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B?la Bart?k and Turn-of-the-Century Budapest [Kindle Edition]

Judit Frigyesi
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Bartók's music is greatly prized by concertgoers, yet we know little about the intellectual milieu that gave rise to his artistry. Bartók is often seen as a lonely genius emerging from a gray background of an "underdeveloped country." Now Judit Frigyesi offers a broader perspective on Bartók'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. Bartók spent most of his life in Budapest, an exceptional man living in a remarkable milieu. Frigyesi argues that Hungarian modernism in general and Bartók'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. Is it still possible, Bartók's generation of artists asked, to create coherent art in a world that is no longer whole? Bartók and others were preoccupied with this question and developed their aesthetics in response to it. In a discussion of Bartók and of Endre Ady, the most influential Hungarian poet of the time, Frigyesi demonstrates how different branches of art and different personalities responded to the same set of problems, creating oeuvres that appear as reflections of one another. She also examines Bartók's Bluebeard's Castle, exploring philosophical and poetic ideas of Hungarian modernism and linking Bartók's stylistic innovations to these concepts.


Editorial Reviews

Review

"Frigyesi's work is a tour-de-force that in a single volume attempts (and to this reviewer's mind largely succeeds) to present the frame of mind and character of a whole generation of Hungarians that included the now internationally known composer Bela Bartok as well as the literary critic George Lukacs, the great Hungarian poet Endre Ady and many others."--Stephen Goode, "The Washington Times

From the Inside Flap

"Outstanding. . . a significant achievement not only in Bartók research, but for its special perspective and its wealth of information and documentation regarding Hungarian culture and its relation to the broader European modern scene."—Elliott Antokoletz, author of The Music of Béla Bartók

"Béla Bartók and Turn-of-the-Century Budapest is an imaginative and powerful reinterpretation of Bartók's aesthetic achievement, which is presented as integrally related to its historical milieu in early twentieth-century Hungary. This is neither a conventional biography of Bartók, nor a systematic analysis of his musical oeuvre. Rather, it is a sustained interpretation of the meaning of Bartók's modernism and folklorism, within the context of Hungarian modernism. Few scholars besides Frigyesi, in or out of Hungary, possess the combination of skills necessary to write such a book and it will be a standard treatment of the subject for many years to come."—Mary Gluck, author of Georg Lukas and His Generation

Product Details

  • File Size: 5892 KB
  • Print Length: 367 pages
  • Publisher: University of California Press (March 23, 1998)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B003AU4JC2
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,081,647 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Format:Hardcover
I am a fan of history-and-criticism books (especially on musical topics), but ONLY when they read with the clarity of logic and the authority of resourced research which is demonstrated by this wonderful book. The purposes and meanings which underlie so much of Bartok's work and music, from folk-song research to Cantata Profana and all of the stage works, are beautifully revealed. It is a true inspiration to read about the milieu which helped to create the great sense of purpose which drove Bartok to his greatness. (Derrill Bodley, Professor)
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Modernism and Bartok April 6, 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The central question of the book is: "How do we explain the dramatic change in Bartok's style and point of view that occurred around 1907?" Before that time, Bartok was a late-romantic composer; afterwards he sounds very much the 20th-century modern.

To answer this, the author probes deeply into the culture of Budapest around 1907, frequently comparing it with Viennese culture, and studies the degree to which it influenced Bartok. I can vouch for her profound grasp of Viennese modernism, and Hungarian modernism came vividly to life in her hands.

In the course of her argument she studies in depth the great Hungarian poet Ady, Bartok's first piano concerto, and his opera Bluebeard's Castle. I learned a great deal from her book, and got much pleasure from her presentation.
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