This book is an enlarged version of my earlier work, Bartók's String Quartets ( Corvina Press, 1975). The possiblity of further amplification was in fact inherent in the first version itself, since the six quartets, though quite self-contained as a formal group, are linked by countless threads to other Bartók pieces, particularly his chamber works. That I attached importance to this relationship in the first version of the work could be seen in Part One: "Musical Idiom and Style," where I examined the style of the string quartets in virtually every respect against the background of Bartók's complete output, and have thus transferred this part to the present volume without any essential change. The enlargement and revision concerns mainly Part Two: "Analyses," to which a chapter on the early chamber works has been added, as well as analyses of the two Sonatas for Violin and Piano, the Sonata for Two Pianos and Percussion, and the trio Contrasts for Violin, Clarinet and Piano.
As becomes clear from this list, chamber works in my interpretation are compositions scored for small instrumental ensembles with the parts assuming completely equal roles and the structure being a complex large form. This consideration explains why the two Rhapsodies for Violin and the 44 Duos for Violins have not been included in the series of the works analyzed individually, though they are several times referred to in both parts of the book.
I would like to add that although the young Bartók composed ten chamber works between 1895 and 1904, the same number he wrote between 1908 and 1939, the first chapter includes only the most significant ones, and even those only in a summary discussion, as it is my firm belief that only the mature works (i.e., composed after 1908), which Bartók himself considered to be his very own, can offer an authentic picture of the composer.
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Publication information: Book title: Bartok's Chamber Music. Contributors: János Kárpáti - Author. Publisher: Pendragon Press. Place of publication: Stuyvesant, NY. Publication year: 1994. Page number: vii.
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