The “Products” pages of this site contain lists of LP (12 inch vinyl) and compact disc records. They are small in number, all are monophonic (single channel), recorded long ago.
The following is intended as an explanation:
Bartók Records as a label started in a primitive recording studio that was a two–room residential apartment in New York City. Illusion of space was provided by a loudspeaker in a bathtub. The New Music Quartet played Béla Bartók’s Third String Quartet that became the first LP on the label. We tried to add more of Béla Bartók’s music, as very few of his compositions had yet been recorded then. Two more LPs originated in that apartment, before it became possible to use portable tape equipment and work in concert halls with spacious acoustics. The repertoire was limited to soli or chamber groups, until the trustee under Béla Bartók’s Will invested some of the estate’s revenue in orchestra records. Quite a few records were made with the New Symphony Orchestra of London (managed by Jack W. Simmons), playing mostly Bartók music. Facilities were set up in Budapest, so as to make some of these records in Hungary (although it was later found we were not welcome there and only two records were ever made in Hungary).
Altogether 35 LP records were produced, most of them in the decade 1950–1962. Meanwhile, however, outside elements made a claim of title to most of Béla Bartók’s manuscripts, that the trustee managing his estate could not cope with, asserting that “only a court of law would know how to determine the question”. It remained a task for Peter Bartók, who would someday inherit these manuscripts, to defend, without the assistance of a lawyer, Béla Bartók’s title to them when he died (see the article on Béla Bartók’s Manuscripts). It became necessary to put all other work aside and concentrate on persuading the New York Surrogate’s Court that, any claims to the contrary notwithstanding, Béla Bartók was the owner of most manuscripts he wrote throughout his life. This proceeding lasted for 26 years. It was more of an interruption that any business could survive, demanded nearly all available time, and excluded further new record production.
Arrangements are made to continue marketing the compact discs and vinyl records as long as practical, along with books and sheet music printed by our company.
I thank our loyal customers who acquired our products over the past sixty years and hope they enjoyed them.
PETER BARTÓK – Homosassa, 1 October 2010