I say hurray for Bartók.

Thank you Bartender for introducing this new category to the Wulfshead's menu.

It's a daring choice.
You know what they say:

As our good friend Nausicaa would put it, "it's an acquired taste."

I say well done, Bartender! Bartók definitely deserves his place at The Wulfshead. He has earned it.


  1. I hope the gentleman will not think any less of me for it, but the category actually is "Bar talk," sir. Not "Bartók."

  2. This seems to be a youth orchestra. Can you credit the performance?

  3. I can't be certain about the orchestra (could it be the Accademia Musicale di San Giorgio?) The camera angle is fixed and the focus is on the conductor Carlo Tenan. The recording was probably made for the conductor's own benefit, for further analysis of his technique. Carlo Tenan is an emerging orchestral conductor in Italy. His many talents are really outstanding. A regular TV production would have shown off all the ensemble, and zoomed in on some of the performers. It would have been nice to have other angles, and to know more about the orchestra, but it's good to have this at all on YouTube. It is a fascinating performance. Modern conductors have a powerful range of techniques at their disposal, commanding meter, rhythm, dynamics, accentuation, tempo, and nuances of performance. Tenan does all of that, but he is not an authoritarian. He and his orchestra are making musing "together." Although there have been many great authoritarian virtuoso conductors (they impose on the orchestra strict, rigid rules of interpretation), my preference goes to those conductors who have the kind of musical instinct that allows them to not only lead but also respond to their orchestra, like in a dialogue or a dance. This sort of nearly perfect balance is quite rare and difficult to achieve. When performers are less rigorously controlled, they are more responsible for the metrical coherence of their own performances. This requires trust on the part of the conductor to allow that. But without that basic trust from either side that the other side is competent there can really be no chemistry in performance between them.

  4. "Music is the universal language of mankind.
    ---Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

    Or is it?

  5. 100 years from now Bartok will be as conventional as a Schubert sonata.

    In fact, he already is. The kids in this orchestra are quite talented. Having once been a professional choir boy (we were paid two or three dollars a service) I can only lift my hat, if I had a hat, to these young performers, who play flawlessly. Even the interpretation is good, doing, I think, what Bartok wanted: linking the music to everyday life. Though his "everyday" life was a little unusual and a little passe. Times change, after all.

    And a good thing, too, for art. Time separates the momentary from the universal. Though some works which appeared momentarily good belong among the universal, too. But nothing bad survives the test of time.

    As for bar talk, well, that will always be with us. Ah, a glass of wine, some intellectual spouting, that's the life.

  6. Quinty and I used to listen to Bartok together 50 years ago, 4 stories up in a college room we shared looking out over Lewiston, Maine. I said I loved Bela's use of brass and he remarked he was better known for strings. We never argued...and besides I didn't know the quartets then. One does not argue with Quinty, in Bartok or bar talk. He just won't bother with it.