By Béla Bartók/arr. by Luna Pearl Woolf | For Four Cellos | 7′
Title: Roumanian Folk Dances
Composer: Béla Bartók
Arranger: Luna Pearl Woolf
Year Composed: 1915/2005
Instrumentation: For Four Cellos
Format: Full Score + 4 Parts
Page Size: Letter
Catalog Number: OM0116
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From the composer:
Hungary’s most celebrated composer, Béla Bartók launched the field of ethnomusicology, and through his fascination with folk musics changed the face of twentieth-century composition. At first prideful, one could say patriotic, of his region’s culture, Bartók ultimately embraced an international world view of folk music’s origins, stripping away layers of prejudices and popularizations and embracing a genuine peasant culture. Bartók’s Roumanian Folk Dances were composed for solo piano in 1915. To this day one of his most popular works, the set of six contrasting pieces based on traditional dances is performed and arranged often.
My new arrangement for four cellos captures the flavor of the dances – Romanian, Arabic, Magyar. Treating the ensemble as a cohesive unit, she worked from the original version for solo piano. Luna uses pizzicato, harmonics, sul ponticello and sul tasto techniques, as well as the bustling energy of tremolos and rhythmic syncopation of the final dance to achieve a range of instrumental effects.
Listen to excerpts of Roumanian Folk Dances (performed by Matt Haimovitz and UCCELLO):