Bartók, Contrasts, for Violin, Clarinet and Piano, 1938

Béla Bartók (1881-1945)

Contrasts, for Violin, Clarinet and Piano, 1938

Béla BartókBartók’s composed Contrasts in response to requests from two important musicians: the Hungarian violinist Joseph Szigeti and American clarinetist Benny Goodman. Szigeti was a longtime friend and colleague of Bartok’s who emigrated to the United States in 1939 to escape the Nazi persecution of the Jews. Goodman, the famous Jewish jazz musician, ultimately commissioned the piece. Szigeti and Goodman made the first studio recording with Bartók at the piano. Contrasts comprises three movements based on Hungarian and Romanian dance melodies and is Bartók’s only chamber music including a wind instrument.

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