Early Piano Works

Album of Early Piano Works

Near the beginning of 1945 Béla Bartók prepared an album of his early compositions for piano. The pieces he selected were published in Hungary; however, for reasons that had to do partly with the war, partly with the selected works’ copyright status, they were difficult to find in the United States, and were not protected by copyright in the U.S.A. So, when Marks Music Corp. made the proposal, the composer agreed to assemble these four cycles, altogether 25 pieces. The following program is included:

Fourteen Bagatelles
            Seven Sketches
            Two Elegies
            Two Roumanian Dances

The prospect of a new publication opened the door for revisions in the works. In some of them this consisted mainly of the addition of finger suggestions; in two of the pieces the musical text itself was slightly changed. The composer wrote a short introduction to the album that the publisher did not accept as written. The original text is included in the new publication.

Although the album is intended to present Béla Bartók’s works as prepared for the Marks album, a few modifications / additions were made here, as follow:

a) The new album is intended to be distributed world wide, instead of only in the U.S.A. All prefatory material as well as annotations or footnotes appear in five languages.

b) Texts of two folk songs, utilized in the Bagatelles, and some footnotes, are not deleted. In his preparation Béla Bartók marked these texts for omission.

c) Certain modifications in the Two Roumanian Dances, made in a manuscript that remained in Hungary, were not included in the new edition as the composer prepared since he did not have a copy of the manuscript that included them. They are editorially added in the present album.

d) The spiral manuscript of the second Sketch and a portrait of the composer taken in  1945 are editorial additions.

This album was prepared for publication by Peter Hennings. The album contains 98 pages of music notation, hard cover (bound so it can stay open when placed on a piano stand).

Availability: In the United States of America, normal retail outlets, distributed by Hal Leonard Corp.; in Japan, normal retail outlets, distributed by Yasuhiro Murakami, phone/fax number in Japan 0238-24-8345; throughout the world sold via the internet, website of Bartók Records and Publications, pursuant to the kind permission of Editio Musica Budapest.  Not sold through retail stores in Europe.

(See Products / Sheet music, BR 708)