Celebrating the life and work of Béla Bartók in Brussels

16.09.2015 | Culture , European Parliament
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Celebrating the life and work of Béla Bartók in Brussels

Commemorating seventy years since the artist’s death, an exhibition celebrating the life and work of composer Béla Bartók was opened in Brussels. The exhibition showcasing the work of the renowned Hungarian artist was organised by RMDSZ MEP Csaba Sógor and sponsored by the European People's Party. The opening ceremony took place at the European Parliament, on the 15th of September.

Curators of the exhibition Viola Biró and Flóra Monozlai selected the pieces from the Bartók Archives focusing on two major aspects: the folkloric roots, based on which the composer created a new style, and his internationally acknowledged role in modernizing music. The latter put Bartok's name on the list of innovative composers along with Arnold Schoenberg and Igor Stravinsky.


In his speech at the opening ceremony MEP Csaba Sógor highlighted the composter’s peacemaking intentions. He recalled that during his collecting work in 1922 in Belényes he played Beethoven, Scarlatti, Brahms, Chopin and pieces from his own work to Hungarians and Romanians alike in order to ease the pain resulting from the tragedies of the first world war. The MEP stated that the composer's invaluable work is mostly due to the fact that he managed to always stay Hungarian and European at the same time. As an explanation he added: "My universal guideline is the idea of brotherhood of peoples, a brotherhood despite all wars and conflicts."(Bartók to Octavian Beu, January 10, 1931)


With his work and research Bartók raised folkloric music to a high cultural standard. His dissonant compositions - although they mirrored the society of his own time -are still valid today. This was illustrated at the opening ceremony with a poem by Gyula Illyés written at the 10th anniversary of Bartók's death, which reflects upon this dissonance.


The Balassi Institute of Brussels is also commemorating the jubilee of Bartók Béla’s death: concerts and cultural events will be held between the 17th of September and the 13th of October 2015 in the memory of the composer.