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Muzsikas: The Bartok Album

Classical composers have long drawn inspiration, if not directly filching material, from the ragged ranks of the presumably “lower” culture of folk music. One of the most famous examples in this century was Bela Bartok, who so loved what he heard in Hungarian folk music that he paid due respects by taking to the hills for study, recording, amateur ethnomusicology, cataloguing, and, not incidentally, administering a shot in the arm of his own creative life.

In a fascinating project that freely crosses the border between “high” and “low” musical culture, the group known as Muzsikas has created the humbly titled album, The Bartok Album (Hannibal 1439; 62:43), one of the finest albums of the year, of whatever genre.

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