Monday, December 10, 2012

Kellemes Karácsonyt! part two (that's Merry Christmas in Hungarian, by the way)

As I've mentioned before, I'm a bit of an explorer, even at Christmas, and like to find new things to play. Last week I presented the first set of Bela Bartok's Romanian Christmas Carols, which I had just learned. I thought it might be a little bit of a stretch for all of us, who tend to expect familiar music particularly at Christmas. But since I didn't hear any complaints (he says with a sly smile, noting that nobody ever posts comments on this blog) I'm going to forge ahead with the sequel, for which you will not have to wait until December 2013 (take that, Peter Jackson!). If you aren't much of a fan of Bartok or his take on Romanian peasantry and its music, you needn't suffer any longer: there are only two sets of these carols, so after this week it's on to something else!

This second set is longer--still ten carols, but they take a bit longer to play. Mostly they are a little slower and more introspective than the first set. Bartok also brings the sixth carol back for a brief reprise after the seventh; he has discovered another harmonic guise for it, and wants us to hear it both ways. It is a strange and interesting carol. Despite Bartok's "Many Moods" he remembers at the end to give us a celebratory finish.

My favorite carol from the first set is the seventh; but the ninth carol from the second is so cheerfully festive I might have a new favorite. I also can't stop thinking about the sixth one. What is your favorite?

Bartok, Bela: Romanian Christmas Carols, set two

The timings at the start of each carol so you don't have to count while you listen:
#2--0:52, #3--1:28, #4--2:09, #5--3:05, #6--3:46, #7--4:52, #6b--5:18, #8--5:52, #9--6:31, #10--6:57

While we're at, I'll re-post the first set with a similar key:
Bartok, Bela: Romanian Christmas Carols, set one
#2--0:30, #3--0:44, #4--1:14, #5--1:29, #6--1:53, #7--2:22, #8--3:02, #9--3:42, #10--4:01

Of course, you don't have to like any of them. You might even have a least favorite. I was trying to think of mine, but the problem is they grow on you with time, so that I can't remember which ones I didn't care for before I started working on them. I've grown fond of them all, even though I still have favorites. Are these new to you like they were to me?

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