Dara Burkholder Morales, assistant principal second violin of the Philadelphia Orchestra, and her husband Jesús Morales, cellist with the Dalí Quartet, make up the Morales Duo.
The program will include:
- Béla, Bartók’s Hungarian Folk Melodies for violin & cello
- Fritz Kreisler’s Recitative and Scherzo for solo violin
- Johann Sebastian Bach’s Suite No.1 for solo cello
- Zoltán Kodály’s Duo for violin & cello
This event will take place at Governor Dick Clarence Schock in Mount Gretna (3283 Pinch Road). You must register to attend this event and space is limited. To register, please email email@example.com
Bartók, Hungarian Folk Melodies for violin & cello
Kodály, Duo for violin & cello, Op. 7
Béla Bartók, a pianist, was born in 1881, in Nagyszentmiklós, Hungary, now Romania. Although accepted at the prestigious Academy of Music in Vienna, he chose instead to attend the Royal Academy of Music in Budapest from 1899 to 1903. That decision determined the rest of his life and his music. There he met Zoltán Kodály, a contemporary, who became a lifelong friend and colleague.
Bartók met Richard Strauss in 1902 at the Budapest premiere of Also sprach Zarathustra. That work strongly influenced his early large-scale orchestral works composed in the style of Brahms and Strauss, but his early small piano pieces provide an early clue to his growing interest in folk music.
When visiting a holiday resort in the summer of 1904, Bartók overheard a young nanny, Lidi Dósa from Kibéd in Transylvania, sing folk songs to the children in her care. That serendipitous event kindled a lifelong interest folk music that, also serendipitously, was abetted by Thomas Edison’s invention of the phonograph, then recording onto cylinders. Both events started Bartók and Kodály’s travels through the remote corners of Hungary, asking peasants and working folk to sing and play into the recording horn.
Bartók listened to the recordings over and over and wrote down the songs. He eventually travelled farther afield, collecting songs from Slovakia, Romania, Bulgaria, Yugoslavia, and even Turkey and Morocco. At the time of his death he had amassed more than 6,000 recordings. They had changed Bartok’s creative voice and pioneered ethnomusicology, the study of music in its cultural and social context. Bartók was thus a pioneer in the recording of music that eventually revolutionized human culture.
Bartók and Kodály made important discoveries. Magyar folk music had previously been categorized as Gypsy music. (A classic example is Franz Liszt’s famous Hungarian Rhapsodies, based on popular songs played by Romani bands of the time.) But Bartók and Kodály discovered that these melodies used pentatonic scales, similar to those in Asian folk traditions, such as those of Central Asia, Anatolia and Siberia. Both composers incorporated elements of Magyar peasant music into their compositions. They both quoted folk song melodies verbatim and wrote pieces derived entirely from authentic songs. An example is Bartok’s two volumes entitled For Children for solo piano, containing 80 folk tunes to which he wrote accompaniment. Bartók’s style became a synthesis of folk music, classicism, and modernism. He was especially fond of the asymmetrical dance rhythms and pungent harmonies found in Bulgarian music. Early compositions offer a blend of nationalist and late Romanticism elements.
Zoltán Kodaly, a violinist as well as pedagogue, composer, and ethnomusicologist, established a Hungarian music education program for children. Developed in the 1940s, it became the basis for the “Kodály Method“. While Kodály himself did not write down a comprehensive method, he did establish a set of principles to follow in music education, and these principles were widely taken up by pedagogues world-wide after World War II.
Kreisler, Recitative and Scherzo-Caprice for solo violin
Friedrich-Max “Fritz” Kreisler (1875 – 1962) was born in Austria. One of the most noted violin masters of his day and regarded as one of the greatest violinists of all time, he was known for his sweet tone and expressive phrasing. Like many great violinists of his generation, his characteristic sound was immediately recognizable as his own. Though derived from the Franco-Belgian school, the style recalls the gemütlich (cozy) lifestyle of pre-war Vienna.
He studied at the Vienna Conservatory under Anton Bruckner and in Paris under Léo Delibes and Jules Massenet. While in Paris, he won the “Premier Grand Prix de Rome” gold medal at the age of 12, competing against 40 other players, all of whom were at least 20 years of age.
Kreisler made his United States debut at the Steinway Hall in New York City on November 10, 1888, and then embarked on his first tour of the United States in 1888–1889. After returning to Austria, he was turned down for a position in the Vienna Philharmonic and left music to study medicine. But he returned to the violin in 1899 in a concert with the Berlin Philharmonic conducted by Arthur Nikisch. It was this concert and a series of American tours from 1901 to 1903 that brought him acclaim.
In 1910, Kreisler premiered Sir Edward Elgar’s Violin Concerto, a work commissioned by and dedicated to him. He served briefly in the Austrian Army in World War I before being honorably discharged after he was wounded. He arrived in New York in November 1914 and spent the remainder of the war in America writing an autobiography: Four Weeks in the Trenches. He returned to Europe in 1924, living first in Berlin, then moving to France in 1938. Shortly thereafter, at the outbreak of World War II, he settled once again in the United States, becoming a naturalized citizen in 1943. He lived there for the rest of his life, giving his last public concert in 1947, and broadcasting performances for a few years after that.
Kreisler recorded classical works with major orchestras and conductors and composed operettas for Broadway, songs, piano and violin works, cadenzas for violin concertos, and a string quartet. Recitative and Scherzo-Caprice, Op. 6 for solo violin was an early work in 1911.
Bach, Suite No. 1 for solo cello
Does anything remain to be said about the Bach Cello Suites? I can’t think of what that might be. But a few years ago, I read a book about them and recommend it: The Cello Suites: J. S. Bach, Pablo Casals, and the Search for a Baroque Masterpiece by Eric Siblin. Siblin discusses all the Suites, each in a different context. As is the case with other Bach Suites — “English,” “French,” for keyboard, the “Partita” for Flute, etc. — each is an ordered set of dances of varied ethnic origin in the same key: Allemande, Courante, Sarabande, Menuet, Gigue, often preceded by a Prelude as in this suite.
“One fateful evening, journalist and pop-music critic Eric Siblin attended a recital of Johann Sebastian Bach’s Cello Suites—an experience that set him on an epic quest to uncover the mysterious history of the entrancing compositions and their miraculous reemergence nearly two hundred years later. In pursuit of his musicological obsession, Siblin would unravel three centuries of intrigue, politics, and passion.
“Winner of the Mavis Gallant Prize for Non-fiction and the McAuslan First Book Prize, The Cello Suites weaves together three dramatic narratives: the disappearance of Bach’s manuscript in the eighteenth century, Pablo Casals’s discovery and popularization of the music in Spain in the late nineteenth century, and Siblin’s infatuation with the suites in the present day. The search led Siblin to Barcelona, where Casals, just thirteen and in possession of his first cello, roamed the backstreets with his father in search of sheet music and found Bach’s lost suites tucked in a dark corner of a store. Casals played them every day for twelve years before finally performing them in public.
“Siblin sheds new light on the mysteries that continue to haunt this music more than 250 years after its composer’s death: Why did Bach compose the suites for the cello, then considered a lowly instrument? What happened to the original manuscript? A seamless blend of biography and music history, The Cello Suites is a true-life journey of discovery, fueled by the power of these musical masterpieces.”
Notes by Carl Ellenberger, Founder, Gretna Music