Béla Bartók (Hungarian, 1881-1945), arranged by Joseph Szigeti (Hungarian, 1892-1973): "For Children," aka "Hungarian Folk Tunes”
Bartók was one of the most important composers of the 20th century, not only in his own right, but because he is considered to be one of the founders of ethnomusicology. He was tremendously interested in the folk music of his native Hungary and other eastern European countries, and he wanted to share this music more widely. He traveled deep into the peasant communities of Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, Slovakia, Serbia, and even Turkey and Arabic countries. At first, he asked musicians to play songs and wrote down the music by ear, but later he took advantage of the earliest recording technology: the wax cylinder phonograph. I've included a picture of one of these visits, with his phonograph. How strange it must have seemed to these country dwellers!
Joseph Szigeti was an accomplished violinist who admired Bartók's work and wanted to meet him. To get his attention, he created violin and piano arrangements of some of the tunes Bartók had collected and published. Bartók was so impressed with these that it initiated a lifelong collaboration between the two musicians. Bartók would dedicate many of his works for violin to Szigeti (including many of my favorites). But I thought it was pretty cool to hear how it all started, with this work, performed by the two of them.
There are seven tunes, each about a minute, give or take. (You should know ALL of these VERY common Italian words! You will see them for the rest of your life.)
Andante con moto