Date of Degree
Joseph N. Straus
Bartok's recordings made between 1912 and 1945 are considered valuable sources to Bartok interpreters. These recordings provide us with a wealth of information about the composer's intentions and helpful interpretive ideas. This study shows that Bartok performs with great freedom that expresses what goes beyond the scores.
The pieces selected in this study include Bagatelle Op. 6 No. 2, Evening in Transylvania from Ten Easy Piano Pieces, the first movement of Suite Op. 14, and Allegro Barbaro. By analyzing Bartok's recordings on these four pieces, this thesis explores that Bartok's interpretive decisions are related to stylistic and structural characteristics. His different use of tempo, dynamics, touch etc., results in varied perception of the form by the listener (Bagatelle); his free rubato playing articulates human language (Evening in Transylvania); his improvisatory performance brings out the essential character of folk dance (Suite, first movement); and his thoughtful articulation prevents a primitive piece from being too boisterous (Allegro Barbaro).
This study also discusses Gyorgy Sandor's recordings for comparison. Mr. Sandor was one of Bartok's most successful pupils and won a Grand Prix du Disque for his recording of the entire piano music of Bartok. It is proved that Sandor's playing of the same pieces is much more "Classical" and conservative than Bartok's, because of Sandor's more controlled touch and less various tempo, rhythmic variations.
The author prepared the performance editions in the Appendix which illustrate precisely what has been played on the recordings. These examples provide the direct and reliable information, showing Bartok's intentions on playing his own music.
Yang, Shu-Yuan, "An Interpretive Analysis of Bela Bartok's Performance of His Own Music" (1997). CUNY Academic Works.