Benjamin Suchoff is a distinuguished
authority on Bartok with at least four
books on the subject to his name. He
has been an office bearer with the Bartok
estate and archive. He was awarded the
Bartok diploma and memorial plaque in
1981 for his great contribution to the
understanding of the Bartok oeuvre.
This book comes then with the highest
authority and this certainly shows.
Bartok's Mikrokosmos is a an anthology
of 153 graded pieces collected in series
according to diffficulty. Written between
1926 and 1939 there are six volumes
After two semi-biographical chapters
on Bartok as pianist and Bartok as teacher
comes a treatment of the background
and development of the set. This completes
part 1 - i.e. the Genesis of Mikrokosmos
Then comes part 2 Pedagogy. After an
introductory chapter there is a chapter
for each of the volumes. Each chapter
isfurther divided into a section for
each piece. The sections deal with technique,
musicianship. Bartok's comments togeter
with performance suggestions from Mr
Part 3 addresses style. After some
general scene setting there are separate
chapters for each of the volumes. This
time the music is related to other Bartok
works, folk influences and musical analysis.
There are notes but these are collected
as end notes from pp.161 - 173.
This book forms another practitioner's
guide and will understandably be snapped
up by musicians and those many for whom
Bartok is one of the most original and
sophisticatedly beguiling voices in
the 'last century'.