Bartók’s Budapest


In Budapest this week I stopped by the Bartók Archívum, a small municipal office in the Castle district of Buda. I hadn’t called ahead and the collection of original manuscripts was guarded like a state secret, but a solemn musicologist showed me this cabinet full of first editions and somehow that was thrilling enough.


Later, I hired a clunky tourist bike and meandered out through the suburbs of Buda to where Bartók lived in this house from 1930-1939 – it was his last home in Hungary before emigrating to the USA. Inside is a tiny exhibition of personal belongings that includes the chanter he bought in Glasgow and a souvenir matchbox from Edinburgh. Couldn’t help thinking how chuffed Erik Chisholm would have been to know the chanter is still here.