Magyar Zene Music Quarterly
Vol. 51 , No. 1 - February 2013
The whole issue (pdf)
Berlioz and Wagner
Épisodes de la vie des artistes
When Wagner arrived in Paris in 1839, he would already have known the name and perhaps some of the work of Berlioz, whom he met at that time and with whom he would maintain cordial if distant relations for the next thirty years. This article traces this and subsequent encounters, in Dresden in 1843, in London in 1855, in Paris on the many later occasions the German composer visited the French capital, in their relations with their loyal friend Franz Liszt, and in writing: both men wrote criticism and short stories, both were influential conductors and theorized about orchestral conducting, and both produced memoirs of historical importance. That Berlioz knew no German made it difficult for him to appreciate Wagner’s work, as Wagner himself, ten years younger than the Frenchman, pointed out. That the mature Wagner felt he had entered a musical future that Berlioz did not share made it difficult for him to maintain his early enthusiasm for the music and empathy for the man. His final comment on Berlioz, probably sketched shortly after Berlioz’s death in the spring of 1869, is tortured, and perhaps representative of a kind of affection mixed with fear, a „Liebesangst,” that characterized Wagner’s feelings towards the French nation itself.
Peter Bloom is author of The Life of Berlioz (Cambridge University Press) and editor of five collections of essays on Berlioz and his era including Berlioz: Scenes from the Life and Work (University of Rochester Press). He is editor of volumes 7 (Lélio ou Le Retour à la vie) and 24 (Grand Traité d’instrumentation et d’orchestration modernes) of the New Berlioz Edition (Bärenreiter) and coeditor of the Dictionnaire Berlioz (Flammarion). His study of Berlioz and Shakespeare appeared in volume XI (2012) of Great Shakespeareans (Continuum). He is a member of the editorial board of the Critique musicale d’Hector Berlioz (Buchet/Chastel) and is preparing volume IX of Berlioz’s Correspondance générale (Flammarion). Bloom is the Grace Jarcho Ross 1933 Professor of Humanities at Smith College, in Northampton, Massachusetts.
Musorgsky’s Forgotten Songs
Among the late songs of Modest Musorgsky the five composed in 1877 to poems by Aleksey Konstantinovich Tolstoy constitute a special group. Their music is of an evenly high standard, though not so powerful as that of the three song cycles. Still, the composer’s experimental side is still strongly present. Can we consider these five compositions to be Musorgsky’s fourth song cycle? If we can, are they possibly connected psychologically to the neighbouring song cycles Sunless (1874) and Songs and Dances of Death (1875-77) with their bleak death- poetry? What did the 38 year- old Musorgsky seek and find in the poetry of Aleksey Tolstoy? What is the reason for these Tolstoy songs being so forgotten, neither receiving concert performances nor being recorded? The present article, which is part of a larger study of the songs of Musorgsky, searches for the answers to these questions.
Symmetry, Circularity and Linear Thinking
The Question of Form in Arnold Schönberg’s Die glückliche Hand
Music history has often regarded Arnold Schönberg’s 1908–1918 period
as a unique phase inspired by expressionism. As a consequence
musicologists point to the characteristics of atonal music, such as
aphoristic brevity, fragmentation and the lack of thematic and motivic
elaboration, and even its negation in works ranging from miniatures to
Ádám Ignácz (b.1981), musical aesthetician. From 2008 to 2012 he was a scholarship student in the doctorate school at Budapest Eötvös Loránd University. His dissertation entitled Composers on the stage. The problem of the portayal of musicians in operas by Scriabin, Schönberg and Pfitzner was submitted last year. From 2006 he was a student at Erasmus College and later was head of a group researching musical aesthetics there, as well as being the chief organizer of the musicological conference here and there in music. From 2008 he taught as a doctoral candidate and a guest lecturer at various universities. From 2007 he has regularly taken part in conferences in Hungary and abroad, as well as writing contributions for Hungarian, German and English periodicals and specialist publications. Since January 2013 he has been a research fellow of the Archive and Research Group for 20th and 21st Century Music under Anna Dalos at the Hungarian Academy of Sciences’ Institute for Musicology.
Thoughts on „Music...”
In 1936 Paul Sacher asked Béla Bartók to compose a new work for the
celebratory concert to be organized to mark the tenth anniversary of the
Basel Chamber Orchestra. Bartók replied very promptly; apparently he
already had plans for a fairly large- scale piece, so this commission
was opportune. From the surviving manuscript material the genesis of the
work is clearly traceable. When he wrote down the first few bars Bartók
may still have had in mind a string quartet, but he soon altered it to a
string orchestra apparatus, and in fact while he was writing bar 35 of
the first movement he decided to use timpani as well. As he composed the
second movement he added further instruments to the apparatus, and he
referred to these in his reply to Sacher. It is also clear that to begin
with he wrote the whole of the first movement without the celesta part.
In the end the title of the work was rather peculiar: „Musik für
Saiteninstrumente, Schlagzeug und Celesta” („Music for Strings,
Percussion and Celesta”) or the French translation of this (with minor
discrepancies, with or without diacritics and accents, in various
editions of the parts, the spelling in the different Hungarian
translations being even more diverse). The question may be raised, why
in the title is separate mention made of the celesta, which is generally
ranked in the percussion section of symphony orchestras (similarly to
the glockenspiel with keyboard). Did Bartók not regard it as a proper
percussion instrument? This cannot be ruled out. It is possible,
however, that in this work the tone colour of the celesta was of
particular importance to him, and also that under no circumstances
should this instrument be replaced by any other (for instance, the
above- mentioned glockenspiel).
Sándor Kovács (b.1949) studied piano and musicology at the Ferenc Liszt Academy of Music, Budapest. After graduating he taught there, becoming head of the Department of Musicology in 2005. In addition he worked at the Bartók Archives at the Institute for Musicology of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences (until 2001), taught and still teaches at the Béla Bartók Musical Institute at Miskolc University (heading the Institute from 2001 to 2005), and since 1997 has been the editor and programme planner for Hungarian Radio’s weekly New Musical News.
A Folkloric Collage Jettisoned
The Original Version of the First Movement of György Ligeti’s Violin Concerto (1990)
The genesis of the Violin Concerto (1990–1992) was, similarly to that
of any of Ligeti’s large- scale works composed after 1985, no easy
story. Like the Piano Concerto’s premiere in 1986, the first performance
of the Violin Concerto on 3 November 1990 in Cologne was incomplete,
since only three of the planned five movements had been written by that
time. But while in the case of the Piano Concerto, Ligeti simply added
two more movements to the already existing three without significantly
altering them, he substantially revised the Violin Concerto by
rearranging the sequence of the movements and recomposing them.
According to him, the main reasons for that thorough revision were the
„too many layers and metrical complexities” in the original version and
„its rather folkloric atmosphere.”
Márton Kerékfy (1981) studied musicology and composition at the Ferenc Liszt Academy of Music, Budapest, and, after receiving his degree, he was PhD student at the same institution. The subject of his forthcoming PhD dissertation is going to be the influence of folk music in György Ligeti’s oeuvre. He has been on the staff of the Budapest Bartók Archives since 2005.
Memories of Bartók
Ágnes Gádor, the editor of this article, discovered a dossier at the Music Academy, Budapest containing some unpublished writings by Margit Prahács that for the most part deal with musical history and the history of style, as well as including the typescript of part of a book on stylistic problems in music. Some of these writings may have been delivered as lectures. The text published here was written around 1961- 62 and given as a lecture to Danish music teachers.
Margit Prahács (1893– 1974): musicologist and aesthetician. At
the Music Academy, Budapest she studied piano under Emánuel Hegyi,
receiving her piano teacher’s diploma in 1917. In 1925 she gained her
doctorate in aesthetics at the Péter Pázmány University in Budapest.
From 1926 to 1927 she studied on a scholarship at the Collegium
Hungaricum in Berlin. On her return to Hungary she taught the piano at
the Fodor School of Music. From 1928 to 1961 she was chief librarian at
the Music Academy and from 1937 also a privat- docent at Péter Pázmány
University. In the 1930s she pursued research into musical aesthetics
and later Liszt research. Important publications: A muzikalitás lelki
feltételei [The Psychological
The Veszprém Pontifical
Research on mediaeval liturgical music is mostly restricted to the Divine Office and the Mass. Scholarly interest in Gregorian chant usually pays little attention to the music associated with other ceremonies. One of the most important reasons for this phenomenon is that the majority of the surviving sources are either Graduals or Antiphonals, that is, codices containing the music for Mass and the Divine Office. The research and study of other notated mediaeval liturgical books is still an on- going process. As part of this effort the Veszprém Pontifical is now being prepared for publication. Among the Ordos of Pontificals we find precious little of notated chant material; and the items we do encounter are usually not specific to Pontificals but are borrowed from elsewhere, typically from the Divine Office. Most of the musical material in Pontificals is contained in the longest episcopal ceremony: the Dedication of churches. In the present treatise we publish the results of the liturgiological and musicological study of the Veszprém Pontifical, offering a more in- depth inquiry of the chant material associated with the ceremony of dedicating churches. In our comparative analysis we made use of numerous Pontificals from abroad and the chant material of the local (Hungarian) version of the Divine Office. In our experience the Veszprém Pontifical’s liturgical order and melodic variants show significant differences both from the foreign parallels and the general Hungarian norms.
Ágnes Szaszovszky (1982) is a researcher of mediaeval liturgical chant and an active church musician. She studied at the Department of Church Music of the Liszt Academy of Music in Budapest and at the Department of Music of the Loránd Eötvös University of Sciences. Besides the university courses she attended, she also studied Latin, paleography and liturgical studies. After graduating, she was a DLA student of the Doctoral School for Church Music. Her thesis on the Dedication Ordo of the Veszprém Pontifical is about to be examined. Since 2005, she published scholarly and practical editions of notated liturgical sources and became an expert in transcribing both mediaeval Latin book- hands and musical notations. For four years – as a member of a research team dealing with mediaeval Hungarian Pontificals – she was engaged on the musical and liturgical analysis of the Dedication Ordo. However, her interest extended to other Ordines and she has published papers on the Coronation ceremonies too. She took part in another research project run by the Institute for Musicology (Hungarian Academy of Sciences), regarding the mediaeval and early modern Graduals of Zagreb. She is a founding member of the Capitulum Laicorum Sancti Michaelis Archangeli, a civil association which is working on the reinvigoration of the liturgical Use of mediaeval Hungary. Since 2011 she has been the chapter’s musical leader, in charge of conducting, solo- singing and musical planning.