A CHRONOLOGICAL VIEW OF WESTERN MUSIC HISTORY IN THE CONTEXT OF WORLD EVENTS

Béla Bartók

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March 25, 1881: Béla Viktor János Bartók is born at no.229 Szerb-Nagyszentmiklós in Nagyszentmiklós, Torantál District, Kingdom of Hungary (Sînnicolau Mare, Timis District, Romania), first of two children born to Béla Bartók, director of the local agricultural school, and Paula Voit, schoolteacher, both amateur musicians.
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May 1, 1892: Béla Bartók (11) makes his first appearance as pianist and composer, at a charity concert for the town of Nagyszöllös (Vinogradov, Ukraine), 300 km northeast of Budapest. Bártok plays the premiere of his The Course of the Danube as well as the first movement of the Waldstein Sonata of Beethoven (†65).
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November 3, 1898: Two movements of a Piano Quartet by Béla Bartók (17) are performed for the first time, in Pozsony.
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December 8, 1898: Béla Bartók (17) and his mother travel to Vienna Conservatory where he is promised a free place for next academic year. He will change his mind, however, in favor of the Budapest Academy of Music.
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October 21, 1901: Béla Bartók (20) makes his Budapest debut at a student concert, playing the b minor piano sonata of Franz Liszt (†15).
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December 14, 1901: Béla Bartók (20) is paid for making music for the first time, by a Budapest casino.
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February 12, 1902: After witnessing the Budapest premiere of Also sprach Zarathustra by Richard Strauss (37), Béla Bartók (20) is so inspired that he begins to devote more and more time to composing.
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December 2, 1902: At the request of the faculty, Béla Bartók (21) plays his transcription of Richard Strauss’ (38) Ein Heldenleben at the Budapest Academy of Music.
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January 20, 1903: Béla Bartók (21) plays his transcription of Richard Strauss’ (38) Ein Heldenleben at the Tonkünstlerverein, Vienna. The transcription and performance find favorable reactions in the press.
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March 27, 1903: The Piano Fantasy I by Béla Bartók (22) is performed for the first time, in Budapest, by the composer.
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April 13, 1903: Béla Bartók (22) gives his first solo recital, at his home town of Nagyszentmiklos. The performance includes the premiere of his own Study for the Left Hand.
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May 25, 1903: Béla Bartók (22) gives his last performance as a student at the Budapest Academy of Music, at a public examination concert playing Liszt’s (†16) Rhapsodie espagnole .
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June 8, 1903: The third movement of Béla Bartók’s (22) Violin Sonata is performed for the first time, in Budapest. The composer plays the piano part during a graduation examination in composition at Budapest Conservatory. See 25 January 1904.
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July 2, 1903: The lead article in the Budapest performing arts weekly Zenevilág is about Béla Bartók (22), written by Pongrác Kacsóh. “...the purpose...of these lines is to draw the attention of the educated and music-loving Hungarian public to the phenomenal young genius...who...is destined to play a great and brilliant role in the history of Hungarian music.”
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September 8, 1903: Béla Bartók (22) writes to his mother, “For my own part, all my life, in every sphere, always and in every way, I shall have one objective: the good of Hungary and the Hungarian nation.” (Schneider, 33)
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September 30, 1903: Béla Bartók (22) arrives in Munich, his first trip abroad after graduation from the Budapest Academy of Music.
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November 4, 1903: Béla Bartók (22) gives a solo recital in Vienna.
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November 25, 1903: Béla Bartók (22) plays the premiere of his own Scherzo for piano in Budapest.
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December 14, 1903: Béla Bartók (22) gives his solo recital debut in Berlin before a large audience. It is generally successful.
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January 13, 1904: Kossuth, a symphonic poem by Béla Bartók (22), is performed for the first time, in Budapest. Some members of the orchestra refuse to perform the work as the eighth section parodies the Austrian national anthem. Nevertheless, the piece is a smashing success.
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January 22, 1904: Béla Bartók (22) gives a solo recital in Pressburg (Bratislava).
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January 25, 1904: Béla Bartók’s (22) Violin Sonata in e minor is performed completely for the first time, in Budapest. The composer plays the accompaniment. See 8 June 1903.
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February 18, 1904: Béla Bartók (22) gives his first concert in Britain, in Manchester. He plays the Spanish Rhapsody of Franz Liszt (†17) and the Variations on a Theme by Handel of Robert Volkmann. His symphonic poem Kossuth is also performed. The critics are generally positive.
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February 29, 1904: The scherzo movement to Béla Bartók’s (22) Symphony in Eb is performed for the first time, in Budapest.
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November 21, 1904: The Piano Quintet of Béla Bartók (23) is performed for the first time, in Ehrbar Hall, Vienna.
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December 26, 1904: Béla Bartók (23) writes to his sister that he is determined to “collect the finest examples of Hungarian folksongs and raise them to the level of works of art with the best possible piano accompaniment.”
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March 18, 1905: Béla Bartók (23) meets Zoltán Kodály (22) for the first time at the home of Emma Gruber (the future Mrs. Kodály) in Budapest.
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April 30, 1905: Béla Bartók (24) applies for state aid to collect folksongs in the Székely region of Hungary. It is granted.
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May 24, 1905: Béla Bartók (24) learns that he has received a grant of 1,000 kronen for field work in the Székely district.
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May 25, 1905: The Rhapsody for piano no.1 by Béla Bartók (24) is performed for the first time, by the composer, in Ujpest. See 15 November 1909.
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August 3, 1905: Béla Bartók (24) performs before a jury for the Rubinstein Prize in Paris. He will receive no recognition.
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August 8, 1905: The entries of Béla Bartók (24) in the composition division of the Rubinstein Prize in Paris are rejected.
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November 29, 1905: Three movements of Béla Bartók’s (24) Suite no.1 for orchestra op.3 are performed for the first time, in Vienna. See 1 March 1909.
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December 19, 1906: Béla Bartók (25) and Zoltán Kodály (23) publish Hungarian Folk Songs with piano accompaniment.
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January 19, 1907: Béla Bartók (25) enters upon duties as professor of piano at the Ferenc Liszt Academy of Music in Budapest.
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June 28, 1907: Béla Bartók (26) begins a tour of Transylvania collecting folk songs.
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February 5, 1908: Béla Bartók (26) finishes his Violin Concerto and sends the score to its dedicatee, his lover, the violinist Stefi Geyer. See 13 February 1908 and 30 May 1958.
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February 13, 1908: After six months in hopeless love, Béla Bartók (26) ends his relationship with the 19-year-old violin prodigy Stefi Geyer, in Budapest.
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June 29, 1908: Fourteen Bagatelles op.6 for piano by Béla Bartók (27) are performed for the first time, in the Vienna piano class of Ferruccio Busoni (42). See 12 March 1910.
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January 2, 1909: The second movement of the Suite no.2 for orchestra by Béla Bartók (27) is performed for the first time, in Berlin, conducted by the composer. It is the only time he conducts professionally. See 22 November 1909.
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March 1, 1909: Suite no.1 for orchestra op.3 by Béla Bartók (27) is given its first complete performance, in Budapest. See 29 November 1905.
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July 19, 1909: Béla Bartók (28) begins another tour of Transylvania collecting folk songs.
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November 16, 1909: Béla Bartók (28) marries his 16-year-old student Márta Ziegler in a civil ceremony in Budapest. She is the daughter of the Inspector-General of Police for Budapest.
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November 22, 1909: Suite no.2 for orchestra op.4 by Béla Bartók (28) is given its first complete performance, in Budapest. See 2 January 1909.
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March 12, 1910: Two Romanian Dances op.8a for piano by Béla Bartók (28) are performed for the first time, by the composer, in Paris. Also on the program, movements 2 and 3 of the Sonata for cello and piano op.4 by Zoltán Kodály (27) are performed for the first time, Béla Bartók (28) at the piano. Bartók’s Fourteen Bagatelles are also given their first public performance. It is a concert of all-Hungarian music unprecedented in the French capital. See 29 June 1908 and 17 March 1910.
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March 19, 1910: At his first “composer’s evening”, in Budapest, Béla Bartók’s (28) String Quartet no.1 is heard for the first time. This concert and the all-Kodály evening two days ago will be known as “the double birthday of modern Hungarian music.”
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February 12, 1911: Two works for orchestra by Béla Bartók (29) are performed for the first time, in Budapest: a Romanian Dance, and the first of the Two Portraits . See 20 April 1916.
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May 11, 1911: Béla Bartók’s (30) collection of Romanian folk songs of the Bihar district is accepted for publication by the Romanian Academy of Sciences.
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May 13, 1911: Four Old Hungarian Folk-songs for male chorus by Béla Bartók (30) are performed for the first time, in Szeged.
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May 18, 1911: Four Dirges and Three Burlesques for piano by Béla Bartók (30) are performed for the first time, in Budapest.
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October 10, 1911: Ferruccio Busoni (45) telegrams Béla Bartók (30), informing him that he is withdrawing from the inaugural concert of the New Hungarian Music Society (UMZE). This withdrawal will cause Bartók and the other organizers to turn from modern works to older music.
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November 27, 1911: The New Hungarian Music Society (UMZE), founded by several Hungarian musicians including Béla Bartók (30) and Zoltán Kodály (28), gives an inaugural performance in the Royal Hall, Budapest. Within a year, the society will fail, largely due to public indifference.
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December 27, 1912: The Ballets Russes performs in Budapest. Due to the great excitement surrounding their visit, the Budapest Opera House will commission Béla Bartók (31) to compose a ballet.
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February 1, 1913: Béla Bartók’s (31) piano work Allegro barbaro is performed probably for the first time, in Kecskemét, 80 km south of Budapest.
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February 26, 1913: Two Pictures for orchestra op.10 by Béla Bartók (31) is performed for the first time, in Budapest.
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March 17, 1913: Béla Bartók (31) completes almost two weeks of collecting Romanian folk music in the Maramures district of Transylvania. He has discovered the “long song” of “highly elaborate and extended vocal lines,” a connection to Asian music. Bartók will go to Algeria to hear Arab music and prove his theory.
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June 3, 1913: Béla Bartók (32) and his wife board ship in Marseille making for Algeria where he will study North African folk music.
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July 6, 1913: After a month collecting folk music in Algeria, serious illness and considerable weight loss, Béla Bartók (32) returns with his wife to Marseille. He plans to return next year, but international events will intervene.
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April 20, 1916: The first complete performance of the Two Portraits for orchestra op.5 by Béla Bartók (35) takes place in Budapest. See 12 February 1911.
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January 5, 1917: Settings of Four Slovak Folk Songs for chorus and piano, by Béla Bartók (35), are performed for the first time, in Budapest.
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May 12, 1917: The Wooden Prince, a ballet by Béla Bartók (36) to a scenario by Balázs, is performed for the first time, at the Budapest Opera House. To the surprise of the composer, the ballet is a great success, owing largely to the considerable efforts of the conductor, Egisto Tango.
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December 15, 1917: Settings of Five Slovak Folk Songs for male chorus, by Béla Bartók (36), are performed for the first time, in Vienna.
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January 12, 1918: Zoltán Kodály’s (35) orchestral work Old Hungarian Soldier’s Song is performed for the first time, in Vienna along with the premiere of Five Slovak Folksongs for male chorus and three of the Eight Hungarian Folksongs for voice and piano by Béla Bartók (36).
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February 11, 1918: Romanian Folk Dances for orchestra by Béla Bartók (36) are performed for the first time, in Budapest.
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March 3, 1918: The Second String Quartet of Béla Bartók (36) is performed for the first time, in Budapest.
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May 24, 1918: Duke Bluebeard’s Castle op.11, an opera by Béla Bartók (37) to words of Balázs, is performed for the first time, at the Budapest Opera House. The press is generally favorable.
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June 4, 1918: Béla Bartók (37) signs a lucrative contract with Universal Edition.
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October 8, 1918: Béla Bartók (37) contracts the Spanish influenza, now a worldwide epidemic. He is confined to his bed in Budapest.
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April 21, 1919: Several works by Béla Bartók (38) are performed for the first time, in Budapest, the composer at the keyboard: Suite for Piano op.14, Five Songs op.16 and Three Studies op.18.
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January 16, 1920: Romanian Folk Dances for piano by Béla Bartók (38) is performed for the first time, in Cluj.
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April 16, 1920: Sonatina for piano by Béla Bartók (39) is performed for the first time, in Bratislava.
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May 22, 1920: Béla Bartók (39) and his family move into a new residence in the upper floor of a home owned by József Lukács in Buda.
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May 26, 1920: The Budapest publication Declaration, publishes Béla Bartók’s (39) response to a series of published attacks on him in the press.
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May 28, 1920: The Hungarian Geographical Society publishes a statement of support for Béla Bartók (39), essentially bringing the affair to an end.
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August 31, 1920: Béla Bartók’s (39) music is heard in Britain for the first time in six years, at a Promenade concert conducted by Henry Wood.
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February 27, 1921: The seventh of Béla Bartók’s (39) Eight Improvisations on Hungarian Peasant Songs op.20 for piano is performed for the first time, in Budapest by the composer. See 18 January 1922.
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January 9, 1922: The Four Orchestral Pieces op.12 by Béla Bartók (40) are performed for the first time, in Budapest.
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January 18, 1922: Eight Improvisations on Hungarian Peasant Songs op.20 by Béla Bartók (40) is performed completely for the first time, in Budapest. See 27 February 1921.
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February 8, 1922: Violin Sonata no.1 by Béla Bartók (40) is performed for the first time, in Vienna.
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March 10, 1922: Béla Bartók (40) arrives in Britain for three weeks of highly successful concerts.
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May 19, 1922: Béla Bartók (41) returns home to Budapest after ten weeks of concertizing in western Europe.
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October 31, 1922: Romanian Christmas Carols for piano by Béla Bartók (41) is performed for the first time, in Cluj.
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February 7, 1923: Violin Sonata no.2 by Béla Bartók (41) is performed for the first time, in Berlin, the composer at the piano.
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May 7, 1923: Béla Bartók (42) and Oxford University Press agree to terms for the publication of his Hungarian Folk Music .
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August 28, 1923: Shortly after a divorce from his first wife Márta, Béla Bartók (42) marries Ditta Pásztory, a young student of his from the Budapest Academy of Music.
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November 19, 1923: For the fiftieth anniversary of the union of Pest, Buda, and Obuda into Budapest, two works by the leading Hungarian composers are performed for the first time: Dance Suite for orchestra by Béla Bartók (42) and Psalmus Hungaricus op.13 for tenor, chorus, orchestra, and organ by Zoltán Kodály (40) to words of Kecskeméti Vég after the Psalms.
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December 10, 1923: The first of the Two Movements for Piano by Henry Cowell (26) is performed for the first time, in Aeolian Hall, London by the composer. Reviews of the recital go from bad to worse. While in London, Cowell stays at the home of the soprano Lady Dorothy Mayer. While practicing in the early morning, another guest appears in his bathrobe, intrigued by the sounds he hears. It is Béla Bartók (42). When Cowell tells him of his disappointment in Paris, Bartók tells him to go back to Paris and he will organize a concert which would attract important people. He will do so.
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January 10, 1925: While Béla Bartók (42) is in Prague to perform some of his works, he meets Leos Janácek (70) for the first time. They spend a good part of the evening discussing Slovak folksongs.
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April 28, 1926: In spite of warnings to him by Béla Bartók (45), Henry Cowell (29) performs in the municipal auditorium in Budapest. Reactions are not favorable.
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November 27, 1926: The Miraculous Mandarin op.19, a pantomime by Béla Bartók (45) to a scenario by Lengyel, is performed for the first time, in the Cologne Stadttheater. At the conclusion, the chorus of abuse from the audience is so great that the safety curtain is lowered. The press is savage.
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November 28, 1926: Mayor Konrad Adenauer of Cologne informs opera conductor Jenö Szenkár that The Miraculous Mandarin by Béla Bartók (45) must not be performed again in the city. It is far too scandalous. Szenkár considers resignation but the composer talks him out of it.
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December 8, 1926: Béla Bartók (45) premieres some of his own works in a broadcast originating at the Academy of Music in Budapest: Piano Sonata, Village Scenes for voice and piano, nos. 1, 4 and 5 from Out of Doors and eight of the Nine Little Pieces.
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February 1, 1927: Three Village Scenes for female chorus and orchestra by Béla Bartók (45) is performed for the first time, in New York.
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March 9, 1927: Three Rondos on Slovak Folk Tunes for piano by Béla Bartók (45) are performed for the first time, over Budapest Radio by the composer.
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April 1, 1927: Scenes from The Miraculous Mandarin for orchestra by Béla Bartók (46) are performed for the first time, in Cincinnati. These will be worked into an orchestral suite by Bartók. See 15 October 1928.
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July 1, 1927: Piano Concerto no.1 by Béla Bartók (46) is performed for the first time, in Frankfurt-am-Main, the composer at the keyboard.
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July 16, 1927: At its first performance before an international audience, at the Baden-Baden Festival, Alban Berg’s (42) Lyric Suite is received so positively that the audience demands an encore of the entire work. Among the listeners is Béla Bartók (46).
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November 29, 1927: Three Rondos on Folk Tunes for piano by Béla Bartók (46) are performed for the first time, in Budapest.
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December 11, 1927: Béla Bartók (46) sails from Cherbourg for his first tour of the United States.
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December 18, 1927: Béla Bartók (46) arrives in New York from Cherbourg for a concert tour.
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December 22, 1927: Tonight is the first night of Béla Bartók’s (47) American concert tour. However, when the New York Philharmonic proves unable to negotiate his Piano Concerto no.1, Bartók has to substitute his Rhapsody op.1 at the last minute.
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February 5, 1928: Amy Beach (60) meets Béla Bartók (46) in New York. She finds his Violin Sonata “hideous.”
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June 22, 1928: Béla Bartók (48) completes his third volume of collected Slovak folk songs.
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October 15, 1928: A suite from Béla Bartók’s (47) pantomime The Miraculous Mandarin is performed for the first time, in Budapest. See 27 November 1926 and 1 April 1927.
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November 19, 1928: The Second Rhapsody for violin and piano by Béla Bartók (47) is performed for the first time, in Amsterdam. See 22 November 1929.
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December 30, 1928: String Quartet no.3 by Béla Bartók (47) is performed for the first time, in Philadelphia.
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January 9, 1929: Béla Bartók (47) begins a tour of Russia with a concert in Kharkov. He will also perform in Odessa, Leningrad, and Moscow.
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February 22, 1929: String Quartet no.4 by Béla Bartók (47) is performed for the first time, in London.
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March 4, 1929: The Rhapsody no.1 for violin and piano by Béla Bartók (47) is performed for the first time, in London, the composer at the keyboard.
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November 1, 1929: Rhapsody no.1 for violin and orchestra by Béla Bartók (48) is performed for the first time, in Königsberg.
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November 22, 1929: Rhapsody no.2 for violin and orchestra by Béla Bartók (48) is performed for the first time, in Budapest. See 19 November 1928.
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January 6, 1930: Four of the Twenty Hungarian Folksongs for voice and piano by Béla Bartók (48) are performed for the first time, in London.
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January 30, 1930: Twenty Hungarian Folksongs for voice and piano by Béla Bartók (48) are performed for the first time, in Budapest, the composer at the piano.
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January 19, 1931: Béla Bartók (49) begins a three-week concert tour of Spain and Portugal.
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February 23, 1931: A ceremony takes place in Budapest in which President Horthy is to present the Corvin Wreath, Hungary’s highest cultural award, to several Hungarian musicians including Béla Bartók (49). Bartók refuses to attend, protesting official obstruction to the Budapest staging of The Miraculous Mandarin .
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March 25, 1931: For his fiftieth birthday, the French consulate in Budapest awards Béla Bartók the Legion of Honor. The anniversary is officially ignored by the Hungarian government.
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November 23, 1931: An orchestral suite from Béla Bartók’s (50) ballet The Wooden Prince is performed for the first time, in Budapest. See 12 May 1917.
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January 20, 1932: Some of the 44 Duos for two violins by Béla Bartók (50) are performed for the first time, in Budapest.
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January 24, 1932: Transylvanian Dances for orchestra by Béla Bartók (50) is performed for the first time, in Budapest. Also premiered are four movements from Bartók’s Hungarian Sketches for orchestra. See 26 November 1934.
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March 29, 1932: Béla Bartók (51) attends the Cairo Conference of Arab Folk Music convening today through 3 April.
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December 3, 1932: Béla Bartók (51) is awarded the Romanian Order of the Knight’s Cross.
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January 23, 1933: Piano Concerto no.2 by Béla Bartók (51) is performed for the first time, in Frankfurt-am-Main the composer at the piano. This is Bartók’s last appearance in Germany.
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October 23, 1933: New works by Hungary’s two leading composers are performed for the first time, in Budapest: Five Hungarian Folksongs, set for solo voice and orchestra by Béla Bartók (52), and Dances of Galánta for orchestra by Zoltán Kodály (50).
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March 18, 1934: Hungarian Peasant Songs for orchestra by Béla Bartók (52) are performed for the first time, in Szombathely.
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April 4, 1934: Amidst rumors that he is Jewish, and attacks by the Nazis, Béla Bartók’s (52) Vienna publisher, Universal Edition, writes to the composer requesting he send a copy of his baptismal certificate and documents establishing his ethnic origin. See 28 April 1934.
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April 28, 1934: Béla Bartók (53) writes to his Vienna publisher Universal Edition refusing to comply with their request of 4 April.
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May 25, 1934: Cantata profana (the nine enchanted stags) for tenor, baritone, double chorus, and orchestra by Béla Bartók (53) to an anonymous Romanian text (tr. Bartók), is performed for the first time, over the airwaves of the BBC originating in London.
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June 5, 1934: Béla Bartók (53), in Budapest, receives a telegram from the Library of Congress in Washington, commissioning a string quartet. He immediately accepts.
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November 26, 1934: Hungarian Sketches for orchestra by Béla Bartók (53) is performed completely for the first time, in Budapest. See 24 January 1932.
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April 8, 1935: String Quartet no.5 by Béla Bartók (54) is performed for the first time, in the Library of Congress, Washington.
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May 16, 1935: Béla Bartók (54) is elected a Corresponding Member of the Hungarian Academy of Science.
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December 29, 1935: Béla Bartók is awarded the Greguss Prize by the Kisfaludy Society, a largely aristocratic and conservative literary society. See 3 January 1936.
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January 3, 1936: Béla Bartók’s (54) refusal of the Greguss Prize is published in People’s Word . “…I do not wish to accept the Greguss Medal, neither at this time, nor in the future, neither during my lifetime, nor after my death.” (Schneider, 201) He objects to the Kisfaludy Society’s musical conservatism and anti-modernism.
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February 3, 1936: Béla Bartók (54) is inaugurated into the Hungarian Academy of Sciences.
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May 11, 1936: Some of the Hungarian Folksongs for chorus by Béla Bartók (55) are performed for the first time, in Kecskemét.
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June 8, 1936: The Committee for Literature and Art of the League of Nations meets in Budapest. A government reception is held in the City Park, but several member artists, including Thomas Mann and Béla Bartók (55) refuse to attend and “sit at the same table as the Minister of Culture, Bálint Hóman.” Instead, the two meet privately at the house of Lajos Hatvany.
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June 23, 1936: In Basel, Paul Sacher offers a commission to Béla Bartók (55) for a work for strings or chamber orchestra. It will be the Music for Strings, Percussion and Celesta. See 21 January 1937.
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December 6, 1936: Petite Suite for piano by Béla Bartók (55) is performed for the first time, in Békéscsaba.
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January 21, 1937: Music for Strings, Percussion and Celesta by Béla Bartók (55) is performed for the first time, in Basel. It is a great success, the audience requiring the last movement to be repeated.
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February 9, 1937: Béla Bartók (55) gives the premiere of 27 of the numbers from Mikrokosmos in London.
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April 18, 1937: From Olden Times, for male chorus by Béla Bartók (56) to traditional Hungarian words arranged by the composer, is performed for the first time, in Kecskemét.
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May 7, 1937: 18 of the 27 Choruses for two or three part children’s or female chorus by Béla Bartók (56) are performed for the first time, in Budapest. Bartók plays some of Mikrokosmos in his first Budapest appearance in eight years.
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September 23, 1937: Béla Bartók (56) writes to Hungarian Radio to forbid any performing he did for them to be broadcast over German or Italian radio.
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January 16, 1938: Béla Bartók’s (56) Sonata for two pianos and percussion is performed for the first time, in Basel. The piano parts are played by the composer and his wife, Ditta Pásztory, in her performing debut.
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May 5, 1938: A number of leading Hungarian artists and scientists publicly declare their opposition to the anti-Semitic legislation currently being written. Among them are Béla Bartók (57) and Zoltán Kodály (55).
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January 9, 1939: Movements one and three of Contrasts for violin, clarinet, and piano by Béla Bartók (57) are performed for the first time, in New York by Joseph Szigeti, Benny Goodman, and Endre Petri. See 4 February 1941.
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March 23, 1939: Béla Bartók’s (57) Violin Concerto (no.2) is performed for the first time, in Amsterdam. The press is ecstatic.
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November 2, 1939: Béla Bartók (58) completes Mikrokosmos in Budapest.
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January 29, 1940: Four of the Seven Pieces from Mikrokosmos for two pianos by Béla Bartók (58) are performed for the first time, in Budapest.
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April 3, 1940: Béla Bartók (59) sails from Naples for a seven-week tour of the United States. While there he will arrange his planned move with his wife to the US for the duration of the war.
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April 22, 1940: Béla Bartók (59) arrives at Harvard University for the first time and lectures on folk music research.
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May 18, 1940: Béla Bartók (59) sails from New York to return to Hungary.
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June 11, 1940: In a concert by the Basler Kammerorchester in the Neuer Casino-Saal, Basel, Béla Bartók’s (59) Divertimento for Strings is performed for the first time, along with the premiere of Symphonic Piece for string orchestra by Ernst Krenek (39).
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October 8, 1940: Béla Bartók (59) and his wife give their farewell performance at the Budapest Academy of Music, a few days before they leave Hungary.
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October 12, 1940: Béla Bartók (59) and his wife depart Budapest making for Lisbon and America. He will never see Hungary again.
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October 20, 1940: After having arrived at 02:00 and only a few hours sleep, Béla Bartók (59) and his wife, without luggage, board ship in Lisbon for the United States.
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October 29, 1940: Béla Bartók (59) and his wife arrive in New York from Europe.
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November 3, 1940: Béla Bartók (59) and his wife Ditta Pásztory give their first recital since arriving in the United States, in Town Hall, New York.
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November 25, 1940: Columbia University confers an honorary doctorate on Béla Bartók (59).
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December 7, 1940: Béla Bartók (59) moves into a furnished apartment in Forest Hills, New York.
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January 20, 1941: String Quartet no.6 by Béla Bartók (59) is performed for the first time, in New York.
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February 4, 1941: The first complete, public performance of Contrasts for violin, clarinet, and piano by Béla Bartók (59) takes place in Boston. A recording was made last April. See 9 January 1939.
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February 5, 1941: Over three months after their arrival, all the belongings of Béla Bartók (59) and his wife arrive in New York from Lisbon. The Bartók’s are currently in Boston.
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March 27, 1941: Béla Bartók (60) begins transcribing the recordings of Serbo-Croatian folk music held in the Milman Parry Collection of Harvard University. He is doing his work in New York at Columbia University.
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November 21, 1941: Béla Bartók (60) gives his last solo recital, in Chicago.
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April 20, 1942: Béla Bartók (61) runs into his son Péter, by chance in a Bronx subway station. Péter left Hungary in December but Bartók had no idea when he would arrive in the US since that information was censored from the cable.
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November 14, 1942: Béla Bartók’s (61) Concerto for two pianos, percussion, and orchestra, an arrangement of his Sonata for two pianos and percussion, is performed for the first time, in London.
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January 21, 1943: Béla Bartók (61) gives his last public performance, in the United States premiere of his Concerto for two pianos, percussion, and orchestra with his wife and the New York Philharmonic under Fritz Reiner.
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November 26, 1944: Sonata for solo violin by Béla Bartók (63) is performed for the first time, in New York.
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December 1, 1944: Concerto for Orchestra by Béla Bartók (63) is performed for the first time, in Boston. It is an immediate hit with American audiences.
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March 30, 1945: Béla Bartók (64) completes a third volume of Rumanian Folk Music .
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July 3, 1945: Béla Bartók (64) travels from Montreal across the border into the United States in order to gain an official immigrant status.
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September 21, 1945: At Saranac Lake, New York, where he has been resting during his constant battle with leukemia and working on his Third Piano Concerto, Béla Bartók’s (64) temperature drops precipitously. His Hungarian doctor arranges for him to be brought to the West Side Hospital in New York.
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September 26, 1945: Just before noon. Béla Bartók dies of leukemia at West Side Hospital, New York, New York, USA, aged 64 years, six months, and one day. His earthly remains will be buried in Ferncliff Cemetery, Hartsdale, New York.
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September 28, 1945: A funeral service in memory of Béla Bartók takes place in the Unitarian chapel on West Side Avenue in New York. His mortal remains are then buried in Ferncliff Cemetery in Hartsdale, New York. They will be returned to Hungary in 1988.
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February 8, 1946: Piano Concerto no.3 by Béla Bartók (†0), left unfinished at his death, is performed for the first time, in Philadelphia. The last 17 bars were completed by Tibor Serly.
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February 3, 1949: Hungarian composer András Mihály delivers the lecture “Béla Bartók (†3) and the Generation Coming After Him.” It is an attempt to fit Bartók into the party line following the Soviet musical disturbances of February 1948.
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December 2, 1949: Viola Concerto by Béla Bartók (†4), reconstructed and orchestrated by Tibor Serly, is performed for the first time, in Minneapolis.
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January 1, 1955: Hungarian Radio begins a planned cycle of all of the piano music of Béla Bartók (†9), some of it banned over the last five years. Listeners today hear Out of Doors suite, previously banned.
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October 10, 1956: A group of chamber musicians, including György Kurtág (30), gives a concert in Budapest of several previously banned works by Béla Bartók (†11).
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May 30, 1958: Violin Concerto “no.1” by Béla Bartók (†12) is performed for the first time, in Basel, 50 years after it was composed.
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September 28, 1961: Scherzo (Burlesque) op.2 for piano and orchestra by Béla Bartók (†16) is performed for the first time, in Budapest, 57 years after it was composed.
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August 16, 1965: Two Romanian Folksongs for female chorus by Béla Bartók (†19) are performed for the first time, in Györ, Hungary 50 years after they were composed.
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June 22, 1988: At the request of two sons of Béla Bartók (†42), the composer’s mortal remains are exhumed from a cemetery in Hartsdale, New York, for transport to Hungary.
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July 7, 1988: After a journey through six countries from New York, the earthly remains of Béla Bartók (†42) are reinterred in Budapest in a state ceremony.