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String Quartet No. 2, Op.17, parts; Bela Bartok (Henle). edited by Laszlo Somfai. HN1422
Bela Bartok's six string quartets, composed between 1908 and 1940, are 20th-century milestones of the genre. His Second String Quartet was composed – with several long interruptions – between 1915 and 1918, after he had spent several years almost solely devoted to collecting folk music. The melody and rhythms of the riotous middle movement ''Allegro, molto capriccioso'' provide impressive testimony of how his research trips had taken him as far as North Africa. The first edition of this quartet, published in Vienna in 1920, contains a conspicuous number of errors that were only partially corrected in a later revision undertaken by Bartok. As late as the 1940s he noted changes in his personal copy of the score that have never previously appeared inprint.
These late changes by Bartok are taken into account in this definitive edition of the string quartets supervised by Bartok scholar Laszlo Somfai, with problematic passages in the sources carefully documented. It is the first-ever Urtext edition of this work. Sensible page turns and cue notes in the parts mean that this edition is ideal for exploring Bartok's sound world in performance.