Upon entering the house, to the left hand side is a letter of Bartók’s mother carved in marble, dating from September 8, 1903. Further inside we find a small shop for music CDs and gifts. Naturally, the floor and the furniture of the respective rooms were also replaced in the course of restoration.
From this point, one can reach the first floor via the subsequently erected staircase referred to earlier, which originally was the first level of the living area of the Bartók family. The old, unattractive and unsafe banister of the staircase was replaced by a new one that is similar in style to the old wooden one and agrees with the age of the house. The identical copy of the banister designed by Károly Kós, Bartók’s contemporary, was mounted in the staircase. But before we set out to climb the stairs, in the newel we can fake a look at the most important folk-song collecting sites of Bartók depicted by a ceramics relief forming the Carpathian Basin. Moreover, starting upwards from the centre of the map we can see the pictures of the handwritten notes of Piano Concerto No. 3 on silks of Hungarian national colours, ascending in a spiral shape; on top are the words “The End” written before the death of Bartók.
In 1981, a concert hall was formed on the former first living floor by connecting the adjacent rooms and the staircase. This hall differs from the original state; however, on the one hand, it is very practical, as the concerts held here enliven the house, and on the other hand, this idea does not stand far from the original state: initially there were two pianos in these two rooms. The rooms were connected by a quadruple-wing door. By opening this door, the Bartók family was able to hold small house concerts for their invited guests.
The concert hall has also been fully renovated. The painted boarded-ceiling that originated from the Calvinist church of Tök was returned to the Museum of Applied Arts, as originally the house never had similar ornaments and this ceiling completely deteriorated the initially far from perfect acoustics. The only real decorating elements of the concert hall are the goblin specially designed for the hall by Zsuzsa Perch and the wooden afterframe from Nyárád. Listening to the advice of the acoustic expert, the afterframe, in addition to its decorative function, breaks the smooth surface to some extent. The concert hall is equipped with brand new technical devices and á studio.
We can reach the three upstairs rooms that are practically the same as they were in Bartók’s time, through the staircase. In the first room to the left is a carved dining furniture set, that was originally located in the current concert-hall one floor below. It is the most attractive complete furniture set and is accompanied by two chifforobes on both sides, while there are shelves and dish-guards on the other side.
The second room is furnished with a set of blue-painted cupboard, a table and two chairs, and a sitting-corner consisting of a bench-locker, chairs and a table. The reddish carved cupboard with the matching bookshelf stands next to the door.
The third room was the workroom of Béla Bartók; it is furnished with his renovated piano, his writing-desk, his leather arm-chair and chairs, as if they were waiting for the return of the composer. His phonograph and typewriter rest on the writing-desk.
As a result of the extension, we have an additional floor where the visitors can see the personal and collected objects from the legacy of Béla Bartók, exhibited in wall and free standing showcases. As the extension of the exhibition, furniture and objects that have never been shown to the public before are now on display. Our purpose with this is to give the house back its original milieu.
I say thanks to my wife, Ágnes Virághalmy who is an interior and industrial designer, for her devoted work during the restoration of the house.
The restoration of this house gives me hope that in the coming decades, it could be a worthy milestone for the Hungarian musical scene, the Hungarian culture and the peaceful coexistence of the peoples in the Carpathian Basin.