An outstanding authority on the folk music of Central and Eastern Europe, Hungarian composer Bela Bartok (1881 1945) explored the melodic, harmonic, and rhythmic vocabulary of these regions, evolving a terse, vibrant, and unique musical language in his own works.
This important compilation of Bartok's short works for piano contains the "Allegro Barbaro, " a sonorous, boisterous piece of power and bravura; 6 Romanian Folk Dances; 20 Romanian Christmas Carols; 15 Hungarian Peasant Songs, a connected cycle of short folk-tune settings; the 4-part Suite, Op. 14; the Three Etudes, Op. 18; and 8 Improvisations on Hungarian Peasant Songs, Op. 20. Highly dissonant, individual, and marked in character, the tunes in the connected cycle of the Improvisations represent a high point in Bartok's treatment of folk materials.
These short pieces are an ideal and fully representative introduction to the music of one of the most influential composers of the twentieth century an attractive repertoire for intermediate and advanced pianists.