18 Dec 2020

BARTÓK: Romanian Folk Dances

by Jennifer Rhodes

Béla Bartók composed his Romanian Folk Dances in 1915 for solo piano, and reworked it for orchestra two years later. It is a set of six pieces based on folk tunes that would have originally been played on fiddle or fife. Each of the six movements is quite short, with the entire piece lasting only about 5 minutes. The movements are:

  1. Bot tánc / Jocul cu bâtă (Stick Dance) – inspired by a melody Bartók heard played by two gypsy violinists in a Transylvanian village
  2. Brâul (Sash Dance) – a traditional Romanian dance which uses a sash around the dancers’ waists
  3. Topogó / Pe loc (In One Spot) – slow and haunting, it evokes a middle eastern flute over an open 5th drone
  4. Bucsumí tánc / Buciumeana (Dance from Bucsum) – a slow Romanian folk dance
  5. Román polka / Poarga Românească (Romanian Polka) – a quick dance
  6. Aprózó / Mărunțel (Fast Dance) – two distinct melodies played as one movement

Béla Bartók

Béla Bartók