Béla Bartók, 1881-1945
String Quartet No. 3, 1927
Most commentaries summarize the chamber music of Béla Bartók as follows: Bartók made the most significant contribution to the string quartet since Beethoven and his quartet cycle is the most important of the 20th century. These are powerful words. How has this conclusion been reached and what does it really mean? It is quite possible that a lover of Beethoven is, at least initially, confounded by the music of Bartók. How are the two composers related? It is worth exploring this generally universal summary in greater detail.
Like Beethoven, Bartók’s relationship to the string quartet was an intimate, life-long preoccupation. « more »