Allegro barbaro , BB 63 Sz. The work combines Hungarian and Romanian scales; Hungarian peasant music is based on the pentatonic scale , while Romanian music is largely chromatic. Allegro barbaro was composed in , but the first performance didn't occur until In many early printed versions of the composition, the tempo markings were indicated at a much slower speed.
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It aims to revive, one hundred years on, the rich dialogue that existed between the arts in Hungary on the eve of the 20th century. Music and painting resonated with the same spirit of renewal at that time. Hungary was committed to embracing European modernity while still expressing its attachment to a culture and an idiom that conveyed its unique character within the Austro-Hungarian Empire.
In a similar vein, the new generation of Hungarian painters, most of whom had gone to Munich and then Paris to finish their training, seemed motivated by the belief that excessive seriousness bordered on the grotesque: some self portraits, as a result, tip over from introspection into self-mockery. The artist takes centre stage, in a suit and top hat or simply wearing a straw hat; he looks out, challenging the spectator, his expressive face both reflects and arouses anxiety. Several of them joined the French Fauves, presenting their own work alongside them.
For the painters, these aspirations went hand in hand with a desire to join the most modern movements, and the folk tradition was seen as an alternative to the formal art of the academies.
Artists turned to the decorative, coloured motifs of folk art to reinvigorate their own idiom. Primitivist and Fauve at once, the landscapes, nudes and still lifes are constructed by juxtaposing vivid colours and shapes defined by black contours. They took the name "The Eight" [ Nyolcak ] during a second exhibition in , which was accompanied by events organised by the literary journal Nyugat [Occident].
This close contact between creative artists was reflected in their works. These artists shared a roughness and modernity of expression. To Arms! Aesthetic questions became a major issue for this literary movement with radical, political ideas. After meeting the composer, he published some of his scores and devoted a special issue of MA to him in February Allegro Barbaro.
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Béla Bartók: Allegro barbaro
Bartok: Allegro Barbaro, Sz. 49