Bartók, Eight Hungarian Folksongs for voice and piano (nyolc magyar népdal)



Posted here as a single track:

Bela Bartók, Eight Hungarian Folksongs for voice and piano (nyolc magyar népdal)


nos. 1–5, 1907

nos. 6–8, 1917


The music is stunning and the performance by a Hungarian singer and pianist superb.



This recording is from an LP on a Hungarian label which I bought in the 1970’s. The performers were Hungarian.

The harmonies and the rhythms are awesome. Bartók brilliantly achieves a fusion of voice and piano, and a fascinating interplay.

Hearing these pieces was a revelation for me.

The violist and Julliard Sting Quartet founding member Robert Koff, with whom I took a course in twentieth century chamber music at Brandeis University in my senior year, taught me to appreciate Bartók. From Koff, who was a very nice man as well an an inspiring teacher, I learned to appreciate Bartók.

One thing I remember Koff saying by way of emphasis was how important rhythm is in Bartók’s music; and how he achieves distinctive rhythmic effects (which can be seen in his quartets) that are based upon and echo distinctive rhythmic patterns in the spoken Hungarian language, which, Koff said, is a highly stressed language.


— Roger W. Smith

    August 2018




1. Fekete főd, fehér az én zsebkendőm  (Snow-white kerchief, dark both field and furrow show)

2. Istenem, Istenem, áraszd meg a vizet (Coldly runs the river, reedy banks o’er flowing)

3. Asszonyok, asszonyok, had’ legyek társatok (Women, women, listen, let me share your labour)

4. Annyi bánat a szívemen (Skies above are heavy with rain)

5.  Ha kimegyek arr’ a magos tetőre (If I climb the rocky mountains all day through)

6. Töltik a nagyerdő útját (All the lads to war they’ve taken)

7. Eddig való dolgom a tavaszi szántás (Spring begins with labour; then’s the time for sowing)

8. Olvad a hó, csárdás kis angyalom (Snow is melting, oh, my dear, my darling)

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