Friday 31 August 2012

Emerson, Lake & Palmer: The Barbarian


Published on Apr 3, 2012 by aqualungus

Although the composition of the first track, "The Barbarian", was attributed to the three band members, it is an arrangement for rock band of Béla Bartók’s 1911 piano piece, Allegro Barbaro. (Wikipedia)

Wikipedia: Allegro barbaro (Bartók)
Allegro barbaro, BB 63 (Sz. 49), composed in 1911, is one of Béla Bartók's most famous and frequently performed solo piano pieces. The composition is typical of Bartók's style, utilizing folk elements. The work combines Hungarian and Romanian scales; Hungarian peasant music is based on the pentatonic scale, while Romanian music is largely chromatic.

The opening melody of Allegro barbaro is largely pentatonic (the first 22 notes of the melody use a cell that consists only of a whole tone and a minor third, the building block of the pentatonic scale). Indeed, the opening melody uses a Phrygian mode subset.

As noted by Lendvai, like many other compositions by Bartók, also in "Allegro barbaro" numerical series like the Fibonacci sequence are widely employed. As an example, the ostinato F♯ minor pulsating chords occur in groups of 3, 5, 8, or 13 bars.

Wikipedia: Emerson Lake & Palmer (album)
Emerson, Lake & Palmer is the eponymous debut album of British progressive rock band Emerson, Lake & Palmer, released in 1970. The album was intended not as an effort by a unified band, but as a general collaborative recording session, and as such, some of the tracks are essentially solo pieces.

Wikipedia: Emerson, Lake & Palmer
Emerson, Lake & Palmer, also known as ELP, are a sporadically active English progressive rock supergroup. They found success in the 1970s and have sold over forty million albums and headlined large stadium concerts. The band consists of Keith Emerson (keyboards), Greg Lake (bass guitar, vocals, guitar) and Carl Palmer (drums, percussion). They are one of the most popular and commercially successful progressive rock bands.

Some personal notes
I saw ELP in 1970 at their first concert ever in Toronto Canada. They opened with this piece. I have seen them several times over the years and they remain for me one of the greats. This isn't toe tapping music or a catchy tune. No, this is music which leaves you in stunned awe.


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