BARTÓK IN BRITAIN tackles Bartók’s personality afresh, through a detailed study of the series of British concert tours which the Hungarian composer undertook between 1904 and 1938. Based on a complex web of Hungarian, British and American sources, the book records the views of Bartók and his British acquaintances on such issues as his pianism, composition and social questions. The investigation is set against a backdrop of British musical life of the period, with its rapid changes in attitudes to music and to its propagation.
One chapter in the book is devoted to Bartók’s relationship with the composer-critics Philip Heseltine (Peter Warlock) and Cecil Gray. It traces the development of Heseltine’s early interest in Bartók’s music while still a schoolboy at Eton, through the promotional ventures he hatched, along with Cecil Gray, to expose Bartók’s music to the British public, to a detailed study of the preparations for Bartók’s first post-war visit to Britain in 1922. The chapter also provides accounts of the visits of Heseltine and Gray to Bartók in Budapest in 1921, and Bartók’s own visit to London and to Wales in March 1922.
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