Magyar Zene Music Quarterly

 

 

 

 

Magyar Zene

Hungarian Language Music Quarterly

 

Vol. 48 , No. 3 - August 2010

 

 

Contents

 

Interview

 

TÜNDE SZITHA  
„A teljes életre tanít”
Beszélgetés Kocsis Zoltánnal Arnold Schönberg Mózes és Áron című operájáról és az általa komponált harmadik felvonásról
253
„It teaches us to live our life as a whole”
Zoltán Kocsis talks about Schönberg’s Moses and Aaron and the third act composed by him (Abstract)
275

Articles

 

PÉTER GYÖRGY CSOBÓ  
Autonómia és kimondhatatlanság
Zenefilozófia és zenetudomány határmezsgyéiről
277
Autonomy and Ineffability
About Demarcations of Philosophy of Music and Musicology (Abstract)
 
KATA RISKÓ  
Egy népzenei közjáték jelentései Haydn műveiben 295
The meanings of a folk music interlude in the works of Haydn (Abstract)  
FERENC BÓNIS  
Erkel és Kodály 308
Erkel and Kodály (Abstract)  
GÁBOR KISS  
Az új sensus communis – Kodálytól Rajeczkyig 317
The New Sensus Communis – from Kodály to Rajeczky (Abstract)  
ISTVÁN NÉMETH G.  
„Már nem is csupán zenei probléma”
A népzene mint forrás Csíky Boldizsár műveiben
328
„This is More than a Mere Musical Problem”
Folk Music as the Source of Boldizsár Csíky’s Works (Abstract)
 

Work in Progress

 

MARIANN MARCZI  
Ligeti György zongoraetűdjeiről I. 355
The Piano Etudes of György Ligeti I (Abstract)  

Review

 

ADRIENNE KACZMARCZYK  
Vezetőkkel a Bánk bán- labirintusban 369
[Ferenc Erkel: Bánk bán. Critical Edition . Ed. by Miklós Dolinszky, 2009]  
   
   

 

The whole issue  (pdf)

 

 



 

ABSTRACTS

 

 

TÜNDE SZITHA

„It teaches us to live our life as a whole”
Zoltán Kocsis talks about Schönberg’s Moses and Aaron and the third act composed by him

 

In the summer of 2009 Zoltán Kocsis completed Arnold Schönberg’s unfinished opera Moses and Aron with a third act, closely following the libretto the composer had left behind. This completed version was premiered by the National Philharmonic Orchestra and Chorus featuring Wolfgang Schöne as Moses and Daniel Brenna as Aron) on 16th January, 2010 in Budapest, conducted by Zoltán Kocsis.
This interview is focused on the motivation and compositional methods of his work. Kocsis accepts the general judgement of the musical world, which regards Moses and Aron as one of the most complete „unfinished works” of music history. However, in the course of the Hungarian premiere of the original form at the Miskolc National Opera Festival (2009) he experienced the theatrical and musical absurdity of performing the third act in prose form. Although Schönberg had authorized the staging of the third act in this way, according to Kocsis the speech mode equalizes the role and dramatic power of the personalities of Moses and Aron, firmly distinguished by Sprechgesang and bel canto singing in the first and second acts. This was the first motive that prompted him to write a score. The other was his desire to find a strong musical reply to the fiasco of Moses, to answer his open- ended sentence „O Wort, du Wort, was du mir fehlst…” and to expand the two dimensions of the first two acts (Moses: canon and discipline – Aron/people: pragmatism, caducity and outrage) with a third one (God: transcendency and judgement), which can be detected in the libretto.
The most important task for Kocsis was to compose the third act to Schönberg’s music as coherently as possible from the distance of almost eight decades. He made use of the three fragments of sketches preserved in the Arnold Schönberg Center in Vienna; he composed his own inventions as well in the system of consequent dodecaphony; he maintained the twelve- tone Reihe of the opera as a basic structural and melodic principle; he quoted the six- chord opening phrase of the first act in several forms of variations as the icon of the divine canon; and at several points he used quotations, allusions and paraphrases from the first two acts. Nevertheless he considers the third act as his own music with strong references to Schönberg. He invented a number of illustrative instrumental interludes to depict the visual element of the libretto, included a passage of jazz crosstalk in Moses’ last scene (which has more connection with contemporary jazz style, than with Schönberg’s era), and – by giving a central role to F sharp almost throughout the act – he effected a melodic and harmonic release at the end of the opera: as a symbol of God this motif leads the marching people forward to the desert and affords resignation to Moses.

 

Zoltán Kocsis (1952), pianist, composer and conductor. His worldwide career started during his study years at the Ferenc Liszt Academy of Music, at the age of 18. His repertoire involves the piano, chamber and orchestral music from the 18th century to contemporary music. His exuberant discography (Hungaroton, Harmonia Mundi, Denon, Philips/Decca) includes the complete piano music of Bartók, selected works by Debussy, Beethoven and Johann Sebastian Bach, and a wide segment of the symphonic and chamber repertoire. He is a devoted performer of contemporary Hungarian music, particularly of the works of György Kurtág, Zoltán Jeney and László Vidovszky. As a composer (and a performer) he was a member of the New Music Studio of Budapest from 1970 to 1990. Besides writing his own compositions he has made several transcriptions and orchestrations from the piano and chamber music of the 19th and 20th centuries. Since 1997 he has been the general music director of the National Philharmonic Orchestra.


Tünde Szitha (1961) graduated as a musicologist from the Ferenc Liszt Academy of Music, Budapest; in 1996–1999 she attended the Doctoral Programme in Musicology at the same institution. She has been active as a music critic and journalist from 1985; her articles (mainly on contemporary music), reviews and interviews have been published in several periodicals. Her research is focused on Hungarian music after 1945: her short monographs on the Hungarian composers Zoltán Jeney and László Vidovszky were published in 2003 and 2007. Her PhD thesis in preparation is about experimental music in Hungary from 1970 to 1990. From 2002 to 2010 she taught music history at the University of Debrecen Faculty of Music. She is currently working as Promotion Manager for Universal Music Publishing Editio Musica Budapest Ltd.

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PÉTER GYÖRGY CSOBÓ

Autonomy and Ineffability
About Demarcations of Philosophy of Music and Musicology

 

Philosophers of music often say musicologists don’t understand in fact very exactly what they describe, whereas musicologists time and again assert that philosophers aren’t competent in music interpretation. The paper discusses the relationships between musical meaning and the traditional concept of musical autonomy to attempt to illuminate the background and the causes of this old debate. The reasoning around this problem goes back to the 19th century. To explain how musical text can have meaning, and what kind of meaning music in general can have, in the 19th century traditional music interpretation invoked the concept of ineffability. This concept was based on the specific relation of music and language, and grounded in the concept of absolute music’s non- conceptual character, and accordingly of the autonomy of music. So there arose a tension between ’form’ and ’expression’, between the immanent formalist relations of musical structure and the dynamic expressivity of music with reference to an object external to it. However, every traditional variant of ineffability – the concept of music as a supplement of language and that of a „specific musical language” are analysed here – had to presuppose a primary musical experience and at the same time proclaim it inaccessible. The assumption of an absolute difference between music and non- music (objects, meanings, ideas, discourse, etc.) was – by every indication – a „logical failure” of music interpretation. So it seems to be a more acceptable concept of the possibility of musical meaning, if we abandon the respectable principle of „pure musical”, and look for possibilities of music interpretation in the interaction of the disparate sensual modality, mediums and forms of communication.

 

Péter György Csobó (1969) is a musical aesthetician. He graduated from the University of Debrecen as a philosopher (in 1994) and a historian (in 1993). He received his PhD degree in music aesthetics from the same institution (his dissertation was entitled „Theories of the Phenomenology of Music. The philosophical reflections of hearing from sensorial sounds to the identical musical piece.” 2005). His main fields are the theory of music interpretation and the philosophy of hearing. He regularly presents papers at conferences, publishes articles and studies, and translates classical German texts in music aesthetics into Hungarian. Since 1994 he has taught aesthetics, musical aesthetics, ethics and philosophy at the College of Nyíregyháza and as a guest teacher at the University of Piliscsaba and the University of Debrecen. At present he is working on a Hungarian translation of A Philosophy of the New Music by Adorno.

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KATA RISKÓ

The meanings of a folk music interlude in the works of Haydn

 

In several Haydn works there is a musical topos which can be linked with instrumental folk music interludes. In instrumental Hungarian folk music there is a method of connecting melodies and augmenting forms by iteration of a motif. Similar interludes notated in a more schematic form can be found in written dance music sources from the 18th century. In terms of folk music and historical sources, interludes of this type were also present in the age of Haydn in the music of the other nations living near Eszterháza, such as Austrians, Croatians, Slovakians and Bohemians. Haydn used this type not to represent any particular nation but as a generalized topos which could play several roles in his works. He worked out this type in several styles and gave it various structural functions according to the character and musical content of the whole work. In the most interesting cases Haydn used this type of interlude and its transformations inspired by folk music traditions to embody special formal concepts. In the fourth movement of the theatre symphony No.60 (finished before 1774) this interlude theme appears as a separate dance- episode which illustrates a phase of the dramatic action. The same theme is first given a Turkish flavour in the Hungarian context of the Rondo all’ ongharese finale of the D major piano concerto, then it becomes Hungarian according to Haydn’s formal concept. A similar transformation of the theme is promoted to become the structural and narrative basis of a whole movement in the finale of Symphony No.82 („The Bear”). The interludetheme plays a less important role in Symphony No.92 (the „Oxford” symphony): it emerges as a contradanse- like motif closing the first group of themes. Finally, in the op.74 (C major) and op.76 (D minor) quartets of the 1790s Haydn again emphasized the Hungarian, gipsy character of this interlude theme. Moreover, in the D minor quartet he used a later variation of the instrumental practice of his time, presenting the minor movement in a major key, a concept which is a peculiarity of the whole work.


Kata Riskó (1985) studied musicology at the Liszt Ferenc Academy of Music, Budapest. She graduated in 2008, her dissertation focussing on „Bagpipe- Episodes in Classical Music and their Folk Music Relations”. In 2008 she started her PhD studies in musicology at the same institution on the topic of the instrumental folk music of the northern dialect of the Hungarian speech area. She is an assistant lecturer in folk music theory at the Liszt Ferenc Academy of Music and a writer of music criticism.

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FERENC BÓNIS

Erkel and Kodály

 

Representatives of new times with new things to say generally dissociate themselves from the great figures of the preceding period. This behaviour is natural, since they have to declare in some way that they seek something different from what their predecessors aspired to. Zoltán Kodály (1882–1967), as in many other aspects of his life and work, was unusual in this respect also. While his creative activity opened a new chapter in the history of Hungarian art, scholarship and pedagogy, in his literary and journalistic works he sought those threads that link him and his efforts with the great known or unknown masters of the past. In other words, he consciously searched for his intellectual ancestors. One of those intellectual predecessors was Ferenc Erkel (1810–1893), who in creating Hungarian historical opera created a bridge between that art form and Hungarian society, and who in his folk- drama music, which included folksongs too, likewise marked out a path for his successors to follow. In the course of 45 years Kodály in his writings chose Erkel as his subject on 21 occasions, analyzing Erkel’s place in the historical development of Hungarian music. The present study is an attempt to summarize those various writings.

 

Ferenc Bónis (1932) studied composition with Endre Szervánszky and musicology with Dénes Bartha, Zoltán Kodály and Bence Szabolcsi at the Ferenc Liszt Academy of Music, gaining his doctorate there in 1958. He worked as an editor at Hungarian Radio (1950–52, 1957- 96), and the Institute for Musicology of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences (1961–73); he was reader in musicology at the Ferenc Liszt Academy of Music (1972–80) and a guest lecturer at the University of Cologne. He became president of the Ferenc Erkel Society in 1989 and president of the Hungarian Kodály Society in 1991. He is an outstanding scholar of Hungarian music history and a many- sided representative of Hungarian musicology in the tradition of Bartók and Kodály. In addition to writing a number of articles on different subjects for Hungarian and foreign musicological periodicals, he was the editor of Magyar zenetörténeti tanulmányok [„Studies on Hungarian Music History”], of the collected writings of Bence Szabolcsi, and of the collected writings of Zoltán Kodály (Eng. trans., abridged, as The Selected Writings of Zoltán Kodály, 1974) and the author of, among others, a book on Bartók iconography (Eng. trans. as Béla Bartók: his Life in Pictures and Documents, 1972, 2l982), as well as Hódolat Bartóknak és Kodálynak [„Devotion to Bartók and Kodály”], 1992; Mozarttól Bartókig [„From Mozart to Bartók”], 2000; Béla Bartók–Menyhért Lengyel: The Miraculous Mandarin, 2001; Üzenetek a XX. századból [„Messages from the 20th Century”], 2002; A Budapesti Filharmóniai Társaság százötven esztendeje 1853–2003 [„150 Years of Budapest Philharmonic Society 1853–2003”], 2005.

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GÁBOR KISS

The New Sensus Communis – from Kodály to Rajeczky

 

Like others, Benjamin Rajeczky was strongly inspired by Kodály’s thesis, formulated in 1933, about the relationship between folk music and music history. For himself, Rajeczky drew conclusions concerning possible connections between plainchant and folk music and the usefulness of studying them simultaneously. It was ten years later that he first commented on the desirability of linking the two areas, adjusting his argumentation explicitly to Kodály’s ideas. Although direct references to Kodály were later omitted, several articles were published in the subsequent decades in which Rajeczky discussed essentially the same issue, trying to elaborate and extend it with further considerations and information. This paper is intended to give an overview and evaluation of this decades- long intellectual process, which though monothematic was nevertheless open to new developments in the history of domestic and international scholarship. In this outline the following questions, among others, will be discussed: to what extent Kodály’s basic assumptions were rooted in the special characteristics of Hungarian music history and folk music tradition, or to what extent they can be regarded as independent and as postulates of general validity, and whether we can regard Rajecky’s ideas about the connection of plainchant and folk music as a logical continuation of Kodály’s thesis or rather as independent adaptations of them, partly under the influence of developments in international scholarship.

 

Gábor Kiss began his career as a music teacher and a performer. From 1987 onwards he studied musicology at the Liszt Academy of Music in Budapest and graduated in 1992. He has been on the staff of the Department of Early Music in the Institute for Musicology in Budapest since 1994. He obtained his CSc degree from the Hungarian Academy of Sciences in 1998. In his dissertation he analyzed the medieval Hungarian repertoire of ordinary melodies in the context of Central European traditions and also gave a complete catalogue of the Central European ordinary melodies. His work was published in the series Monumenta Monodica in 2009. He has been responsible for the digitization of medieval sources since 1999. Since 2008 he has been editor of the series Zenetudományi Dolgozatok (Musicological Studies) and in 2009 he was appointed head of the Department of Early Music. He publishes regularly on medieval chant both in Hungarian and in foreign languages.

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ISTVÁN NÉMETH G.

„This is More than a Mere Musical Problem”
Folk Music as the Source of Boldizsár Csíky’s Works

 

Romanian composer of Hungarian descent Boldizsár Csíky (1937) has written ever since 1958 compositions infatuated with Transylvanian folk music. This study presents through the rather extraordinary example of Csíky the way the entire school of Transylvanian composers from the 2nd half of the 20th century dealt with folk music. The analysis examines first Csíky’s aesthetic beliefs in terms of the
relationship between art music and folk music, which exhibit the features of an essentially conservative avant- gardism, being obviously modelled on Béla Bartók’s music. Csíky’s series of some 20 folk music arrangements (1962–1979) was exclusively commissioned by the Marosvásárhely (Tg. Mureμ/Romania) State Folk Ensemble (and performed by singer Erzsébet Tóth). The study also includes an indepth investigation regarding the history of this institution, which was founded in 1956–57, and during its heyday operated under the dual influence of the Moiseyev Dance Company of the USSR and of the Hungarian State Folk Ensemble of Budapest/ Hungary. The latter opened in 1951 with, among other pieces, Zoltán Kodály’s Kálló Double Dance, a composition that thus became the main model for the composers active in Marosvásárhely. Csíky stopped composing folk song arrangements once the táncház (dance hall) movement arose in the early 1980s, consequently the historical review of the Marosvásárhely State Folk Ensemble also deals with the polemics connected the representation of folk music and dance on stage without any artificial (compositional or choreographic) additions to them. The musical analysis demonstrates the subtle, though evident connections of Csíky’s compositional methods used both in his folk song arrangements and his compositions intended for concert hall audiences. The final section takes a closer look at Csíky’s abstract compositions written after 1980, including the Piccola musica ebraica per motivi transsylvanici di Marmarosch, commissioned in 2001 by a Swiss chamber ensemble, which shows the validity of Csíky compositional methods developed during the period of his earlier folk music arrangements. Data on genre, scoring, manuscript sources, commercial recordings and performance history of the pieces can be seen in the detailed catalogue of Csíky’s folksong arrangements at the end of the article.

 

István Németh G. (1978) studied musicology 1996–2003 at the Gheorghe Dima Academy of Music in Kolozsvár (Cluj/Romania) and 1999–2004 at the Liszt Ferenc Academy of Music in Budapest. From 2004 he attended the Doctoral School in musicology of the Liszt Ferenc University of Music (PhD). In 2003 he became assistant research fellow at the Department for Hungarian Music History of the Institute for Musicology of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences in Budapest. He is currently preparing a doctoral dissertation in musicology on the subject of Béla Bartók’s Influence on Transylvanian- based Composers. His publications are centred on issues of the Hungarian music history of the 19th and 20th century (Magyar Zene, Studia Musicologica).

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MARIANN MARCZI

The Piano Etudes of György Ligeti I

 

Work on the doctoral thesis (DLA) by Mariann Marczi discussing György Ligeti’s piano etudes started in the spring of 2005 and ended in 2008. The central part of the thesis includes analyses of the three books of Ligeti’s etudes, altogether 18 pieces. This number of the magazine features the chapter dealing with the ars poetica of Ligeti’s etudes (the Hungarian translation of three Ligeti texts), and the chapter summing up the results of the analyses. The latter discusses the message of Ligeti’s etudes, the influence of his childhood experiences on his compositional methods, and the importance of the sources of inspiration frequently mentioned by Ligeti himself. The author considered it important to highlight the following influences among the many: the works of Chopin, Schumann, Brahms, Liszt, Debussy and the folk music of the Balkans, from the European tradition; Central African, Javan, Sumatran, Gamelan, Cuban and jazz music, from non- European musical traditions; Conlon Nancarrow’s etudes for mechanical piano, from contemporary music literature; Maurits Escher’s graphics, from fine arts; the structure of mathematical fractals from science; and the works of D. R. Hofstadter from philosophy. (Analyses of two etudes will appear in the next number of Magyar Zene.)

 

Mariann Marczi (1977) began learning to play the piano at the age of four and in 1991 entered the class taught by Marianne Ábrahám and Gábor Csalog at the Béla Bartók Conservatory in Budapest. She received her Performance Artist Diploma and Master of Music degree in 2000 at the Liszt Ferenc Academy of Music in Budapest under Professors Sándor Falvai, Péter Nagy and András Kemenes. She continued her postgraduate studies in Berlin at the Hochschule für Musik „Hanns Eisler”. She also took part in various master classes (György Kurtág, Zoltán Kocsis, Florent Boffard, and Pierre- Laurent Aimard). She completed her studies in 2005, studying in the Doctor of Music (DLA) department at the Liszt Ferenc Academy of Music in Budapest. She has won prizes in several national and international competitions. She has played in the most important concert halls of Hungary and in almost all the countries of Europe. Her repertoire contains solo and chamber works from early baroque to contemporary music. Her name is associated with the first performance of some of the works in her repertoire. She regularly works together with contemporary composers such as György Kurtág, Zoltán Jeney, Gyula Csapó, Gyula Fekete, Nikolai Badinski, Ruth McGuire and Valerio Sannicandro. She focuses especially on music by J.S. Bach, Béla Bartók and György Kurtág. She teaches in the piano department of the Liszt Ferenc Academy of Music in Budapest.

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