threats: progressions of very brief practice works for violinists from students to skilled artists; transformations of folk dances and songs into art works; and pieces for concert performance, either piecemeal or complete. The Keller-Pilz duo makes its own sequence of the 44 primarily to heighten contrasts and sustain interest, a practice sanctioned by Bartók since the published order progressing from easiest to most difficult doesn't complement the pure listening experience. This revised order certainly works in these spirited performances.

Keller and Pilz convey the full range of Bartók's technical demands, even while they bring out the folk elements that pervade the music. In their opening "Transylvanian Song," they sound like village fiddlers; they quietly buzz away in the "Mosquito Dance" and seamlessly weave their contrasting lines in the more abstract Prelude and Canon. Further feats of violinism are expertly performed in the finger-breaking "Pizzicato" and the tremolos of the "Arabian Song." It's not all village fun or violinistic virtuosity either. Some of the slower pieces, such as the fragile "Ruthenian Song" and the moving "Lament," touch the heart. The brief fillers are a pair of similarly folk-based violin duos by Ligeti and Kurtág's hushed, pianissimo "Ligatura." Vibrant sound and ECM's usual deluxe packaging complete a highly desirable production. --Dan Davis

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By 410 on October 1, 2009
Format: Audio CD
It's hard to believe that these works haven't become more popular entrees of the Bartok catalog. This series of Violin duos becomes increasingly difficult as they progress, but don't assume these are mere practice exercises. These brief lyrical works display Bartok's love of folk music in ways more obvious than much of his output. Certainly they are a more approachable side of Bartok than his middle string quartets, yet are still full of formal beauty.

As for the performance, it is full of nuance and gorgeous phrasing. The order of performance is changed to suit variety, rather than increasing difficulty. The typically impeccable ECM recording standards suit this music perfectly. I've heard the Vegh performance as well, and am a huge fan of many Vegh Quartet recordings, but definitely prefer this release both in terms of performance and recording detail. I'd recommend looking into the Keller Quartet, both players on this disc are members, who have been issuing a number of excellent recordings (Dvorak, Bartok, Debussy/Ravel, Kurtag) that deserve broader exposure.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Philippe Vandenbroeck VINE VOICE on November 10, 2010
Format: Audio CD
This, once more, is a perfect ECM package. The 44 Duos are a work that is singular in its scope, form and instrumentation. The musicianship is of the highest order, but at the same time it is also relaxed and down to earth. The recording (at ECM's familiar Kloster St Gerold in the Austrian Vorarlberg) is transparent, vivacious and set in a pleasingly resonant acoustic. Finally, the accompanying booklet is impeccably produced with an intelligent essay by Wolfgang Sandner (music editor at Germany's leading broadsheet) and a very evocative picture by author/photographer Peter Nadas gracing the cover.

This is Bartok at his most approachable. The 44 Duos were composed in the early Thirties as a kind of pendant to his 'For Children' for the piano. The initial purpose was didactic: a set of pieces for a German compendium of graded violin pieces. A little later this concept blossomed into the Mikrokosmos. Almost all are based on folk material, from all over the Balkans. Initially Bartok arranged them in order of difficulty but he anticipated that people would make selections of pieces for concert performance. In this recording, Andras Keller and Janos Pilz (both founding members of the Keller Quartet) have rearranged the order of the pieces so as to allow for sustained listening throughout the whole set. And this works admirably. It really is not a burden to sit through 52 minutes of music which occupies after all a relatively narrow textural bandwith. The overall impression is uplifting and cheerful but also epic, timeless. The music sounds like unbuttoned folk, yes, but in addition we hear echoes of Bach, Beethoven and, as Sandner discusses in his essay, also the grammar of New Music is brilliantly woven into the music. The avant garde echoes are subtly reinforced by the two very short works from other Hungarian composers - Ligeti and Kurtag - that are complementing this recording.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By M. Zveris on November 21, 2011
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I'm not sure how I feel about this album. Would I buy it again? Yes, indeed I would happily purchase it over. Did I feel that Andras Keller and Janos Pilz were suited to the roles they played in making this recording? Yes, I feel they both did a very good job.

Perhaps it is Bartok that I had less enjoyment for. Many tracks were very moving, they were riveting, and the quality of every recording left nothing to be desired. However, and with that out of the way, I was not terribly impressed with the music itself. Some pieces seemed to drag on into eternity, I found my desire to skip them nearly overwhelming. Others begged for a repeat playing and then another, and again!

I am a fan of his earlier works, and it is perhaps this departure from his usual emotions and ranges of sound that left me slightly puzzled and at times disappointed. That is not to say this isn't a fantastic grouping to add to your musical collection. For every track you may dislike there are two more to take its place. This recording shows us a more toned down Bartok in many cases and yet doesn't leave us bereft of the skill his compositions always supplied.

I had yet to hear many pieces music on this album and cannot say my life was not enriched by listening to them, but it isn't something I will listen to often for more than a few pieces and that is a shame in and of itself.
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By gopher625 on June 30, 2011
Format: Audio CD
I know little about the challenges of playing violin but I do like this CD. All the pieces are a pleasure to listen to. I`m glad previous reviewers give insight to the origins and makeup of this CD. It makes the listening experience more rewarding. If you`re like me and just wanted good simple violin music to read or think by, you`ll really like this selection.
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By The terrible reviewer on April 8, 2013
Format: MP3 Music Verified Purchase
I love the "funky" dissonance of these Bartok duos! I listen to them all the time, almost as much as the mp3 Jascha Heifetz collection. But I digress. The product has more than 44 songs in it, because some duos are in two parts. Andras Keller is very good-you've gotta love him!
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