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Thursday, February 03, 2005

Bartok: Mikrokosmos No. 109 "From the Island of Bali"

This piece is in ternary form, with two distinct A and B sections, followed by a recapitulation of the original material. It starts with a nice walking tempo, andante, in a nice triple meter (6/8). Most of the material seems to be call and response, with the left hand originating an idea and the right hand finishing the thought. As the end of this first section draws to a close, the two hands play simultaneously in inverse directions, weaving into a perfect authentic cadence to bring about the second section.

The second section starts with a new meter (4/4) and a slower, more deliberate risoluto tempo. The hands playing the same melody an octave apart, giving the single melody line more depth. Also, we increase dynamics to a powerful forte, slowly building to fortissimo as we repeat the original second section material only an octave lower, with now two octaves between the hands, then elaborating on it to a rising din and low growl, before returning to the very beginning material. The andante material returns, with the growling octave Ds in the bass to compliment it. We continue the original material to a ritardando right before our final cadence that slowly dies away in the last 4 bars.

The fugal nature of this piece, mixed with some atonal elements, lends a very complex and exotic nature to the piece. I'm not usually partial to modern pieces, but I like the use of a plain piano to do it, the single instrument with multiple textures makes this piece work.


Julia MacDonald said...

I am also not always a fan of 20th century music. But reading your description, the piece being complex and exotic makes me want to listen to it. Thank you for that.

mvittorio said...

Wow. This sounds like a very professional review. You did a nice job making it informative, while at the same time enjoyable to read. I like this piece as well due to the "exotic" tones. It's amazing how a piano can pick up so many cultural aspects of other countries traditional music.

Anonymous said...

This does not sound like a professional review, Unfortunately it is brief with little analysis. There is much more to Bartoks music than you are seeing. Look deeper!

missbowls said...

useless, there's more to Bartoks music than you are seeing. This is not an analysis!

Brett said...

Got any ideas as to a reasonably similar piece of Gamelan music?