Béla Bartók: from Youth to Early Maturity location:Brussel date:6-8 November 2014
Denijs Dille (1904 - 2005) is widely regarded as the pioneer of Bartók research. He was one of the first to explore the life and work of Bartók and rigorously collected facts which formed the basis for the next generations of researchers. Especially his investigation of Bartók's early works – published as Thematisches Verzeichnis der Jugendwerke Béla Bartóks: 1890-1904 (1974) - is of great importance to understand how Bartók, through his early work, evolves into a composer with his own musical language.
Dille soon discovered that many biographies of Bartok were based on mere assumptions, making him sceptical of the musicology of his time. "I am not a musicologist", he often stated, giving preference to the research methods of philology.
Dille saw two major problems Bartók scholars are facing:
(1) the problem of biography and the relation between life and work of the composer
(2) the problem of folk music and the relation between folk music and art music
which according to Dille reveals the "genius" of Bartók.
The majority of research publications appeared when Dille was the director of the Bartók Archívum in Budapest. At a relatively old age he published a few books for a wider audience about the life (1974) and work (1979) of Bartók. It is necessary to know the context of these publications in order to properly understand its importance in the totality of Dille's research.
It is remarkable that Dille refrains from the structural analysis of Bartók's works, while at the same time showing a very critical attitude towards researchers analyzing the entire oeuvre of Bartók via generalized systems.