“Was not their mistake once more bred of the life of slavery that they had been living?—a life which was always looking upon everything, except mankind, animate and inanimate—‘nature,’ as people used to call it—as one thing, and mankind as another, it was natural to people thinking in this way, that they should try to make ‘nature’ their slave, since they thought ‘nature’ was something outside them” — William Morris

Monday, June 20, 2011

Bartok, Death's Head Genius

Bartok insisted that his work be included in the Nazi Decadent Art exhibition of 1938. Atta boy. I'm particularly fond of the string quartets, in particular numbers 3, 4 and 5. For my money, although the Takacs does an amazing job, the ultimate is the Tokyo String Quartet's 1980s version. Why? They assault their instruments with unparalleled accuracy and violence.

There is something totally joyful in listening to music in which there is absolutely no smiling whatsoever.

Then there's the ocean of blood in Bluebeard's Castle. And the overall evocation of insects crawling on the forest floor.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Good post Tim

Bartok String Quartet’s been spinning much here of late. Those you mention plus Végh Quartet, Julliard on 1 and 2, and latterly have just heard Alban Bergs a playin’ Bartok. Well suited to vinyl this music.
Once witnessed Bluebeard Castle with John Tomlinson and Sally Burgess. Even as a concert performance, it was scarily dark. There’s a moment in one of the quartet’s that always reminds me of the doom laden call of the orchestra in the opera. Night music.