Dance Suite (Bartók)

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Dance Suite (Hungarian: Táncszvit; German: Tanz-Suite), Sz. 77, BB 86a, is a well-known 1923 orchestral work by the Hungarian composer Béla Bartók. The composer produced a reduction for piano (Sz. 77, BB 86b) in 1925, though this is less commonly performed.


Béla Bartók composed the Dance Suite in 1923 in order to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the union of the cities Buda and Pest, to form the Hungarian capital Budapest. Then, after its great success, the director of Universal Edition, Emil Hertzka, commissioned from him an arrangement for piano, which was published in 1925. However, he never publicly performed this arrangement, and it was premiered in March 1945, a few months before his death, by his friend György Sándor.[1]


This suite has six movements, even though some recordings conceive it as one single full-length movement. A typical performance of the whole work would last approximately fifteen minutes.

  1. Moderato
  2. Allegro molto
  3. Allegro vivace
  4. Molto tranquillo
  5. Comodo
  6. Finale. Allegro

This work consists of five dances with Arabic, Wallachian and Hungarian melodies, and a finale that brings together all the previous thematic sketches. There was one more movement, omitted by the composer according to his mathematical principles, which would be placed between the second and the third movement. This movement is called Slovakian Dance, and was finally dismissed and remained unorchestrated.[1] However, the first, second and fourth movements contain thematic references to this piece towards the end of each one of them.


Notable recordings of the orchestral version include:

Orchestra Conductor Record Company Year of Recording Format
London Philharmonic Orchestra Georg Solti Decca Records 1952 LP[2]
RIAS Symphony Orchestra Ferenc Fricsay Deutsche Grammophon 1953 LP[2]
Philharmonia Orchestra Igor Markevitch HMV 1954 LP[2]
Philharmonia Hungarica Antal Doráti Mercury Records 1958 LP[3]
Symphony Orchestra of Hungarian Radio and Television György Lehel Deutsche Grammophon 1962 LP[2]
Orchestre de la Suisse Romande Ernest Ansermet Decca Records 1964 LP[2]
New York Philharmonic Orchestra Pierre Boulez Columbia 1972 LP[2]
Czech Philharmonic Orchestra Zdeněk Košler Panton 1973 LP[2]
Stuttgart Radio Symphony Orchestra Neville Marriner Capriccio 1994 CD[4]
Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra Marin Alsop Naxos Records 2005 CD[5]

Notable recordings of the piano reduction include:

Piano Solo Record Company Year of Recording Format
András Schiff Denon Records / Brilliant Classics 1980 CD[6]
Jenő Jandó Naxos Records 2002 CD[7]


  1. ^ a b Whitehouse, Richard (2005). 8.554718 - BARTOK, B.: Piano Music, Vol. 2 (Jando) - Dance Suite / Romanian Folk Dances. Hong Kong: HNH International Ltd. p. 3. Retrieved July 27, 2011.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g Discographical data from The CHARM Discography, Centre for the History and Analysis of Recorded Music, <>, accessed 5 September 2011.
  3. ^ Review of LP reissue on Speaker's Corner. Classic Record Collector, Summer 2007, 49:67
  4. ^ "Track list from the CD C10417 from the Naxos catalogue". Hong Kong: Naxos Digital Services Ltd. 1994. Retrieved July 27, 2011.
  5. ^ "Track list from the CD 8.557433 from the Naxos catalogue". Hong Kong: Naxos Digital Services Ltd. 2005. Retrieved July 27, 2011.
  6. ^ "Information about the CD 9714 from Denon Records". Santa Clara: Rovi Corporation. 1980. Retrieved July 27, 2011.
  7. ^ "Track list from the CD 8.554718 from the Naxos catalogue". Hong Kong: Naxos Digital Services Ltd. 2005. Retrieved March 20, 2012.

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