The story of Bartók's pantomime is usually understood as the clash between the cold-blooded brutality of the city - represented by the tramps - and the force of primeval passion - represented by the mandarin. Within these opposing forces stands the girl - whose character, however, is not obvious. In the first complete manuscript version (piano four-hand), immediately before the ending of the piece, there existed a scene depicting a confrontation between the girl and the tramps. This scene, whose main actor is the girl, is crucial for the drama and reveals Bartók's view with regard to the girl's character. Yet when Bartók began orchestrating the work in 1924, he deleted this scene. The present article provides, for the first time, an in-depth analysis as well as dramatic interpretation of this scene. Considering also the original text by Menyhért (Melchior) Lengyel (which contains this scene) and the totality of the final version of Bartók's pantomime, the article proposes a characterization for the girl and offers a hypothesis for the reason for the omission of this scene from the final version.
- The Miraculous Mandarin
- source study