This introductory chapter explains the objective of this volume, which is to examine the works of Hungarian composer Béla Bartók in relation to modernity and nationalism. It explores aspects of Bartók's oeuvre that exemplify connections to the earlier traditions of Hungarian art music and evaluates the strength of his creative involvement of these traditions in his early works. It shows how Bartók thoroughly and productively transformed traditional Hungarian music in his mature compositions. It also re-examines long-held beliefs about Bartók's relationship to his past and the relationship of authentic folk music to Hungarian popular music.
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