Béla Bartók (1881-1945)

  1. Early Recordings of Music by Béla Bartók (June 25, 1962)

    From a program first broadcast on June 25, 1962, John Whiting presents some early 78 rpm recordings of works by Béla Bartók. Although the recordings suffer from the scratches and other distortions typical of old shellac discs, the quality and historical nature of the performances are such so as to allow for some imperfections in the recording medium. Of particular interest is Bartók’s “Concerto for Orchestra” performed by the Concertgebouw Orchestra of Amsterdam, under the direction of Eduard van Beinum, in which the scratches during the soft intro quickly give way to a robust presentation of one of Bartók’s latter orchestral masterpieces. The recording quality of the following selections of piano music is more problematic, but given that they are performed by the composer himself, who introduces each piece in his native Hungarian, make them of some historical interest, while the pieces themselves are representative of his seemingly simple yet distinctly elegant style of composition.