Rupert Christiansen

Folk Hero

Béla Bartók

By

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Interviewing the great Hungarian conductor Georg Solti many years ago, I remember asking him to nominate the person who had meant most to him in the course of his long and distinguished career. The question was banal enough, but he responded to it with impassioned alacrity, jabbing his finger in the air. ‘Bartók! Because he was a good man!’ There was tremendous emphasis on the adjective and I am glad to see it endorsed by David Cooper’s authoritative and meticulous new study of the composer’s life and works, based on decades of research and reflection and surely destined to rank as a standard for many years to come.

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