Epilogue East: Bartók's Difficult Truths and the Hungarian Revolution of 1956

Danielle Fosler-Lussier

in Music Divided

Published by University of California Press

Published in print May 2007 | ISBN: 9780520249653
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520933392 | DOI:
Epilogue East: Bartók's Difficult Truths and the Hungarian Revolution of 1956

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As the 1950s wore on, Hungarian listeners came to associate Bartók's most difficult music with the idea of political freedom. This was a striking rehabilitation of modernism which challenged the musical values asserted by Eastern European governments; it is equally striking that these meanings still surface when the music is heard. In 1996, a “Festival of Mandarins” was held in Budapest, which, within a few short weeks, presented sixteen different productions of Bartók's ballet The Miraculous Mandarin from all over the world. The impetus behind this unusual event was not only musical; conceived in the 1980s, the festival provided a way of compensating for the history of the work's suppression by Hungary's own government and a means of celebrating new social freedoms through the return of the suppressed ballet.

Keywords: Eastern Europe; Bartók; political freedom; Miraculous Mandarin; ballet; Budapest; Hungary

Chapter.  3086 words. 

Subjects: Musicology and Music History

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