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Thursday, June 28, 2012

Composer Study: Bartok

AO's Composer for the latest term is Hungarian composer Béla Bartók. Randomly, or perhaps because I thought the name sounded interesting, for our listening enjoyment and observation this week I selected his work called Bluebeard's Castle, a one-act opera with libretto written by Béla Balázs, a poet and friend of the composer. Who knew Béla was a common man's name?

As I read more about it, I think I may have discovered why this opera was not chosen as one of the AO listening selections for students... but still, the opera is based loosely on the Charles Perrault's folktale: Bluebeard. So we read the folktale (I edited as I went), will listen to the opera in its entirety and then will probably pursue it no further as interpretations can be morbid and strange. For more info see the wiki here.

I do not recommend studying this opera without pre-reading the folktale and giving it some prior thought as to its fitness for your family. :) It is rather morbid as fairy tales can often be. 

Illustration by Gustave Doré for Perrault's tale Bluebeard; Source: wikicommons

Bartok's music is not the most wonderfully pleasing to the ear, in my opinion... but we're going to endure for a while anyway.  I do prefer his duets for violin and piano concertos over some of the other works.

AO's composer selections for Term 3 of 2011-12:

    Bela Bartok: 
  • String Quartet no. 1 in A minor
  • Concerto for Orchestra (Sz. 116, BB 123)
  • Mikrokosmos (especially "Boating" and "Six Dances in Bulgarian Rhythym.")
    Paul Hindemith: 
  • Mathis der Maler (the symphony, not the opera; "Matthias the Painter," based on painter Matthias Grunewald)
  • Ludus Tonalis (solo piano)
  • Kammermusik No. 5, op. 36 no. 4 'Viola Concerto'

1 comment:

SilviaBlogs said...

Interesting... my girls are fascinated by the radio recorded tales that have this cream of wheat commercial... the fact is that they have a radio version of Bluebeard and it is like that, morbid! The voice of Bluebeard is very creepy... the girls still like it. And Babba Yaga,  and Bonny Legs (a babba yaga variation), and Hansel and Gretel... but it is something different in each family.

I will surely listen to this opera.

Hugs Amy, que Dios te bendiga.

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