The Voice of Bartok

I never knew a recording of Bartok speaking in English existed till I came across this today, thanks to a link at Pytheas Music’s “Composers Speak” page. There are tons of new music links of many kinds at Pytheas; the collection is rather indiscriminate, some items are rather more interesting than others, and there are some dead links as well. But still definitely worth visiting. (Thanks to Kile Smith for the tip on this.)

Bartok in NYC and Philadelphia

Thanks to Alex Ross, and via Opera Chic, I checked out the video where Esa-Pekka explains the story of Bluebeard’s Castle to the L.A. Phil. But I want to call your attention to one of the videos that came up when the Bluebeard one was over – Esa-Pekka on Bartok in NYC. Very moving. He visits Columbia U. to check out Bartok’s papers which they have thanks to his ethnomusicological work there.


I recall there being a bust of Bartok in the Columbia Music Library on the top floor of Dodge Hall. My understanding is that Jack Beeson was a pupil of Bartok – the only American to study with him. I wish I had talked to Jack about this.

There are more Bartok papers here in Philly. The U of PA library has the papers of the Musical Fund Society of Philadelphia, and Bartok’s 3rd Quartet won a composition contest the Society sponsored. Consequently, Penn has an autograph of the Bartok 3rd. Bartok shared the prize with… Alfredo Casella.