Magyar Zene Music Quarterly





Magyar Zene

Hungarian Language Music Quarterly


Vol. 49 , No. 1 - February 2011







A mű önazonossága és az elemzés kockázatai 5
The Identity of the Work of Art and the Pitfalls of Textual Analysis (Abstract) 16
A hatszólamú ricercar szakrális kódjai 17
Sacral Codes of the Six- Part Ricercar (Abstract) 38
Liszt „kereszt”- motívuma és a h- moll szonáta 39
Liszt’s „Cross Motif” and the Sonata in B Minor (Abstract) 56
A halál szimfóniája vagy a szimfónia halála?
Gondolatok Mahler 9. szimfóniájáról
The Symphony of Death or the Death of the Symphony? Some Reflections on Mahler’s Ninth (Abstract) 67
Népzenei hatások Jeney Zoltán Halotti szertartás című művében 68
The Influences of Folk Music in Zoltán Jeney’s Funeral Rite (Abstract) 88

Short Contribution


Egy „hajdútánc–ungaresca” dallamtípus kapcsolata a magyar népi tánczenével 89
Connections of a „Haiduck Dance–Ungaresca” Melody Type with Hungarian Folk Dance Music (Abstract) 97



A Magyar Zene évtizedei: adalékok a folyóirat első ötven évének történetéhez 99
Contributions to the History of Magyar Zene, a Hungarian Journal of Musicology (Abstract) 115
Egy 18. század végi magyarországi kulturális nagyberuházás pénzügyi összesítése 116
Financial Summary of a Major Cultural Investment in 18th- Century Hungary (Abstract) 123



Hiánypótló kották
Veress Sándor: Kórusművek I- II.
 [Sándor Veress: Choruses I-II.]  

The whole issue (pdf)








The Identity of the Work of Art and the Pitfalls of Textual Analysis

Half a century ago some scholars influenced by New Criticism and Structuralism were inclined to provide close textual readings of individual poems based on the idea that an immanent approach to literary texts was possible without much attention to historical or biographical considerations. In the early twenty- first
century many critics believe that interpretation cannot ignore a) the different versions of the text, b) intertextuality, and c) the history of reception. The significance of these three factors in the interpretation of musical works may be illuminating for literary historians as an example of an approach to analysis within the framework of which the stability of the textual identity of poems, novels, or plays cannot be taken for granted.


Mihály Szegedy- Maszák is Professor of Comparative Literature and Cultural Studies at Eötvös Loránd University, Professor Emeritus of Central Eurasian Studies at Indiana University, a member of Academia Europaea (London) and the Hungarian Academy of Sciences. He is the author of Literary Canons: National and International (2001), fourteen books in Hungarian (among them monographs on the authors Zsigmond Kemény, Sándor Márai, Géza Ottlik, and Dezső Kosztolányi), editor- in- chief of a three- volume history of Hungarian literature (2007) and the journal Hungarian Studies, co- author of Théorie littéraire (1989), Epoche – Text – Modalität (1999), A Companion to Hungarian Studies (1999), Angezogen und abgestoßen: Juden in der ungarischen Literatur (1999), The Phoney Peace: Power and Culture in Central Europe 1945–49 (2000), National Heritage – National Canon (2001), and Der lange, dunkle Schatten: Studien zum Werk von Imre Kertész (2004). He has published articles on the culture of the Habsburg Monarchy, the theory of the novel, Romanticism, modernism, postmodernism, translation, and inter- art studies, Richard Wagner, Henry James, Gustav Mahler, Béla Bartók, Ezra Pound, Wilhelm Furtwängler, and Buster Keaton in English, French, German, Polish, Romanian, Chinese and Hungarian.

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Sacral Codes of the Six- Part Ricercar

Recent studies of the Musical Offering agree on the religious character of the work. The authorial injunction to seek (Quaerendo invenietis) does not only relate to the enigma canons but to the six- part ricercar as well, whose archaic title also means to seek. There are several Biblical citations hidden in this movement, and their discovery is made especially difficult by various compositional maneuvers. The complex circular composition of the ricercar makes a linear interpretation very complicated if not impossible. The unique formal structure of the fugue provides a clue: certain anomalies and apparent inconsistencies point to external, nonmusical influences.
This article will be published soon in English in The Journal of the Riemenschneider Bach Institute, Vol. 42/1 (2011).


Zoltán Göncz, composer and musicologist, was born in Budapest in 1958. He graduated from the Liszt Academy of Music in 1980. He served as music organizer at the National Philharmonic Concert Agency between 1983 and 1997, then worked in the same capacity with the musical ensembles of Hungarian Radio from 1997 to 2008. Since 2008 he has been employed by the John Wesley Theological College. Besides his own compositions (…i rinoceronti del nero cosmo…, for brass quintet; Great canon [Canon perpetuus], for orchestra; Three Algo- Rhythmic Studies, for two pianos; Canon gradus a 12 [For József Sári’s birthday], for mixed voices) he has made a reconstruction of the unfinished Contrapunctus 14 of the Art of Fugue, published by Carus--Verlag in 2006. His main publications are: “The Permutational Matrix in J. S. Bach’s Art of Fugue”, Studia Musicologica 33 (1991); “Reconstruction of the Final Contrapunctus of The Art of Fugue.” International Journal of Musicology 5 (1997); Bach testamentuma – A fúga művészete filozófiai- teológiai hátteréről. [Bach’s testament – On the philosophicaltheological background of The Art of Fugue], Budapest: Gramofon könyvek, 2009. The book will be published in English soon.

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Liszt’s „Cross Motif” and the Sonata in B Minor

In my book Revolution and Religion in the Music of Liszt I reverse the order of priority usually given to Liszt’s music – namely to begin with the piano and end with the Church. I begin with the Church – describing both the music Liszt wrote for it, and his relationship to the Church throughout his life. When writing the book I came to the conclusion that his most important work for the piano has a concealed religious programme, which I try to detect in a logical manner in chapter 14. We do not need documentation from Liszt to justify such a process – the Romantics did not always declare what they were thinking, beyond the actual confines of their art. Liszt’s so- called “cross motif” can be found in the main theme (“first subject”) of the Sonata, and the melody of Crux fidelis (with Liszt’s favourite harmonisation) forms the basis of part of the “second subject group”. More importantly, one of the themes in the work is a “Mephisto” theme – but here Liszt’s programme is not the Faust idea, as some writers have suggested. There is no Gretchen in the Sonata – her role is replaced with a far more important figure. The Sonata preserves the outline of traditional sonata form, with an exposition and a recapitulation, and the programme must allow for this feature, which is unusual in Liszt. A crucial element is the role of the fugue – I explain in chapter 13 what I think was Liszt’s programmatic thinking about fugue in his music, and ideally the two chapters should be read together. Here, as an introduction to the Hungarian translation of chapter 14, I add a short summary of chapter 13. If what I say in that chapter is correct, then the fugue in the Sonata must continue the same programmatic idea. In particular the way Liszt constructs the fugue subject in the Sonata is a strong clue to the nature of his programme.


Paul Merrick studied music at Wadham College Oxford. He first visited Hungary in 1978 as a British Council Exchange Scholar to do research for his Ph.D. thesis on the church music of Liszt. In England he worked as a teacher and composer, his compositions including an Oboe Concerto for Evelyn Barbirolli premièred in London. Since 1982 he has lived in Budapest and taught at the Liszt Academy. He has written a book on Liszt (Revolution and Religion in the Music of Liszt, Cambridge University Press 1987, reissued 2008). At present he is working on a study of the relationship between key and programme in Liszt. Articles on this subject have appeared in Studia Musicologica, the Musical Times and the Journal of the American Liszt Society (JALS).

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The Symphony of Death or the Death of the Symphony?

Some Reflections on Mahler’s Ninth

Since the day of its posthumous premiere, Mahler’s Ninth – the last symphony he ever completed – has been perceived as a valedictory work in which the composer says farewell to life. Recently, this view has been challenged on the grounds that Mahler was in good health when he wrote the Ninth, and as his life was entering a new phase with his engagements in New York, death couldn’t have been foremost in his mind. The article attempts to reconcile this apparent contradiction first by cautioning against oversimplifying the parallels between life and work; and second, by examining how the usual topoi of the Mahler symphonies (in particular, the march and the ländler) are deconstructed in the Ninth to the point of total negation. The Latin phrase media vita in morte sumus is invoked to explain the life- death dichotomy, and a potential new approach to that dichotomy in the unfinished Tenth Symphony is briefly considered.


Peter Laki (b. 1954) graduated from the musicology program of the Ferenc Liszt Academy of Music in
1979, and earned his Ph. D. from the University of Pennsylvania in 1989. After 17 years as program
annotator of the Cleveland Orchestra, he is currently Visiting Associate Professor at Bard College in
Annandale- on- Hudson, New York. He is the editor of Bartók and His World (Princeton University Press,
1995) and numerous published articles, as well as a frequent lecturer at international conferences.

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The Influences of Folk Music in Zoltán Jeney’s Funeral Rite

Funeral Rite – composed between 1979/87 and 2005 – has proved to be the most significant oratorio of contemporary Hungarian composition, both in terms of its large- scale form and the diversity of its poetic and musical world. Although the total duration of the composition is ca 171 minutes, the imprint of Hungarian folk music can be felt only in some movements which barely exceed the time of 15 minutes. Despite this fact, folk style seems to be a dominant element in the monumental piece. The author tries to answer the following questions: What evokes the folk- tune intonation in Jeney’s creative mind, and what is the basic motivation for using it? What kind of liturgical and/or dramatic functions do the movements inspired by folk- tuned have? Can we identify precisely any specific folk music style as the composer’s source of inspiration? How can we distinguish cases when the composer follows any folk music model consciously and when unconsciously? In fine, what composition technique does Jeney use to elaborate folk music or quasi folk music and how can all these parts be built organically into the whole composition?


Zoltán Farkas (b. 1964) studied musicology at the Liszt Academy of Music, Budapest and graduated in 1987. Between 1987 and 2006 he worked at the Institute for Musicology of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences. From 2006 he has been the director of MR3- Bartók Radio, the classical music channel of Hungarian Radio. From 2011 he is the intendant of the same institution. His scholarly interests are focused on 18th century church music and Hungarian contemporary music.

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Connections of a „Haiduck Dance–Ungaresca” Melody Type with Hungarian Folk Dance Music

The 16th–17th century “Haiduck dance–ungaresca” tunes have survived in diverse German, French, Polish and Italian sources. Although no written Hungarian records have been found, the imprint of these tunes can be detected in the practice of living folk music. Using the method of melody comparison, the author has outlined the area of the historical tunes’ folk music variants. Apart from melodicstructural correspondences, the use of these tunes is also similar, all of them being dance tunes. The function of the folk tunes is to accompany “ugrós” [springing] dances, and folk dance research defines this old- style dance type as the folk equivalent or derivative of the Haiduck dance.


Katalin Paksa (b. 1944) obtained her diploma at the Liszt Academy of Music in 1967. At present she is an academic consultant at the Department of Fok Music of the Institute for Musicology of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences. She obtained her doctoral degree in 1988 with her book A magyar népdal díszítése (Ornamentation of Hungarian Folk Songs) and her doctorate at the Hungarian Academy in 2003 with her book Magyar népzenetörténet (The History of Hungarian Folk Music). Her fields of research are the systematization and critical editing of Hungarian folk music – she has contributed to volumes VI–IX and edited volume X of A Magyar Népzene Tára (Collection of Hungarian Folk Music) – as well as regional monographs, comparative studies of related and neighbouring peoples, research into the performance and ornamentation of folk music, the relationship of folk dance and folk music, the study of 19th century folk music research, the connections between folk and national music, along with research projects related to the history of folk music.

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Contributions to the History of Magyar Zene, a Hungarian Journal of Musicology

Based on archival sources and oral history, my paper provides an overall survey of the history of Magyar Zene (“Hungarian Music”) from its foundation until 2009. I examine the cultural political conditions under which the journal was founded. The revolution of 1956 was followed by bloody repression and the restoration of the state socialist political system, however, some distinctive changes were implemented to the earlier Stalinist practices. In terms of cultural politics, the political authorities recognized the raison d’être of “non- socialist” trends, as long as they were “not ideologically hostile”. A semi- pluralist structure of the public sphere was provided by newly established journals and newspapers. The members of the editorial board of Magyar Zene, namely musicologists János Maróthy, Bence Szabolcsi, and József Ujfalussy were appointed by the Ministry of Cultural Affairs, while the journal was affiliated with the Hungarian Musicians’ Union and also the Zeneműkiadó Vállalat (a publisher of printed music and music books). The academic profile of the journal was blurred by ambitions epitomizing a music magazine. Both the scholarly and the political aspects of the debates over Magyar Zene in the 1960s are discussed in detail and illustrated by previously unpublished archival documents. The position of scholarly publications in the journal was stengthened by János Breuer who was appointed editor- in- chief in 1970. After the political change around 1990 the market and funding of journals were dramatically transformed, and that resulted in severe challenges to Magyar Zene. Magyar Zene, which has been affiliated with the Hungarian Musicological Society since 1998, turned into a brand of a firm and decent academic journal under the editorial era of András Székely (1999–2009).


Lóránt Péteri is a lecturer at the Liszt Academy of Music, Budapest. He received his PhD from the University of Bristol (UK) in 2008. The title of his thesis is “The Scherzo of Mahler’s Second Symphony: A Study of Genre”. Among his latest contributions are the studies “God and Revolution:  Rewriting the Absolute: Bence Szabolcsi and the Discourse of Hungarian Musical Life”. In: Blazekovic Z.– Dobbs Mackenzie B. (ed.): Music’s Intellectual History (New York: RILM, 2009); and “Form, Meaning and Genre in the Scherzo of Mahler’s Second Symphony”, Studia Musicologica 50 (2009), 3- 4.

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Financial Summary of a Major Cultural Investment in 18th- Century Hungary


In mid- November 1779, the opera house of Prince Nicholas Esterházy “The Magnificent” burnt down at Eszterháza (now part of the town of Fertőd in Western Hungary). The construction of a new, “second” opera house started in the following month, and did not reach its completion before some time in mid- 1781, although the first premiere took place as early as February 1781. An exciting document, the financial summary of the construction, prepared by the court administration in May 1781, came to light recently in the Forchtenstein (Burgenland, Austria) archives of the princely Esterházy family (now Esterházysches
Privatarchiv Forchtenstein). The document is written on both pages of a single sheet. Its most important part is a table which, among other things, tells us about the numbers (easily identifiable for the researcher of the archives) of the nearly one hundred decisions connected with the construction; enlists the craftsmen
that had carried out the work, from masons, locksmiths and cabinet- maker to stone- cutters, painters, mirror makers, plasterers and gilders etc.; and, finally, sums up for us the entire expenditure itself. Accordingly, the sum- total reached 59,403 Gulden and 51 Kreutzer. The back page of the document explains that the actual value is higher, an estimated sum of 84,000 Gulden because of various extra expenses. This document, hitherto not known to Haydn research, offers an extremely valuable tool, a genuine instruction for use, to the scholar of the hundreds of financial documents in the Forchtenstein archives, which contain a huge amount of fascinating details (like dimensions, materials or amounts) concerning the building and the stage machinery of Haydn’s second opera house.


János Malina was born in Budapest in 1948. He studied mathematics at the Budapest University of Sciences and musicology at the Liszt Academy. His wide- ranging activities include editing of music, performing of Baroque music with his own group Affetti Musicali, doing music journalism and organising festivals. János Malina has been the president of the Hungarian Haydn society since 1996. For the last 15 years he has concentrated on the question of Haydn, Eszterháza and the Eszterháza opera house. He is the artistic director of the “Haydn at Eszterháza” festival, he was the vice- president of the Réseau Européen de Musique Ancienne (REMA) between 2008 and 2010, he founded the International Opera Foundation Eszterháza (IOFE) in 2006, and, with colleagues from IOFE, in 2009 he started researching into the archival documents connected with the stage machinery and decorations of the second Eszterháza opera house, the first results of which generated a lively interest among the international Haydn scene.


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