Hungarian composer, one of the most original figures in 20th century music.
Born March 25, 1881, in Nagyszentmiklós, Hungary (now Sînnicolau, Romania), Bartók studied in Pressburg (now Bratislava, Slovakia) and in Budapest, where he taught piano at the Royal Academy of Music (1907-34) and worked with the Academy of Sciences (1934-40). In 1940 Bartók immigrated to the United States. He did research at Columbia University (1940-41) and taught music in New York City, living in financial stress. He died of leukemia in New York City, September 26, 1945.
Bartók acknowledged his musical debt to the Hungarian composer Franz Liszt and the French composer Claude Debussy, and his tone poem Kossuth (1904) shows the influence of the German composer Richard Strauss. About 1905 Bartók realized that what generally passed as Hungarian folk music was actually gypsy music arranged according to conventional Central European standards. With his friend the Hungarian composer Zoltán Kodály, Bartók systematically collected and analyzed Hungarian and other folk music, a collaboration that resulted in 12 volumes containing 2700 Magyar, 3500 Magyar-Romanian, and several hundred Turkish and North African folk songs.
Bartók rarely incorporated folk songs into his compositions; rather, he assimilated into a powerful personal style the scales and melodic contours and the driving, often asymmetrical rhythms of Balkan and Hungarian folk music. His music always has a tonal center, but this is usually established in personal, only partially traditional ways. Much of his music is chromatic (using notes foreign to a given key) and often highly contrapuntal, interweaving melodic lines and letting dissonance fall where it may; yet he also used chords for their sonority and was highly sensitive to pianistic and orchestral colors. A brilliant pianist, he wrote many teaching pieces for the piano.
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Bartók Béla (životopis)
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