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Béla Bartók: Dance Suite

  • in six movements (1923)
  • for orchestra
  • 2 2 2 2 - 4 2 2 1 - timp, perc(3), hp, cel, pno, str
  • Duration: 18’
  • Instrumentation details:
    1st flute (+picc)
    2nd flute (+picc)
    1st oboe
    2nd oboe (+c.a)
    1st clarinet in Bb
    2nd clarinet in Bb (+bass cl(Bb))
    1st bassoon
    2nd bassoon (+bsn)
    1st horn in F
    2nd horn in F
    3rd horn in F
    4th horn in F
    1st trumpet in Bb
    2nd trumpet in Bb
    1st trombone
    2nd trombone
    tuba
    timpani
    1st percussion
    2nd percussion
    celesta (+pno)
    harp
    piano
    violin I
    violin II
    viola
    violoncello
    contrabass
  • Composer: Béla Bartók
  • Editor: Peter Bartók
  • Table of contents:
    Moderato
    Allegro molto
    Allegro vivace
    Molto tranquillo
    Comodo
    Allegro

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Work introduction

Three works were commissioned for the 50th anniversary of the formation of Hungary’s capital Budapest from the three cities Buda, Pest and Óbuda: Kodály’s Psalmus hungaricus, Dohnányi’s Festal Overture and Béla Bartók’s Dance Suite, which became one of his most frequently-played compositions. Although the themes are Bartók’s, they sound like peasant music: Hungarian, Romanian, Slovakian and Arabian, commingling in some of the movements. As Bartók himself pointed out, “The melody of the first theme in the first movement is reminiscent of primitive Arabian folk music, whereas its rhythm sounds East European.” Thus he remained faithful to his guiding idea of confraternisation among peoples.

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World première

Location:
Budapest (HU)
Date:
19.11.1923

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