Music Divided: Bartók's Legacy in Cold War Culture
Fiore, Eliana, Strings
Music Divided: Bartók's Legacy in Cold War Culture. By Danielle Fosler-Lussier. University of California Press, $34.95. www.ucpress.edu
Music Divided reveals Bartók's music in its political context post-WWII
MUSIC DIVIDED: BARTÓK'S LEGACY IN COLD WAR CULTURE is a fascinating analysis analysis of how political pressures in Eastern Europe deeply affected thelpopularity of Béla Bartók's music in the years immediately following World War II. Author and Ohio State University assistant processor Danielle Fosler-Lussier has crafted a detailed account of how the Soviet Union's political and cultural control over Hungary continued to influence the access to and reception of Bartdk's work after his death in 1945. This extensively researched publication gives the reader a comprehensive look into the government's use of radio propaganda to influence the public's perception of enemy nations, the struggle over "the personal" and "art for art's sake" as an endangered artistic principle, and the dangerous political repercussions of composing modern music.
The description of the battle between proponents of 12-tone serialism and tonal modernists (Bartók's music was considered a part of the latter camp) is particularly interesting in political terms, since those making 12-tone music were considered politically "safe," while those composing tonal music were considered a threat and their music deemed unpatriotic. …