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.