Agay, Denes, ed. Bartók Is Easy! 15 Melodious Pieces for the Young Pianist. Presser. Compiled from Sz. 39 and 42. Simplistic title may mislead a younger student. The editor has added, deleted, or changed some original indications, often in disagreement even with the differences between the first and second editions of Sz. 42. Some invented tides do not capture the essential spirit of the piece. Most difficult piece is “Bear Dance,” Sz. 39, No. 10.
Agay, Denes, ed. The Joy of Bartók. Yorktown. Compiled from Sz. 38, 39, 42 (Vols. I and II), 44, 45, 52, and 53. An attractive and varied assortment of 51 pieces graded in approximate order of difficulty. Titles both original and invented. Except for occasional omissions of pedaling and accent indications, the pieces are faithful to the original texts.
Alfred, publ., Bartók. 24 of his Easiest Piano Pieces. Compiled from Sz. 39, 42 (Vols. I and II), and 53. Aside from a few added interpretive indications and titles and some MM markings that are different from Bartók’s, this collection is quite accurate. Almost every piece is preceded by brief explanations and interpretive suggestions. Selections appear in order of difficulty, the last piece being “Evening in the Country,” Sz. 39, No. 5.
Alfred, publ., Bartók. 24 of his Most Popular Piano Pieces. Compiled from Sz. 38, 39, 42 (Vols. I and II), 44, 53, and 55. Also listed is Rhapsody, with a date of 1904, but this is really Nos. 40 and 41 of Vol. II of Sz. 42, not Sz. 26. This collection is probably meant as a more difficult sequel to 24 of his Easiest Piano Pieces, although there are some duplications. It is unfortunate that not all the pieces are identified as to which collection they originally came from.
Anson, George, ed. Anson Introduces Bartók (Vol. I, Elementary; Vol. II, Intermediate). Willis. Compiled from Sz. 39, 42 (Vols. I and II), and 53. Some unnecessary fingerings and pedal markings have been added, although the original indications remain unaltered. “Hand Position” fingering charts accompany some of the easier pieces, as in the early volumes of Mikrokosmos. MM markings are omitted, even though they appear in the original editions. The remarks that precede each piece give practice and interpretive suggestions that are often helpful but are more often banal and patronizing. Large notation actually makes for more difficult reading.
Balógh, Ernö, ed. Béla Bartók. Selected Works for the Piano. G. Schirmer. Contains Sz. 21, 26, 38, 41, 44, 43, 45, 47, and 55. Similar to an urtext edition but should be compared with parallel examples in the Suchoff (BBPI) and K-BM editions because of slight differences in tempo indications and MM markings. Only the more advanced pianist should consider buying this collection.
Banowetz, Joseph, ed. Béla Bartók. An Introduction to the Composer and his Music. Kjos. Contains Sz. 42, Vol. I. Although this is an edition of a single work, it deserves special commendation for its informative introduction on Bártok’s life and the history of Hungarian music, its concise English translations of folk texts, and its impeccable editing of the music.
Bradley, publ., Béla Bartók. Piano Pieces in Their Original Form. Eight pieces compiled from Sz. 39, 42, and 53. Large notation, invented titles. Adheres closely to original indications.
Brimhall, John, ed. My Favorite Bartók. CH II. Twenty-one pieces compiled from Sz. 53, 42, and 39. Attractive and reliable collection and an affordable purchase. Identifies collection to which each piece belongs.
Chapman, Ernest, ed. Béla Bartók. A Highlight Collection of His Original Piano Works. California Music Press, Inc. (Maestro). Compiled from Sz. 22, 38, 39, 41, 42, and 43. Twelve-page introduction includes a biographical sketch, photographs, maps, illustrations, and explanatory notes on the works presented. Presents a good cross-section of Bartok’s earlier works of varying levels of difficulty. Follows closely the format of the Kail edition, both of them being urtext reprints of the early editions and equally affordable. One might prefer this collection because of the generous biographical information it offers.
EMB, publ., Bartók Béla. Album. Vol. I: Sz. 38 (Nos. 2, 3, 5, 10, and 14), 47 (Nos. 1 and 2), 43 (No. 1), 44 (Nos. 1, 2, 5, and 6), and 39 (Nos. 5 and 10). Vol. II: Sz. 46, 39 (Nos. 3, 7, and 8), 38 (Nos. 1, 6, 8, and 11), 43 (No. 1), 47 (No. 3), 44 (No. 7), 35a, and 45 (No.3). Vol. Ill: Sz. 38 (Nos. 4, 7, 9, 12, and 13), 39 (“Dedication” and Nos. 2 and 6), 44 (Nos. 3 and 4), 45 (Nos. 1, 2, and 4), 55, and 41. This collection was selected by Bartók before his emigration to the United States in 1940 and was first published by Rózsavölgyi & Co. in 1947. The edition is of course impeccably edited, and the order of individual selections (parts of a single work may be distributed over all three volumes; see especially Sz. 38 and 39) provides a uniformity of mood and suggests programming possibilities.
EMB, publ., Béla Bartók. Young People at the Piano (Vols. I and II). Compiled from Sz. 39 and 42 (Vols. I and II). Vol. II contains ten pieces “for the second and third years of instruction.” Reliable collection with pieces arranged in an attractive performing sequence.
Frank, Marcel, ed. Bartók. The Best in Music Made Easy for Piano. Clef. Compiled from Sz. 42 and 39. A difficult edition to read because of the narrow spacing between the staves and the awkward fingering locations. Disregards Bartók’s original markings in favor of editorial indications that are random, ambiguous, and often contradictory to his musical intentions.
Goldberger, David, ed. The Easy Piano Music of Béla Bartók. Schroeder & Gunther. Compiled from Sz. 38, 39, 42 (Vols. I and II), 44, and 53. Short biographical sketch. Careful selection of pieces and good editing, the latter consisting of added fingerings, MM markings in the absence of Bartók’s, pedal markings, and clarifying notation. Some of the fingerings are viable alternatives to Bartók’s own, the added MM markings are in brackets rather than in parentheses, and all other emendations are done with taste and a regard for musical intent. The original collections from which the pieces were taken are not identified, but the individual works are arranged with effective programming in mind.
Kail, Robert, ed. Béla Bartók. His Greatest Piano Solos. Copa. Includes Sz. 42, 39, 38, 22 (Nos. 2, 3, and 4), and 44 (No. 5). Adhering closely to “the original Hungarian editions,” this collection offers a good cross-section of Bartók’s piano music written between 1903 and 1910. It follows the format of the Chapman edition, which was also a reprint of the early editions.
K-BM, publ., Bartók. An Album for Piano Solo. Includes Sz. 35a, 22 (Nos. 2 and 4), 43, 55, 38, 44, and 39 (No. 10). Similar to an urtext edition but should be compared with the Suchoff (BBPI) and Balógh (Schirmer) editions because of slight differences in tempo and MM markings. Offers a good cross-section of Bartók’s earlier and more difficult piano works.
Nevin, Mark, ed. Bartók for the Young Pianist. Pro Art. Compiled from Sz. 39, 38, 42, and 53. Twenty-one selections of approximately increasing difficulty, ending with “Bear Dance,” Sz. 39, No. 10. This collection should be compared with a more reliable, original edition, since there are many additions, changes, and even deletions from Bartók’s own indications, none of them acknowledged by the editor.
Novik, Ylda, ed. Young Pianist’s Guide to Bartók. Studio P/R. Compiled from Sz. 42 and 53. The one-page biographical sketch de-emphasizes the tragedies in Bartók’s life and concentrates on his accomplishments. The titles of the sixteen selections are invented, and no indication is given as to which collection they are taken from. Photos and commentary adorn most pieces. Some of the explanatory notes as to dance types and folk tune texts are helpful, but others are simplistic. Contains performance suggestions such as balance and redistributions. Freely edited but to no adverse effect. Enclosed recording by the editor of the selections in the volume is a welcome feature; the total effect of the performance is non-percussive, almost fragile.
Palmer, Willard A., ed. Bartók. An Introduction to his Piano Works. Alfred. Compiled from Sz. 39, 42, 44, and 53. Thirty-one pieces presented in order of difficulty, with “Bear Dance,” Sz. 39, No. 10, ending the collection. Includes some of Bartók’s written commentary and illustrations from Sz. 52, in which wrist and finger action, touch schemes, accents, and syncopations are explained. Each piece is preceded by a capsule summary of the folk text. Performance suggestions relative to Bartók’s remarks in Sz. 52 preface each piece. Editorial indications (fingerings, redistributions for small hands) are indicated in grey print. A highly recommended collection.
Palmer, Willard A., ed. Bartók. The First Book for Young Pianists. Alfred. Compiled from Sz. 42 and 52. A more concise and elementary version of Palmer’s Introduction, but containing the same careful and tasteful editing and interpretive suggestions. Short introductory section explains wrist action and finger staccato. Some of the folk arrangements contain a “sing-along” text above the notation. One of the best elementary Bartók collections in print.
Palmer, Willard A., ed. Béla Bartók. Selected Children’s Pieces for the Piano. Alfred. Compiled from Sz. 39, 42, and 53. Thirteen pieces “carefully selected [and] arranged in approximate order of difficulty.” Some of Bartók’s original fingerings and “indefinite [?]” dynamic indications have been modified for clarity. Measure numbers and widely spaced printing are helpful for the student. Not as reliable an edition as Palmer’s Introduction.
Philipp, Isidor, ed. Bartók. 16 Pieces for Children. International. Includes pieces not only from Sz. 42, as its name implies, but from Sz. 38 (including No. 4, which is hardly a children’s piece) and 39. Fingerings altered from Bartók’s original, but worthy of consideration.
Richter, Ada, ed. Bartók, Early Works. Warner Bros. Compiled from Sz. 39, 42 (Vols. I and II), and 53.
BBPI: Suchoff, Benjamin, ed. Piano Music of Béla Bartók (Series I and II). Dover. Includes all the solo piano works from Sz. 21 through 55. The most monumental scholarly edition of Bart6k’s early piano works ever assembled in the United States. A Bartók centennial project (published 1981), this collection represents “the only edition of the great Hungarian composer to be based on corrections from his memorabilia or original editions in the New York Bartók Archive.” This two-volume collection contains extensive background information for each work, reproductions from Bartók’s own scholarly publications of original folk tunes, folk text translations, and manuscript reproductions for certain works. No serious Bart6k pianist or scholar can do without this highly valuable, but affordable, collection edited by one of the foremost Bart6k scholars in America.