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User Name Thread Name Subject Posted
elfcape Bartok: foreign influences in folk music (17) RE: Bartok: foreign influences in folk music 25 Aug 09

In retrospect we will figure out that the 20th century had only a few truely outstanding composers. Bartok Bela will unmistakably be considered one of them. He was meticulous in his collecting and transcribing, and thought deeply about the ethics of what he was doing - not just the collecting but also how he reworked what he collected into what he composed. His powerfully deep wrenching love of his people is audible in both his scholarship and composition.

Bert understood that clearly, and presented his understanding with the most amazing competence - actually driving his poor cassette player to produce the examples he wanted without a slip. Incredible preparation, that. I had the pleasure of watching him do it at probably the most conservative music department in the US (Harvard) and his performance masquerading as a lecture brooked no contest.

If you don't yet get Bartok, listen to the 5th quartet and the Miraculous Mandarin and read something about them. Study up a little on the horrors of HItler and eastern Europe and think about how you would feel if you had to leave your mother behind and flee for your life, knowing that if you ever returned everything you'd spent the last 20 years studying would be obliterated by physically and culturally.

And listen to some Shostakovich while you're at it.

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