Bela Bartok (1881-1945) Hungarian Composer

As the tensions of war grew in Europe particularly in the Nazi-subjugated countries, the urge in Bartok to flee Hungary was overwhelming. The first thing he did was send his manuscripts out of Hungary and in 1940 he and his wife made their journey towards America, leaving their son Bela jr. , in Hungary. Though Bartok sought refuge in the United States and gained citizenship in 1945, he did not regard his journey as an exile, but rather an emigration.

One of the pleasures that Bartok found in the United States was his privilege to study a compilation of the folk music of Serbia and Croatia at the prestigious Columbia University in New York City. During that time, there spread rumors that Bartok and his family were terribly destitute. However, this was not true for although they were not living a well-off life, he and his family lived decently. When Bela Bartok was diagnosed with leukemia, his hospital fees were shouldered by the American Society for Composers, Authors and Publishers.

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And in a gesture of goodwill, the conductor Serge Koussevitzky was convinced to have his foundation perform a Bartok piece through the conductor Fritz Reiner, and the culmination was the Concerto for Orchestra. IN 1944, Bartok wrote a solo violin sonata for the violinist Yehudi Menuhin, and last two concertos finished by Tibor Serly his Hungarian compatriot. Bartok’s works before his death in 1945 were branded as “the spirit of the times”. This and countless other bodies acclaimed his accomplishments and works. A large majority of his works was entered in several orchestral repertoires, and virtually all of them remained.
Bartok not only left a Hungarian legacy but also, his contemporaries became proud of belonging in the same era as Bartok’s. Bela Bartok passed away peacefully on the 26th of September, 1945 in a hospital in New York. By his side was his wife Ditta Bartok and Bela jr. His remains were buried in New York’s Woodlawn Cemetery but were transferred back to his native Hungary four decades later in 1988. Reference: Unitarian Universalist Historical Society (UUHS. (n. d. ). Bela Bartok. Retrieved June 24, 2007, from http://www25. uua. org/uuhs/duub/articles/belabartok. html

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