Béla Bartók

David Cooper

View Inside Price: $40.00


June 9, 2015
456 pages, 6 1/8 x 9 1/4
16 b/w illus.
ISBN: 9780300148770
Cloth

The definitive account of the life and music of Hungary’s greatest twentieth-century composer

This deeply researched biography of Béla Bartók (1881–1945) provides a more comprehensive view of the innovative Hungarian musician than ever before. David Cooper traces Bartók’s international career as an ardent ethno-musicologist and composer, teacher, and pianist, while also providing a detailed discussion of most of his works. Further, the author explores how Europe’s political and cultural tumult affected Bartók’s work, travel, and reluctant emigration to the safety of America in his final years.
 
Cooper illuminates Bartók’s personal life and relationships, while also expanding what is known about the influence of other musicians—Richard Strauss, Zoltán Kodály, and Yehudi Menuhin, among many others. The author also looks closely at some of the composer’s actions and behaviors which may have been manifestations of Asperger syndrome. The book, in short, is a consummate biography of an internationally admired musician.

David Cooper is professor of music and technology, and dean of the Faculty of Performance, Visual Arts and Communications, University of Leeds. His publications include Béla Bartók: Concerto for Orchestra and numerous chapters and articles on aspects of Bartók’s life and works. The author lives in Liversedge, UK.

'Béla Bartók was without a doubt one of the most important composers of the twentieth century. Outside of his native country Hungary, there have been relatively few books devoted to his life and works. David Cooper's comprehensive study of Bartók?'s ?oeuvre is a most welcome addition to the canon. Cooper justly concentrates on the music, introducing and analysing each and every composition, starting with the very early works. He also provides the appropriate historical background that is absolutely necessary to comprehend the man and his music. Bartók's life is a rare example of artistic progress and of uncompromising integrity. He is one of the giants in the history of music, a fact that this book will duly confirm.' - Sir Andras Schiff

‘David Cooper’s authoritative and meticulous new study of the composer’s life and works, based on decades of research and reflection, [is] surely destined to rank as a standard for many years to come.’—Rupert Christiansen, Literary Review.

‘In this weighty tome, David Cooper of Leeds University digs into Bartok’s life, interlacing his discussion of the compositions with wider discussions of politics and culture. The level of research is astonishing… a big chunk of it is filled with detailed analyses of Bartok’s compositions, along with dozens of musical illustrations.’—The Economist.

‘…paints a fascinating music-historical canvas, and vividly conveys the sheer bloody heroism of his subject’—Michael Church, BBC Music.
 

‘Cooper’s book combines biography with musical analysis, which is illuminating… He calls on an unprecedented range of sources, and new details emerge’—Ivan Hewett, the Daily Telegraph.
 

‘David Cooper’s new biography seeks both to enrich and complicate… The portrait that emerges is of no mindless patriot, celebrating his nation in primary-coloured musical rhetoric, but of a man whose instincts and allegiances were as plural as his heritage’—Alexandra Coghlan, Spectator.
 

‘This excellent study will aid a fuller appreciation of both Bartok the man and one of the major musical forces of the 20th century.’—Rob Cowan, Gramophone.
 

‘…this book stands as a valuable and useful resource.’—Stephen Greenbank, Music Web.
 

‘This is the most impressive musical biography of the decade.’—The National.
 

‘Cooper clearly loves his subject, and has many insights to impart.’—Brenden G. Carroll, Classical Music.
 

“Musicians and scholars will want to devour this new contribution to Bartók research.”—Library Journal

“As a work of scholarship, Cooper’s biography is excellent: exhaustive, detailed, informed by a deep and nuanced understanding of Bartók’s music.”—Sudip Bose, The Washington Post

'Brings together his knowledge of Bartok and his works in a single volume. The result is an impressive achievement… The research has been exhaustive, and again and again one feels like applauding the wealth of detail.’—Kenneth Chalmers, Opera, 
 

“Cooper is to be applauded for balancing the many facets of Bartók’s life to give us a well-rounded account.”—George B. Stauffer, The Weekly Standard

“Cooper’s latest book provides an up-to-date and diligently researched account of Bartók’s . . . life. It is an engaging introduction to the composer that will be a welcome addition to every music scholar’s library.”—Tysen Dauer, Notes