Tuesday 22 November 2022

A remarkable musical diary: Bartók and the string quartet at Conway Hall

Béla Bartók using a phonograph to record Slovak folk songs sung by peasants in Zobordarázs
Béla Bartók using a phonograph to record Slovak folk songs in Zobordarázs

During the 1949/50 Sunday afternoon concert season at Conway Hall an important milestone took place, the first performance in the UK of a complete cycle of Bartók's six string quartets. This was just eight years after the premiere of the sixth quartet and four years after Bartók's death. On Sunday 27 November 2022 at 6.30pm, the Barbican String Quartet will be performing Bartók's String quartet no. 4 in C as part of a programme that includes Haydn's Quartet in F 'The Dream' and Schumann's Quartet No. 3.

Before hand, I will be giving a talk on Bartók and the String Quartet, looking at the musical, personal and political background to these works. Bartók's string quartets form a remarkable musical diary, stretching across his career but they also point up the difficult changes in his native Hungary and what is meant to be Hungarian in the 20th century.

Full details from the Conway Hall website.

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