Bartók at the Piano BR 1903

This CD has the same content as the 12 inch vinyl record #BR 903 Compared with the 78 rpm sources, some minor noises were removed. In the process of transferring the material to CD, it was determined that the original disc needed to be played at a slightly reduced speed, otherwise all the music sounded nearly a half step too high in pitch.

This CD contains all of the commercial recording known to have been made by Béla Bartók as of 1945

BR 1903


Tibor Serly CD BR 1918

Tibor Serly (1901-1978), a good friend of Béla Bartók, was a composer, conductor, and violinist. He orchestrated the last few measures of Béla Bartók’s 3rd piano concerto, and a few years later Bartók’s viola concerto, which was only in sketch form at the time of the composer’s death in 1945.

This CD contains two of Béla Bartók’s works conducted by Tibor Serly, and one composed by Tibor Serly for solo violin.

He arranged, with Béla Bartók’s permission, a series of pieces from Bartók’s Mikrokosmos suite.
Both of the suites from Mikrokosmos and the Miraculous Mandarin are available on this label #BR 1301

BR 1918


Cimbalom Record with Aladár Rácz, BR 1929

The cimbalom is an old instrument in which strings are hit by beaters. As such, it may even be regarded as a predecessor of the piano. The player holds the beaters in his hands and strikes the strings. The instrument is frequently a component of Hungarian gypsy music bands at informal places of entertainment.

Aladár Rácz made his career with the cimbalom by introducing a technique whereby it was possible to have better dynamic control of the sounds produced. In the course of his work he met Igor Stravinsky, while playing at Maxim’s Bar in Geneva. The result of this encounter was a rebuilt cimbalom and compositions by Stravinsky for the instrument (story by Mr. Rácz on this record).

Zoltán Kodály also included the cimbalom in his opera Háry János, and Béla Bartók in his First Rhapsody foir Violin and Orchestra.

On this record Mrs. (Yvonne) Rácz accompanies her husband on the piano. Recording was done in Budapest, before 1962.

BR 1929


TALES by  Hans Christian Andersen and Rudyard Kipling, BR 1928

TALES by  Hans Christian Andersen and Rudyard Kipling; two stories by each; music composed by Robert Mann, performed by Lucy Rowan, narrator; Robert Mann, violin; Leonid Hambro, piano.

FIRST PIANO CONCERTO by Béla Bartók; Leoinid Hambro, piano; Zimbler Sinfonietta; Robert Mann, conductor.

This compact disc is devoted to the art of Robert Mann. Mr. Mann is well known to have been the leader of the Juilliard String Quartet. But, in addition to his solo violin work, he is also a composer and a conductor.

My first experience with Robert Mann was his recording of my father’s Solo Violin Sonata, when he surprised me by performing the work with the section in quarter tones (in the last movement). I am also glad for his performance in the Contrasts for Violin, Clarinet and Piano, and the two Sonatas for Violin and Piano by Bartók.

Lucy Rowan tells us how the Chinese government was once saved by a little yellow bird; how to tell if someone is really what she claims to be; why rhinoceroses have wrinkled skins and whales have such small throats, things we all should know. Lucy Rowan is also Mrs. Robert Mann.

I am grateful to these artists for making such a record for this label.

BR 1928


Folk Songs of Hungary, BR 1914

Some of the oldest publications on the Bartók Records label are now being made available on compact disks. The origin of Bartók Records dates back to 1950. The operation was at first a simple recording service, aimed at the needs of music students, auditioning artists and, later, small record companies. A few commercial records were made occasionally, the first being a 78 RPM 10 inch disk of Béla Bartók playing four sonatas by Domenico Scarlatti. Our source was a test pressing received by the composer, as a surprise after having played over the radio, that he rejected. Even so, his performance allows us to hear his interpretation of those sonatas.

This was followed by 33 RPM vinyl disks, the Bartók Third String Quartet (New Music String Quartet), the piano works Out of Doors and Improvisations, Op. 20 (Leoinid Hambro), a whole LP disk of Béla Bartók at the piano (copies of older records); solos, chamber and orchestra music, etc. Plans called for extensive further recording, some to be made in Hungary, aiming toward all the works of Béla Bartók.  The productions continued until 1962, when terminated by unrelated legal procedures.

Many of the vinyl disks, made in the nearly twelve years of operation, are still available. Some of the records were transferred to compact disks, and to these are now added the contents of two 12 inch vinyl records on CD’s.  We offer folk songs, arranged for voice and piano by Zoltán Kodály or Béla Bartók, performed by Leslie Chabay, tenor, accompanied by Tibor Kozma on the piano. The program also includes the Recruiting Song (Toborzó) from Kodály’s opera Háry János).

Mr. Chabay worked at New York’s Metropolitan Opera, doing guest appearamnces elsewhere. He was born in Hungary’s Békéscsaba that, it is suspected, had an influence on his name (the Hungarian CS sounds like CH in English). Mr. Tibor Kozma was a conductor, but agreed to appear in the accompanying capacity on these records. They were found to perform some of these songs at a party in New York, just for fun, and were promptly booked to make their first record, followed a few years later by the second one.

I believed that Mr. Chabay’s approach, his presentation of Hungarian music, as well as of the Hungarian language, was highly suitable for these songs. Tibor Kozma followed Béla Bartók’s precise style, having studied with the composer’s pupil, György Kósa. Mr. Kozma also contributed to the Bartók Records catalog with solo piano Bartók works, such as the 14 Bagatelles, to be released soon. This CD was prepared by Jorge Blanco.

 BR 1914