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Hungarian Folk Songs
Bela BARTOK (1881-1945)
Ten Hungarian Folksongs (1906)
Altal menek en a Tiszan ladikon [1:00]
Szaraz agtol messze virit [2:08]
Vegig mentem a tarkanyi [0:51]
Szant a babam csireg, csdrog [0:52]
Eight Hungarian Folksongs (1907, 1917)
Fekete fod [1:33]
Istenem, Istenem, araszd meg a vizet [1:20]
Aszszonyok, had legyek tarsatok [1:15]
Anyi banat az sziivemen [1:22]
Ha kimegyek arr' a magos tetore [1:22]
Toltik a nagy erdo udjat [1:46]
Eddig valo dolgom [1:54]
Olvad a ho [1:13]
Twenty Hungarian Folksongs (1929)
Bujdoso-enek [2:15]
Regi keserves [2:31]
Szekely lassu [2:36]
Panasz [1:47]
Juhaszcsufolo [2:10]
Par-enek [3 :55]
Zoltan KODALY (1882-1967)
Twenty Hungarian Folksongs (1912-1932)
Katona vagyok en [1:49]
Arrol alul [2:09]
Dobordoi dal [2:02]
Viragos kenderem [1:01]
Kortefa [2:08]
Egy kicsi madarka [3:56]
Elkialtom magamat [1:59]
Thomas Bogdan (tenor), Yoshiko Sato (piano)
rec. January 2007, Bennington College. DDD
CENTAUR CRC 2967 [47:07] 

Experience Classicsonline

Bartok and Kodaly’s penchant for collecting folk-songs in their native Hungary is well-known, as is their method of visiting peasants in rural locations and recording the local songs on wax cylinders. Of the thousands of songs they collected, each composers made various settings and arrangements of particular favourites. Hungarian folk-songs are very distinctive, with unusual rhythms and harmonies, and these delightful quirks and interesting features are brought out in these settings. The themes are mundane but fundamental - love, discontent in marriage, domestic chores, war, old age, nature and rural concerns - such as whether the wolves will get the sheep!

This disc starts with four songs from Bartok’s 1906 settings of Ten Hungarian Folksongs, which the composer has kept fairly simple, with an uncomplicated accompaniment reflecting the rather basic melody and words. This is followed by his Eight Hungarian Folksongs of 1907/1917, including the incredibly beautiful Anyi banat az sziivemen and several pieces lamenting the need to leave home and beloved for war. The ensuing Twenty Hungarian Folksongs of 1929 (Bartok still), from which we again only hear excerpts, are more stark, the accompaniment more dissonant in a way that works well with the tunes and words. The disc concludes with some settings by Kodaly - most of which yet again deal with going off to war or for National Service, and leaving behind a mourning mother or wife.

Thomas Bogdan is a singer of great expressiveness that enables him to communicate effectively the moods of the songs. His voice also has a slightly rough edge that suits these rustic songs, with their peasant origins, very well indeed. His passio n for this repertoire shines through and he is a convincing advocate.

It is a shame that the disc contains only forty-seven minutes of music, and isn’t filled up with some more songs, perhaps presenting all of some of the sets that are here represented incomplete. It is nonetheless a fascinating disc, and well executed.

Em Marshall 

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