Ask any of the more experimentally inclined progressive rock bands which classical composers influence their work, and it is a fair bet to say that along with Stravinsky and Ligeti, Hungarian composer Bela Bartók will get a mention. Here we have Brazilian power trio Dialeto offering rock interpretation of a number of Bartók compositions.
I last wrote about this blistering band, based around the fiery guitar of Nelson Coelho, back in 2013, with a review of their last album The Last Tribe.
Dialeto have been in existence since 1987, only relatively recently becoming known outside their native land. Their long existence and their now settled line up means that these players know each other’s moves intuitively, and even with something as composed as this you can feel the interlocking musical spirits at work.
Bartók in Rock is centred around his Romanian Folk Dances, six pieces originally composed on piano, and later arranged for small ensemble by the composer. Based on seven folk tunes from Transylvania, originally played on fiddle and shepherd’s flute, Bartók changed it into six movements and intended it should take a mere four minutes and three seconds to perform on the piano. Dialeto have therefore used the pieces as bases to extemporise, and it works. The fast pace of much of this album and its traditional folk origins make me think of that most well-known example of this kind of musical translation, Dave Edmunds’ Sabre Dance.
Nelson Coehlo is a gifted technical player who injects passion by the bucketload into his work, and his rhythm section are no slouches either, and neither could they be given the tempo, which never falls below moderato. You will notice a certain David Cross guesting on violin on the first track, and there are numerous videos out there on You Tube showing the band plus David from numerous gigs they have done together. Here they are doing a tune you might know…
In summary Bartók in Rock is an enjoyable album, but maybe lacking some of the spark of their original works. However this is only a minor criticism, and you should give it a listen, as it is certainly a bit different from the usual fare.
01. Mikrokosmos 113 (4:21)
02. Mikrokosmos 149 (3:40)
03. An Evening in the Village (3:21)
04. Roumanian Folk Dances 1 (5:39)
05. Roumanian Folk Dances 2 (3:15)
06. Roumanian Folk Dances 3 (3:48)
07. Roumanian Folk Dances 4 (4:20)
08. Roumanian Folk Dances 5 (1:54)
09. Roumanian Folk Dances 6 (1:54)
10. The Young Bride (5:26)
Total Time – 37:38
Nelson Coelho – Guitar
Gabriel Costa – Bass
Fred Barley – Drums
David Cross – Violin (track 1)
Record Label: Independent (distributed by MoonJune Records)
Country of Origin: Brazil
Date of Release: 25th May 2017