Bartókiana - Abstracts
The Missing 32":
Sotto il segno dell’orso
(Under the Sign of the Bear)
PowerPoint presentation by
Professor Emeritus, The University of Western Ontario
The ‘Bear Dance’ from Bartók’s Sonatina for Piano (1915) is indicated to last only 32", but its specific articulation, linked to original peasant practices, could not be precisely notated on the piano score. Indeed, Bartók wrote in his 1943 Serbo-Croatian Folk Songs: "The only really true notations are the sound-tracks on the record itself."
Although the character of this Bear Dance was illustrated by the composer’s own recording of 1920, the piece is still taught today in a puzzling, distorted, way and even in the hands of eminent performers it continues to remain one of the most misinterpreted and misleading examples of Bartókiana.
Six readings of the Bear Dance, including the one by the composer, are explored and examined with the support of musical and visual examples.
Professor Emeritus Damjana Bratuž was recently re-appointed Adjunct Research Professor at the University of Western Ontario, for her ongoing international activity as a lecturer and performer. The focus of her research is a semiotic of performance based on the ear & the hand, and she continues to present the results of her inquiries in conference papers, seminars and lectures. At the 10th International Congress of Musical Signification recently held in Vilnius, Lithuania, she presented " Il suono che diventa significato/On Sound Becoming Sense: Listening to Luciano Berio;" at the national conference of the Canadian Society for Traditional Music in Halifax, N.S., she spoke on "Influence and Affinity: from Bartók’s Filiation to Umberto Eco’s affinità primitive."
Dr. Bratuž has been a guest professor at several European institutions, and in the class of Professor Eero Tarasti at Helsinki University gave a series of doctoral seminars under the title "Musical Performance and the Dialogic Imagination."