Bartók’s Petite Suite is a reduction for piano of six of Bartók’s 44 Duos for Two Violins, arranged by the composer in 1936. American composer Jay Schwartz has now arranged the Suite in a version for two violins and string orchestra, as well as a version for string orchestra alone, returning to Bartók’s original Duos for Two Violins and expounding upon their inherent idiomatic stringed instrument characteristics. Schwartz’s orchestrations offer a small scale form reminiscent of a Concerto Grosso, as found in Bartók’s Divertimento, retaining Bartók’s style while expanding the canons and counterpoint found in Bartók’s original duos.
Schwartz remains true to Bartók’s aesthetic and Bartók’s characteristic scoring, including allusions to his “Night Music” and incorporating various elements of Bartók’s own orchestral renditions of folk music, while at the same time allowing himself the freedom of development and invention of material supporting Bartók’s ideas.
In addition to the six pieces from Bartók’s Suite, Schwartz has chosen two complementary pieces from Bartók’s violin duos to balance the arrangement as an orchestral form and offer a greater diversify of stylistic possibilities.