Free download of Bartók's "Romanian Christmas Songs"

Given the season I thought repackaging it with the original field recordings and sheet music. This was recorded during the final session for the Bartók album back in 2010, and was an interesting challenge to get it together.  Download it here.  Or listen below.

Like much of Bartók’s folk-based works, each of these shorts offer and incredible world of counterpoint and adventurous harmonic decisions. Check out #4 (starting at 1:17). As simple as this sounds, this duet with guitarist Grant Gordy is remarkably challenging. As you can see in the score, there is a fair bit of mixed meter (changing time-signatures), and the sparse setting leaves no room for any errors, excess noise (which can be tough to avoid on banjo). And comparing the basic melody Bartók collected (track #5) to these 25 seconds of beauty is a window into Bartók’s genius. Truthfully each comparison should deepen one's respect for Bartók. And the grand finale with that mandolin tremolo makes me still smile every time I hear it. 

(here is a performance the original piano