Lot 574: ALS in Hungarian, signed "Bartok Bela," four pages on two adjoining sheets, 4.25 x 7, December 11, 1904. Letter to an unidentified woman, in full (translated): "I am sending you attached a [newspaper] review of my piano concert in Manchester. I did not write yet to Vienna to inquire whether or not my concert agent is presently there, because I returned home from Budapest with a very bad cold, so that now anyway I would not be able to travel to Vienna. Therefore, I think that the best would be if I would inquire about this myself after a couple of days of everything concerning this matter. I did not receive any communication until now from either Great Britain, nor from Nikisch. I received three excellent reviews from Vienna (about my quintet). According to one (Extrablatt) it is not even worthwhile to spend even one minute to talk about this composition, while the other two were somewhat more merciful. To be honest, all this leaves me absolutely cold; I do receive good reviews, but only from practical point of view. What is your opinion about the critical review of my quintet published in 'Az Ujsag'? Undoubtedly it was written by a 'Uebermensch' who is able to be so farsighted (or listen), a mind reader, etc. About that so popular concert, Thoman is of the opinion that something like this could be presented with success only by a successful (renowned) artist such as d'Albert or Ysaye (I am also of the same opinion). Anyway he was not too enthusiastic about my concert. This year he is also organizing a piano concert, so, in his opinion, those some 50 persons who will attend cannot be bothered, with a request twice one after another (anyway, this is also my opinion). Therefore, I am giving up on any such plan, especially because I wouldn't have anything to gain with it." In fine condition, with vertical and horizontal folds to signed page.Inspired by the life and travails of the Hungarian revolutionary leader Lajos Kossuth, Bartok penned the symphonic poem Kossuth in late 1903. Its subsequent premiers in Budapest and Manchester in January and February of 1904 were met with strong reviews and helped identify the young Bartok as a patriot composer. Later that same year, Bartok composed Piano Quintet in C Major and Rhapsody Op. 1, arrangements which ushered in a novel stage for the young symphonist; increasingly frustrated with Budapest's stagnating musical culture, Bartok sought to uncover and incorporate many lost and forgotten melodies of Hungarian folk music. Wrought with the normal frustrations of a 23-year-old artist, this excellent letter derives from the very time period that ultimately set Bartok on his path to becoming one of the founders of ethnomusicology.
RR Auction's Fine Autographs and Artifacts Auction 467
Wednesday, 13th January 2016
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