Piano Sonata (Bartók)

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The Piano Sonata BB 88 (Sz. 80) is a piano sonata by Hungarian composer Béla Bartók, composed in June 1926. 1926 is known to musicologists as Bartók's "piano year", when he underwent a creative shift in part from Beethovenian intensity to a more Bachian craftsmanship.[1]

The work is in three movements, with the following tempo indications:

  • Allegro moderato
  • Sostenuto e pesante
  • Allegro molto

It is tonal, but highly dissonant, using the piano in a percussive fashion. Underneath clusters of repeated notes, the melody is folk-like. Each movement has a classical structure overall, in character with Bartók's frequent use of classical forms as vehicles for his most advanced thinking. Musicologist Halsey Stevens finds in the work early forms of many stylistic traits that became more fully developed in Bartók's "golden age", 1934-1940.[1]

Bartók wrote Dittának, Budapesten, 1926, jun. at the end of the score. Ditta is the name of his second wife. A performance generally lasts around fifteen minutes. Bartók wrote the duration as ca. 12' 30" on the score.

Bartok wrote this piece with an Imperial Bösendorfer (piano) in mind, which has extra keys in the bass (97 keys in total). The 2nd movement of the sonata calls for these keys to be played.

Bartók had previously written a piano sonata in 1896, which is little known.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Hannah Durham, Texas Performing Arts, "About the Program", Feb. 27, 2013