In Bartók, I not only love the music, I profoundly admire the man, and what I admire in him is the intransigence. That he opposed the Nazis and the sympathies of his own governement for the Nazis, that he broke off from his German publisher, and that upon learning that the works of Schoenberg and Milhaud were included in the infamous Nazi exhibition of “degenerate art” in 1936, he asked that his own scores be included with those of the Jewish composers (I wasn’t sure that this anecdote was true, but I found an online source that confirmed it, Michael Chanan’s book “From Handel to Hendrix: The Compmoser in th Public Sphere”). That when he came to New York, although reduced to dire straights, he refused to accept the financial help from his friends, seeing it as condescending alms, and accepted only commissions. It’s for the same reasons that I not only like the music-making of Toscanini, but am profoundly admirative of his political attitudes throughout his life, even if they came hand-to-hand with a total inability to control his own volcanic temper and a certain self-indulgence at letting it erupt. Because I am prone to being a very transigent person (at least I think I am – my ex-wives would probably have another say on this), I have great admiration for intransigent people.
I have a huge collection of Bartók CDs and scores, have heard and reviewed quite a lot though not nearly enough, which I will slowly import on this website.
String Quartet No. 3
Kronos Quartet, January 1987, in “White Man Sleeps” (with works of Kevin Volans, Charles Ives, Jon Hassell, Thomas Oboe Lee, Ornette Coleman, Ben Johnston). Elektra Nonesuch 979 163-2 (1987) or 7559-79163-2