Béla Bartók- Mikrokosmos, Selections for Marimba Duet
Mikrokosmos is a collection of 153 short piano pieces in six volumes. It is arranged pedagogically as the first two volumes, dedicated to his son, are very simple études for beginners, while the fifth and sixth are highly advanced demonstrations of extended techniques and can be performed as concert pieces. This selection is comprised of six pieces from the fifth and sixth volumes that are aptly transferred to two marimbas.
The word "Mikrokosmos" is synonymous to "microcosm," meaning "a little world" or "a world in miniature" that encapsulates something much larger. Thus the entire collection could be thought of as a microcosm of Hungarian and Bulgarian folk music, which Bartók studied as an ethnomusicologist and incorporated into his own style. Or it could be a synthesis of the musical and technical issues of the piano. On the other hand, Bartók was an avid entomologist, studying the microcosmos of the natural world. He had a fascination with insects ever since childhood, and maintained a vast collection of beetles and flies.