excerpt from 'Béla Bartók Letters' pp. 115-116 (170 words)

excerpt from 'Béla Bartók Letters' pp. 115-116 (170 words)

part of

Béla Bartók Letters

original language

urn:iso:std:iso:639:ed-3:eng

in pages

115-116

type

text excerpt

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South Hungary turns out to be a particular nest of ballads. We had already heard one or two ballads here and there from young people, when, suddenly, at Petrovosel (a purely Rumanian village in spite of its Serbian name) an old pointsman dictated 7 long ballads at one go, just as if he was reading them out. I was notating for 2 ½ hours without a break; I could hardly keep it up. And the old man just went on and on, dictating---At first I thought perhaps he had learned them all from some calendar as ballads already collected and published by somebody else. But then it became more and more obvious that these were as yet unrecorded and unpublished pieces. When I got home, I looked up various collections, and it turned out that 5 of them were entirely unknown. One of the latter, a ballad of 222 lines, is a real masterpiece in the genre. True, it has a very distant relative among the Székely ballads which, however, is much more laconic.

South Hungary turns out to be a particular nest of ballads. We had already heard one or two ballads here and there from young people, when, suddenly, at Petrovosel (a purely Rumanian village in spite of its Serbian name) an old pointsman dictated 7 long ballads at one go, just as if he was reading them out. I was notating for 2 ½ hours without a break; I could hardly keep it up. And the old man just went on and on, dictating---At first I thought perhaps he had learned them all from some calendar as ballads already collected and published by somebody else. But then it became more and more obvious that these were as yet unrecorded and unpublished pieces. When I got home, I looked up various collections, and it turned out that 5 of them were entirely unknown. One of the latter, a ballad of 222 lines, is a real masterpiece in the genre. True, it has a very distant relative among the Székely ballads which, however, is much more laconic.

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excerpt from 'Béla Bartók Letters' pp. 115-116 (170 words)

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