Magyar Zene Music Quarterly
Vol. 52 , No. 4 - November 2014
In the Workshop of Institutional Chant Research in Hungary
In one of his last writings Benjamin Rajeczky discusses the research history of Gregorian chant in terms of 30- year periods (the usual time span of a generation). Starting from the end of the 19th century he arrives at Peter Wagner’s comprehensive works, and continues with a discussion of the following tricennium (from the 50s), which was completed by the significant articles in Musik in Geschichte und Gegenwart. While in Wagner’s opus the history of Gregorian chant appeared as a well- definable group of phenomena, in the articles of MGG it was rather the open questions and contentious issues that prevailed. The lack of knowledge and sufficient source material were felt and emphasized in each research area, e.g. concerning the initial evolution of the chant repertory, the history of the individual genres, the difference between the universal core repertory and local traditions, etc. Hungarian chant research began to develop along this path and formed its scholarly programmes and long- term strategies accordingly. Each project was directed towards a comprehensive study of the medieval Hungarian chant tradition, the systematic collection of its sources, the transcription and categorization and publication of all its melodies according to genre. These aims were realized in the formation of the different collections (microfilm collection, medieval melody collection, historical song collection), the musical classification and complete edition of the repertories of several genres (hymns and sequences, antiphons, responsories, ordinary chants) as well as in some other important projects and publications (Hungarian Music History I, Notated Sources of Hungarian Middle Ages, Music Notation in Medieval Hungary, etc.). A precondition for such work of unusually great dimensions is the institutional background. Some of the main projects began under the auspices of the Folk Music Research Group founded by Zoltán Kodály, and none of these ambitious plans could have been carried out without the stable institutional background that the later Institute of Musicology provided for them.
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.
From Brassó to Eperjes, from Patak to Sopron
A Sketching Survey of the Research Work Done by the Institute for Musicology over the Past Forty Years into the Homophonic and Polyphonic Vocal and Instrumental Music of the 16th and 17th Centuries
The first and second volumes of the series Magyarország
zenetörténete (History of Music in Hungary) were published in 1988
and 1990. Editing both volumes required extensive work involving the
exploration of sources and their assortment. Much of the work needed for
the second volume containing the music of the 16th and 17th centuries
remained yet to be done when the volume appeared. This brief survey
describes the work done since. – In Hungary one of the achievements of
the reformation was the appearance of congregational hymn books in
Hungarian, followed by songbooks containing secular songs, epic songs
and love songs. The Hungarian hymns and secular songs of the 16th
century were publish in 1958 by Kálmán Csomasz Tóth, since when an
important source, the Gál Huszár songbook (1560) has been found, on the
basis of which a new augmented edition is being prepared taking its song
repertoire into account. The liturgical items translated from the Latin
Gregorian chant and used by the protestants survive in graduals and
gradual- like songbooks. At the centre of research stands also the
compilation of the graduals, further the musical and linguistic
presentation. One of the graduals, the Eperjes gradual, has
notated in it, alongside items of chant in Hungarian and congregational
hymns, also German cantios, Geneva psalms, passions in four vocal parts
and new compositions from Hungary with Hungarian texts.
Ilona Ferenczi, researcher of the Institute for Musicology of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, former lecturer at the F. Liszt University of music in Budapest (the history of Hungarian music, paleography, the connections between folk and art music). Her main field of research is centred on Hungarian music of the 16th and 17th centuries, both vocal and instrumental. She has published sources in the series Musicalia Danubiana and studies in Magyar Zene, Studia Musicologica, Slovenska hudba, Jahrbuch für Liturgik und Hymnologie and in several miscellanies.
Tonus primus in Haydn’s Instrumental Music
The fundamental systems of music theory, established in certain
historical periods, have a long life of their own, and often survive the
changes that happen in the development of the musical language. This
phenomenon is clearly manifest in the long process that led from the
modal to the tonal organization of music. The Bible of contrapuntal
studies for all eighteenth- century composers, Fux’s Gradus ad Parnassum
(1725), was still based on modal theory, and the medieval hexachord
system. Considered somewhat out of date in its own time, the treatise
was of fundamental importance in the early education of Joseph Haydn.
The Alpha in the art of counterpoint, the cantus firmus in mode 1 (tonus
primus) with its various contrapuntal species, dearly remained a model
of learned composition for Haydn.
Katalin Komlós, musicologist and fortepiano recitalist, received her diploma at the Musicology Department of the Liszt Academy of Music in Budapest. She has been on the faculty of the same insitution since 1973; at present, she is Professor Emerita. Katalin Komlós received her PhD degree in musicology from Cornell University in 1986 (“The Viennese Keyboard Trio in the 1780s”). As a result of further scholarly achievements, she became Doctor of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences in 1998. Prof. Komlós has written extensively on the history of eighteenth- century keyboard instruments and styles. Her book Fortepianos and Their Music was published by Oxford University Press in 1995. Recently, her name has appeared among the contributors to The Cambridge Companion to Mozart (2003), The Cambridge Companion to Haydn (2005), Mozart’s Chamber Music with Keyboard (Cambridge, 2012), and Engaging Haydn: Culture, Context, and Criticism (Cambridge, 2012). In addition to research and teaching, Prof. Komlós has pursued a fortepianist concert career as well.
The Venues and Decline of the Accademies at Eszterháza in Haydn’s Time
In commemoration of the 300th anniversary of the birth of Nicholas
Esterházy “The Magnificent”, the author examines numerous 18th- century
sources to determine whether they confirm the present practice of
calling a first- floor hall of the Fertôd (Eszterháza) palace the “music
room”. The answer is no, but we learn that the neighbouring ceremonial
hall was used by Empress Maria Theresa for a banquet with some music-
making in 1773, and that two more spaces on the ground- floor level
served regularly as the “Sommermusiksaal”.
János Malina (b. 1948) studied mathematics and musicology. He has been active as an editor, journalist and music critic. As the president of the Hungarian Haydn Society, he was the artistic director of the “Haydn at Eszterháza” festival between 1998 and 2009. Since 2009 he has been conducting research into various aspects of the operatic and musical life of Haydn’s Eszterháza.
The First World War – Music History’s “Seminal Catastrophe”?
As we know, in 1979 the American historian and diplomat George F. Kennan called the First World War “the great seminal catastrophe of this century”. Was this war the “seminal catastrophe” for music history also? And if so, in what way? Towards answering this question I would like to contribute some thoughts, on two quite different levels. Today, in a globalized world, one cannot discuss the first “world war” on a national basis; one should pursue international research, as the latest books by Christopher Clark, Herfried Münkler and Jörn Leonhard demonstrate. The first level lies conceptually in a sacrificial semantics – in Latin victima or sacrificium – which reveals itself in Arnold Schönberg in a close connection between scandal and war, or peace. The second level touches on the historiography of music after the First World War: I propose that we cannot conceive of the world war only as an eruption of a new system of genres (according to Carl Dahlhaus, the sign marking off a historical period), but rather as the implosion of a musical culture, one which should be understood as a global genesis of partly overlapping, partly independently existing musical part- cultures (the creation culture of new music: avantgarde; the compositional culture of new music: modernity; traditional musical culture; the culture of interpretation; multimedia sound culture; jazz and dance culture); in other words as a “seminal catastrophe” indeed.
Hermann Danuser (b. 1946) from 1965 studied music (oboe and piano), musicology, philosophy and German Studies at Zurich (Ph. D. 1973; a book Musikalische Prosa 1975), after which he settled in Berlin, where he habilitated in 1982 at the Technical University (Die Musik des 20. Jahrhunderts, 1984). Afterwards he taught at Hannover and Freiburg im Breisgau, and among his publications were Gustav Mahler und seine Zeit (1991); Musikalische Interpretation (1992); Im Zenit der Moderne (1997); Musikalische Lyrik (2004). From 1993 to 2014 he taught in the Faculty of Historical Musicology at Humboldt University. Alongside this he coordinates research at the Paul Sacher Stiftung at Basle, and is a member of the Berlin- Brandenburgische Akademie der Wissenschaften and the committe of the Ernst von Siemens- Musikstiftung. His main areas of research are: new and recent music history, historiography, aesthetics, music theory, analysis and interpretation research. His recent publications are Weltanschauungsmusik (2009) and Gesammelte Vorträge und Aufsätze (edited by Hans- Joachim Hinrichsen et al., 4 volumes, 2014). A book entitled Metamusik is in preparation.
The Performances of Music Given by OMIKE 1939–1944
After nearly forty years of unsuccessful attempts, OMIKE (National Hungarian Israelite Cultural Society) began to operate in 1909. It functioned not only in culture, but also undertook wide- ranging charity work. In the autumn of 1939 under the title Mûvészakció (Artists Action) it began giving performances, so that after the introduction of the second anti- Jewish law (1938), that is after people of Jewish origin were deprived of almost all means of earning a living, it could provide artists debarred from following their careers with opportunities to earn money and perform. At the time more than 4000 intellectuals in the humanities, journalists, actors, musicians, artists and teachers were dismissed from their jobs. From the autumn of 1939 until March 19th 1944 – when the Germans entered Hungary and all Jewish societies were prohibited – at least 700 performances were organized. These included the appearances of at least 184 actors, more than 100 musicians, and at least 20 writers and poets, not counting those by children and choir members. During these four and a half years at least 300.000 spectators were present at the theatrical performances, concerts and exhibitions. Most of the events were held at No. 7 Wesselényi street – which still exists – in what was called the Károly Goldmark hall, which held a maximum of 382 people. It had a tiny stage devoid of practically all technical equipment and no orchestra pit, but still complete operas, symphonies and plays were given there in performances of mesmerising quality. Several dozen plays were programmed and very many prose readings and cabaré performances were organized. 25 different operas were performed (among them such demanding works as Fidelio and Aida), 118 symphony concerts and 34 chamber recitals. Among those who took part were the greatest Hungarian artists of the time. Contemporary works were included, for example the Hungarian première of Bartók’s Divertimento was given there. Works by Kodály were also played, and he himself attended the concert devoted to him and his music. From a survey of the programmes it becomes clear that the OMIKE Mûvészakció was not religious in character. The “culture consumption” habits within that sphere of society did not differ in their essentials from the habits of the majority of Hungarians. Culturally speaking the greater part of Budapest Jewry had long ago become completely assimilated into the society of the majority of the population. The heroic history of OMIKE was thus not primarily that of the Jews, but the history – if not exactly praiseworthy – of all Hungarians.
János Mácsai graduated in Musicology in 1987 at the Liszt Academy. Previous to that he studied instrument- making, specializing in the repairing of keyboard instruments. At the end of the 1980s he continued his studies in Holland, where he learned instrument restoration. For 15 years he worked at the Institute for Musicology, and starting after 2000 he has been a free- lance music historian and instrument- repairer. During the last decade and a half he has been active as an editor and presenter on the radio and before that on television. He primarily makes critical and informative programmes about music, and portraits of musicians. At one time he taught at the University of Dramatic Art and now he teaches at the University of Art.
From Improvisations to Csongor and Tünde
Attila Bozay’s Experimental Phase (1971–1984)
Attila Bozay’s (1939–1999) opera, Csongor and Tünde (1984) marks a turning point in the composer’s career. His constant references to musical tradition, the reflections on the history of the operatic genre as well as the abandoning of his experimental attitude must be sought for in the characteristics of his creative phase beginning in 1971. My study aims at examining the most significant compositions of Bozay’s afore- mentioned period – Pezzo concertato no. 2 (Op. 24, 1974–75), Pezzo sinfonico no. 2 (op. 25, 1975–76), and Solo (Op. 30/a, 1978) – and at finding signs that point towards stylistic changes in these pieces taking place in the composer’s workshop. I concentrate mainly on signs which prove that Bozay couldn’t entirely identify himself with the experimental mode of thinking. My investigation reveals that Csongor and Tünde consciously takes sides against Bozay’s former stylistic approaches and experimental modernism.
Anna Dalos (PhD) studied musicology at the Franz Liszt Academy of Music, Budapest, from 1993 to 1998. Between 1998 and 2002 she attended the Doctoral Programme in Musicology at the same institution. She spent a year on a German exchange (DAAD) scholarship at the Humboldt University, Berlin (1999–2000). She is currently working at the Institute of Musicology of the Research Centre for the Humanities of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences. She has been a lecturer at the DMA Programme of the Franz Liszt Academy of Music since 2007 and visiting lecturer at the International Zoltán Kodály Pedagogical Institute of Music, Kecskemét since 2010. Her research focuses on 20th- century Hungarian music, and the history of composition and musicology in Hungary. She has published articles on these subjects as well as short monographs on several Hungarian composers (Pál, Kadosa, György Kósa, Rudolf Maros). Her book on Zoltán Kodály’s poetics was published in 2007 in Budapest. In 2012 she won the “Lendület” grant of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, which made possible the foundation of the Archives and Research Group for 20th- 21st- Century Hungarian Music.
Emil Lichtenberg and His Musical Ensembles
The name Emil Lichtenberg (1874–1944) is today known only in fairly restricted circles, but his work as a performer and musical writer without doubt played a role in helping Hungary’s choral and oratorio culture, and more broadly its concert life, attain the level it enjoys today. The article focuses on the societies that he founded: the Budapest Choral and Orchestral Society, which began in 1919 as an amalgamation of the Hungarian Women’s Choral Society (1907), the Budapest Choral Society (1911) and the Budapest Orchestral Society (1914). The article provides information about the repertoire of Lichtenberg’s ensembles, making use of contemporary sources and reminiscences from after the 2nd World War – giving special attention to the first Hungarian performances of works, or those heard after a long absence, the role he played in educating audiences and his lectures and publications on music. An attempt is made to reconstruct his performing style with the aid of contemporary comment in the press and the surviving material used in performance. Apart from this, the organizational structure of the Society is presented, its everyday workings, and its role and function in the society and concert life of its time.
Zsombor Németh studied musicology at the Liszt Academy between 2008 and 2013, and at present is studying for a PhD. The main focus of his interests are the music of the 17th and 18th centuries, and its reception history in the 19th and 20th centuries. The titles of his dissertations were Johann Georg Pisendel and ritornello form: opening movements of concerti in the wake of Vivaldi (BA), and Zoltán Kodály’s Bach reception (MA). Last year he gave a conference paper on Sándor Jemnitz and early music. He is taking part in the work done by the MTA BTK Institute for Musicology’s „Lendület” Archives and Research Group for 20th–21st Century Hungarian Music, and the Bartók Archives. Aside from his work as a scholar he is active as a violinist, primarily as a performer of the music he is focussing on, playing period instruments.