Bela Bartok is one of my favorite musicians ever. His music sounds like: King Crimson, Magma, Gentle Giant, Captain Beefheart, Yes, Meshuggah, Mahavishnu Orchestra, Bastro, Don Caballero, the Fucking Champs, Sonic Youth, Drive Like Jehu, Necrophagist, Metallica, Slint, Hella, Stravinsky, Rush, Pink Floyd, etc. It is truly the precursor to prog rock, math rock, prog metal, math metal, technical metal, etc. Angular, robotic, dissonant, heavy, dramatic, virtuostic, spooky, and thoroughly progtacular.
Check out his amazing string quartets, which sound in parts like Don Caballero mixed with Voivod and Metallica and Meshuggah and the rest of the bands listed above, and his awesome “how to learn piano” series Mikrokosmos, which he wrote for his son to learn piano, Amazing! The Contrasts album with Benny Goodman on clarinet, Bartok on piano, and Joseph Szigeti on violin sounds like Voivod with clarinet!
I think it would be great to have kids who learn like the Suzuki method to be slipped sheets of Mikrokosmos sheet music instead, that would breed a new generation of interesting piano players for sure.
Check out especially:
- String Quartet No.4, Sz. 91 – 5. Allegro molto(MP3) and
- String Quartet No.5, Sz. 102 – 1. Allegro (MP3)
The string quartets by another set of performers:
Here are some good interviews/articles:
Also totally awesome and Bartokian:
Shostakovich String Quartet #8 in c, Op 110–Emerson String Quartet. DG 459670-2.