The Viennese Dance Series for Chamber Ensembles
Serkentó, a Hungarian Csárdás for String Quartet
Márk Rózsavölgyi (1789-1848) was born in the Hungarian town of Balassagyamat, then part of the Austrian Habsburg Empire. He is believed to have studied violin and composition in Vienna and Prague. He lived most of his life in Hungary and is generally considered the most important Hungarian composer before the advent of Kodaly and Bartok. He devoted himself to taking Hungarian folk dances and melodies and putting them into the setting of classic music, writing chamber music, orchestral compositions, piano music and concertos.
Serkentó, a propulsive dance in English, was one of several typical Hungarian folk dances, in this case the csárdás, that Rózsavölgyi made for string quartet. A csárdás typically begins with a slow section and then gradually gets faster, usually ending at a very fast tempo. Serkentó follows this format. It is in three short sections, each successively quicker. It begins with an atmospheric Hungarian adagio. This is followed by an, Allegro moderato and then a rousing Piu allegro (presto).
Long out of print, perhaps for more than a century, this is a little gem that makes for a superb encore.