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At the Bartók International Congress 2000 in Austin, Texas, I discussed basic questions related to the forthcoming Bartók thematic catalog with the temporary text of the entry BB 50 Fourteen Bagatelles as a sample. Thank to the interest of G. Henle Verlag, in addition to the continuation of the research on new items, basic reediting of the already written work entries have been carried out. The visual concept and typography of the forthcoming Bartók catalog, planned to be one large volume in English, is similar to Henle’s new Reger Werkverzeichnis. With the item BB 83 Improvisations on Hungarian Peasant Songs op. 20 for piano as a sample, here I investigate problems of a catalog caused by the quickly growing number of reprints, new sheet music editions following the end of copyright protection of the composition in the USA, Japanese revised editions, and editions revised or first published by Peter Bartók.

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In spite of his mistrust in giving public explanations about his compositions, Bartók worked with great care on what we may call the narrative of a piece - the “spirit of the work” in his phrasing (spirit in the sense of the German Geist, the meaning, the characteristic quality). His “plans were concerned with the spirit of the new work and with technical problems (for instance, formal structure involved by the spirit of the work)” (Harvard Lectures, 1943). The best source to understand the narrative of multi-movement Bartók works is a close study of the creative process, primarily the sketches and the draft. The genesis of the Violin Concerto (1937-1938) reveals that to Zoltán Székely's request in 1936 Bartók first proposed a one-movement Konzertstück in variation form, i.e. the second movement. In the next step a full-size sonata-form piece emerging from the Tempo di verbunkos opening theme (as Bartók identified its character) of the present first movement could also have been an alternative one-movement Konzertstück of considerable size. Thus Bartók created two independent narratives: one for a fascinating variation, another for a big sonata-form movement written in a warmly melodic style with a special strategy of variations of the themes. Finally, because his violinist was expecting a regular three-movement concerto, by the addition of a finale he fulfilled the commission.

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Already in some of Bartók's juvenile compositions, a definite attraction is manifested for the irregular rhythmics. This is an early appearance of additive metrics, opposed to the conventional divisive one. An extremely rich selection for irregular meters was offered to Bartók by Rumanian folk song material, particularly in the “colindas”. Speaking about, although Bartók used the term “Bulgarian rhythm”, although knew well this was not an exclusively Bulgarian peculiarity. The phenomenon shows clearly the existing form of the additive-substractive metrics, because the quantitatively various bar structures alternate by augmenting or diminishing by one quaver (as common nominator), a kind of “mistuning in the time”. This thinking has been well documented in a series of various examples, but the Sonata for two pianos and percussion (1937) provides an extremely rich selection of rhythm combination, in which the inner overstructurating of the bar, resp. the mistuning of the meter plays the principal role (3+3+3/8à1+2+2+2+2/8à 4+2+3/8). 

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Béla Bartók's collection of Hungarian instrumental folk music is known only for the Hungarian Bartók scholars and ethnomusicologists although Bartók's permanent interest in folk musical instruments, and instruments in general, manifesting itself in essays and compositions has always been evident. The term Bartók's instrumental collection implies the Hungarian instrumental folk music material that emerged as the outcome of his own collecting work and explicitly melodies performed on instruments. This report gives a survey of Bartók's work in the field by means of some randomly chosen phenomena.

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This paper addresses the early Bartók reception in Denmark in the 1920's and 1930's. The Danish Bartók reception undergoes significant changes and constitutes at least two distinct Bartók images. First we meet the 'international', 'modernist' Bartók, seen as one of the representatives of the 'Neue Musik', in the German sense of genuinely new, contemporary music. This is due to the fact, that Bartók's music from the first moment on was well represented in the repertoire of the Danish societies for contemporary music. The second image is quite different. It emerges in the late 1920s and is present at the latest in the reception of the three concerts, Bartók gave in Copenhagen in 1929. This is an image referring to Bartók as one of the leaders of what is referred to as the 'real new music', which has overcome the destructive powers of modernist expressionism and has formed a genuinely new music founded on the vital forces of unspoiled, original folk music. This second image includes other works as important and excludes some of the works important to the earlier image as non-important. It sometimes values the same works as valuable and important, using other arguments and focusing on other aspects of the works. This means, that there is evidence of a re-interpretation of the Bartók-oeuvre as part of forming this second Bartók image. These images share some international trends in Bartók reception, but have also their own specifics compared to e.g. German Bartók reception, where the Dance Suite (1923) played a crucial role, which was not the case in Copenhagen.

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Die bitonalen bzw. bimodalen Phänomene nehmen in den Klavierwerken Bartóks eine zentrale, jedoch bei weitem nicht ausschließliche Stelle ein. Die Identifizierung und die systematische Analyse der konkreten bimodalen bzw. bitonalen Stellen sowie die Theoretisierung der Bitonalität bzw. Bimodalität hat bisher zu äußerst divergierenden Ergebnissen geführt. Diese Studie betrachtet die als nichtmusikalische Primärquellen geltenden Äußerungen Bartóks, ferner beinhaltet einen Überblick der analytischen Bartók-Literatur. Ein Klassifikationsversuch der bitonalen-bimodalen Phänomene ist ausgearbeitet, die anhand qualitativer und quantitativer Merkmale eine umfassende Analyse bitonal-bimodaler Phänomene ermöglicht. Dem theoretischen Teil folgen fünf Analysen von Bartókschen Klavierwerken aus dem Zeitraum 1908-1926.

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Mária Comensoli, who studied under Bartók in the mid-1920s, reports that her teacher used “peculiar fingerings and peculiar wrist and arm technique.” Examining such comments and the recordings of the composer-pianist, it becomes clear that Bartók played the piano partly according to the 19th-century performance practice. He frequently played chords in arpeggio, even when there were no markings of arpeggio in the score, and he respected the tone color of each finger by relying on the technique of leaping. Contemporary documents suggest that one of Bartók’s technical advantages was the flexibility of his wrists. In Bartók’s case it may have been a fruit of a conscious training by István Thomán. The writings of the Liszt-pupil Thomán suggest that, like his master, he valued the “active” use of wrists, even though he basically supported the modern, “synthetic” piano technique propagated by Breithaupt, who consistently recommended the “passive” use of the wrists. It is likely that, through Thomán, Bartók learned many things from the 19th-century performance practice.

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While Béla Bartók's Selbstbiographie of 1921 provides some insight into his musical training in Pozsony, music historians looking for a broader understanding of the rich musical life that helped shape Bartók must also consider autobiographical statements made by his contemporaries. Fortunately, excellent opportunities present themselves in the writings of the two musicians who preceded Bartók as the organist for the Pozsony Gymnasium's Sunday Mass: Franz Schmidt's Autobiographische Skizze, which he completed around 1915, and Ernő Dohnányi's Memoirs, which he read over Hungarian Radio on January 30, 1944. This article examines the three autobiographical statements to provide a more accurate representation of the richness of Pozsony's musical life at the end of the nineteenth century, and a more complete portrayal of the musical and cultural influences under which Bartók thrived in Pozsony.

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The year 1955 has a special importance for the compositional thinking in Hungary, because it was the year in which Ernő Lendvai's studies of Béla Bartók appeared (Bartók's Style and An Introduction to the Analysis of Bartók's Works). These writings were intended to prove the modernity of his music, a modernity that was comparable to Western-European dodecaphony and serialism. Hungarian composers, attempting to liberate themselves from the dictatorical aesthetic theory of the fifties, saw in Lendvai's publications a kind of instruction book, a Kompositionslehre which could help them to renew Hungarian composition. Model scales, Bartók's harmonic formulas and the Golden Section were understood in this context as devices of modernity in new music.  Young Hungarian composers had begun to follow Bartók's path as early as in the mid-twenties. Until 1955, however, this had meant only a stylistic imitation of his works: Bartók's musical language represented for them the modern manner of self-expression. The consequence of Lendvai's publications was that composers could move away from style imitation and build on some Bartókian constructional principles in their compositions. I take Endre Szervánszky's Second String Quartet (1956-57) and its manuscript sources as a case study demonstrating how the composer worked with scale models, the golden section and other elements of Lendvai's theory. As I argue, Szervánszky's work is an emblematic but also a complex case, for he strove to combine the Bartókian method with a kind of serialism.

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with the integrity of Hungarian folk music research, investigations authenticated by fieldwork have been ongoing to this day, parallel with theoretical research. Most important are Béla Bartók’s Anatolian fieldwork, undertaken in 1936 (published

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