Bartók, Béla. (1881–1945)
Important Letter about the Collection of Folk Music
Typed letter signed ("Béla Bartók"), in Hungarian, 1 page, folio (13½ x 8¼ in.), Budapest, September 14, 1937. To the literature historian and general secretary of the Hungarian Academy of Science, Géza Voinovich (1877-1952) about the publication of the Hungarian folk songs collected by Bartók and Kodály: "Since September 1924 the work for printing [the collection] is on the way. During that time I have revised the transcript of all the phonograph cylinders - 1062 cylinders - at the same time Kodály selected from the existing literature any related material….The material to be published comprises circa 12 thousand melodies, and the publication will consist of about 4000 pages 4to. In three years it will be possible to give the entire material to print…."
In September 1937 the Hungarian Academy of Science planned to request financial support for the publication of the Bartók-Kodály collection of folk songs from the Secretary of Cultural Affairs. For that purpose, Voinovich had asked Bartók for information, which this letter provides. The subsidies, however, were not granted and the "Corpus musicae popularis Hungaricae" wasn't published until the 1950s. Some underlining in pencil by the recipient. Some repairs to margins and middle fold. This letter is published and commented by Demeny, #272.
Beginning in 1905 Bartok turned his attention to collecting and cataloging the folk music of his native Hungary. With the help of his friend and fellow Hungarian, composer Zoltan Kodaly, Bartok produced a series of commentaries, anthologies, and arrangements of the folk music that he had collected.