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Béla Bartók
Suggested Reading



"A nation creates music--the composer only arranges it."

Bartok Letters : The Musical Mind
(Malcolm Gillies and Adrienne Gombocz, editors)
This book presents nearly three hundred letters which focus on his thoughts about music. Nearly all the selections are either previously unpublished or unavailable in English translation.

Bela Bartok (20Th-Century Composers)
(Kenneth Chalmers)
Examining Bartók, author Kenneth Chalmers uncovers an intellectual whose research into folk music was genuinely nationalistic and, at the same time, broad-minded. Bartok's research covered not just Hungarian sources; it also reached out to other European ethnic groups--even as far as North Africa. Just as Bartok's nationalism managed to be cosmopolitan, his compositions served as a contemporary idiom that escaped the sterile orthodoxy of serialism. Chalmers's portrait of this proud and withdrawn man captures his single-minded commitment to his music and explains why Bartok's works are among the most accessible contemporary scores to enter the repertory after WWII.

Béla Bartók and Turn-of-the-Century Budapest
(Judit Frigyesi)
Judit Frigyesi offers a broad perspective on Bartok's art by grounding it in the social and cultural life of turn-of- the- century Hungary and the intense creativity of its modernist movement. Bartok spent most of his life in Budapest, an exceptional man living in a remarkable milieu. Frigyesi argues that Hungarian modernism in general and Bartok's aesthetic in particular should be understood in terms of a collective search for wholeness in life and art and for a definition of identity in a rapidly changing world.

The Life and Music of Bela Bartok
(Halsey Stevens)
First published in 1953, and again in 1964, Stevens's study is a classic text, combining an authoritative, balanced account of the Hungarian composer's life with candid, insightful analyses of his numerous works, particularly the chamber works. The work now appears in a third edition, prepared by the Bartok scholar Malcolm Gillies. A comprehensive chronological list of works is added, together with a select bibliography and discography. Minor revisions to the text are suggested and a new collection of rare photographs is included.

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