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Béla Bartók's String Quartet No 5 in Building a Library with Kate Molleson and Andrew McGregor

Kate Molleson chooses her favourite recording of Bela Bartok's String Quartet No 5, and Erica Jeal recommends some new recordings of solo piano music.

with Andrew McGregor

9.30 Building a Library
Kate Molleson chooses her favourite recording of Béla Bartók's String Quartet No. 5.

Throughout his career Bartók was obsessed with folk music, attracted by the invigorating irregularity its rhythms, its modes, often so contrary to conventional scale patterns, its unorthodox harmonic inflections and deep-rooted connection to landscape and people. He spent 40 years of his life collecting, transcribing and studying the indigenous music of central Europe, including his native Hungary.

By the time of the First World War, folk music pervasively and profoundly informed Bartók's own music and its nevertheless uncompromising modernist style and rigorous formal organisation. By 1934, the year he wrote his fifth and penultimate string quartet, Bartók's musical style had become more approachable and this wonderful work, at once playful and profound, so full of humanity and packing a huge emotional punch, is among the great string quartets of any century.

Erica Jeal recommends some new recordings of solo piano music from Piotr Anderszewski, Clare Hammond and Stephen Hough, among others.

Record of the Week
Andrew recommends an outstanding new release.

4 days left to listen

2 hours, 47 minutes

Music Played

  • Dmitry Shostakovich

    Symphony No. 9 in E-Flat Major, Op. 70: I. Allegro

    Orchestra: London Symphony Orchestra. Conductor: Gianandrea Noseda.
    • Shostakovich: Symphonies Nos. 9 & 10.
    • Lso Live.
    • 101.
  • Carlo Gesualdo

    Ecco, morirò dunque (4th Book of Madrigals)

    Lyricist: Anonymous. Ensemble: Les Arts Florissants.
    • Gesualdo: Madrigali, Libri terzo & quarto.
    • harmonia mundi.
    • 36-37.
  • Agustín Bardi

    Qué Noche

    Performer: Pascal Contet. Conductor: Paul Meyer. Orchestra: Orchestre Royal de Chambre de Wallonie.
    • Tango.
    • Aparté.
    • 2.
  • Alfrēds Kalniņš

    Jau aiz kalniem, jau aiz birzēm

    Performer: Diana Ketler. Singer: Inga Kalna.
    • SKANi.
  • Pietro Locatelli

    Violin Concerto in A Major, Op. 3 No. 11: I. Allegro - Capriccio

    Orchestra: Suomalainen barokkiorkesteri.
    • Il labirinto armonico.
    • BIS.
    • 4.
  • Hanns Eisler

    Deutsche Sinfonie, Op. 50: No. 1, Präludium

    Choir: Wiener Jeunesse-Chor. Conductor: Günther Theuring. Orchestra: ORF Radio‐Symphonieorchester Wien.
    • Eisler: Deutsche Sinfonie, Op. 50.
    • CapriccioNR.
    • 101.
  • Josquin des Prez

    Missa Pange Lingua i. Kyrie

    Ensemble: Stile Antico.
    • Decca.
  • Gustav Mahler

    Symphony No. 10 in F-Sharp Major "Unfinished" (Completed by D. Cooke): II. Scher

    Conductor: Osmo Vänskä. Orchestra: Minnesota Orchestra.
    • Mahler: Symphony No. 10 in F-Sharp Major "Unfinished" (Completed by D. Cooke).
    • BIS.
    • 2.
  • György Ligeti

    Études pour piano, Book 1: No. 4, Fanfares. Vivacissimo, molto ritmico

    Performer: Jackie Jaekyung Yoo.
    • Etudes: A New Perspective.
    • Genuin.
    • 104.
  • George Crumb

    Makrokosmos I: V. Scorpio. The Phantom Gondolier; VI. Saggitarius. Night-Spel I

    Performer: Martin Klett.
    • Debussy: Préludes I - Crumb: Makrokosmos I.
    • CAvi-music.
    • 117.
  • Franz Liszt

    Bagatelle sans tonalite

    Performer: Stephen Hough.
    • Hyperion.
  • Sofia Gubaidulina


    Performer: Clare Hammond.
    • Variations.
    • BIS.
    • 701.
  • Johann Sebastian Bach

    Well-Tempered Clavier, Book 2, Prelude and Fugue No. 9 in E Major, BWV 878

    Performer: Piotr Anderszewski.
    • Warner Classics.
  • Joseph Haydn

    String Quartet in B-Flat Major, Op. 76 No. 4, Hob. III:78 "Sunrise"

    Ensemble: Chiaroscuro Quartet.
    • Haydn: String Quartets, Op. 76 Nos. 4-6.
    • BIS.
    • 1-4.

Record Review



Shostakovich: Symphony No 9 & Symphony No 10

London Symphony Orchestra

Gianandrea Noseda (conductor)

LSO Live LSO0828 Hybrid SACD


Gesualdo: Madrigals (Books 3 and 4)

Les Arts Florissants

Paul Agnew (conductor)

Harmonia Mundi HAF890530910



Pascal Contet (accordion)

Royal Chamber Orchestra of Wallonia

Paul Mayer (conductor)

Aparte AP246



Das Rosenband: Richard Strauss, Janis Medins, Alfreds Kalnin

Inga Kalna (soprano)

Diana Ketler (piano)



Locatelli: Il Labirinto Armonico – three violin concertos

Ilya Gringolts (violin)

Finnish Baroque Orchestra

BIS BIS2445 SACD Hybrid



9.30am – Building a Library – Kate Molleson on Bartok String Quartet No 5


Composer: Bela Bartok

Reviewer: Kate Molleson


Recommended Recording:

Bartok: String Quartets Nos 1 - 6

Takács Quartet

Decca 4552972


Other recommended versions:


Bartok: String Quartets Nos 1 - 6

Hagen Quartett

DG 4635762


Bartok: Complete String Quartets

Vegh Quartet

Naïve 4870


Bartok: String Quartets Nos 1 - 6

Emerson Quartet

DG 4776322




10.15am – New Releases


Hanns Eisler: Deutsche Sinfonie

ORF Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra

Wiener Jeunesse Chor

Günther Theuring (conductor)

Capriccio C5428


The Golden Renaissance: Josquin des Prez

Stile Antico

Decca 4851340*/CD/The-Golden-Renaissance-Josquin-des-Prez/6SZN0XLB000


Mahler: Symphony No 10 (performing version by Deryck Cooke)

Minnesota Orchestra

Osmo Vanska

BIS-2396 SACD Hybrid



10.40am – Erica Jeal’s Pianists


Etudes – A New Perspective (Ligeti, Lutoslawski, Liszt)

Jackie Jaekyung Yoo (piano)

Genuin GEN20720


Debussy: Prelude I, Crumb: Makrokosmos I

Martin Klett (piano)

Avi Music AVI8553484


Vida Breve (Bach, Chopin, Liszt, Busoni, Hough, Gounod)

Stephen Hough (piano)

Hyperion CDA68260


Variations (Adams, Birtwistle, Copland, Gubaidulina, Hindemith, Lachenmann, Szymanowski)

Clare Hammond (piano)

BIS-2493 SACD Hybrid


JS Bach: Well-Tempered Clavier, Book 2 (Excerpts)

Piotr Anderszewski (piano)

Warner Classics 9029511875



11.20am – Record of the Week



Haydn: String Quartets Op 76, Nos 4 -6

Chiaroscuro Quartet
BIS-2358 SACD Hybrid


  • Sat 6 Feb 2021 09:00

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