Magyar Zene Music Quarterly
Vol. 54 , No. 4 - November 2016
The whole issue (pdf)
‘The Postmodern Mindset, Musicology and the Future of Bach Scholarship
The English original of this text entitled ‘The Postmodern Mindset, Musicology and the Future of Bach Scholarship’ appeared in the Understanding Bach Journal 1 (2006), http://www.bachnetwork.co.uk/ub1/butt.pdf, 9–18.
John Butt holds the Gardiner Chair of Music at the University
of Glasgow. His research has ranged
Bachian Invention and its Mechanisms
The complexity of the music of J. S. Bach becomes remarkably
transparent as soon as one discovers the relevant building blocks on
which a particular genre of music is erected. Many kinds of Bach works –
fugues, arias, choruses and concerto movements – involve the crafting of
musical ideas that are repeated and varied in disciplined ways
throughout an entire movement. Whereas some variations are only
decorations in which the original meaning remains intact, others
‘inflect’ an idea in ways that alters its meaning, a meaning that could
not be predicted without serious mental effort.
Laurence Dreyfus is the author of Bach’s Continuo Group (1987) and Bach and the Patterns of Invention (1996), the latter winning the Kinkeldey Prize of the American Musicological Society for the best book of the year. Since then Dreyfus published his third book with Harvard University Press, Wagner and the Erotic Impulse (2010). Dreyfus taught at Yale, Stanford, King’s College London and Oxford University, where he became Professor Emeritus in 2015. He now makes his home in Berlin, a new base for his acclaimed viol consort Phantasm, which has won numerous international prizes for its recordings, and plays concerts around the world.
‘Poetry Will Lose What Music Gains’
The Conflict of Symmetrical Form and Text Setting by J. S. Bach
The notion of symmetry played a special role in J. S. Bach’s musical thinking. Several examples may be cited of Bach’s preoccupation with the symmetrical disposition of musical events, either at the level of the overall form of a cyclical work (the early cantata BWV 106 or the Symbolum Nicenum section of the B minor Mass, are just two examples from the chronological extremes of Bach’s oeuvre), or at the level of one musical movement, one of the most spectacular examples being the soprano- alto duet from cantata BWV 91. It seems that in this case musical symmetry was a more important compositional concern for Bach than the coherence of the text setting. The article considers several questions: Why did Bach disregard proper text setting in the duet of BWV 91? How did Bach decide when text setting and musical form should collide with each other? And how did 18th century poets react to the artistic licence of composers?
Gergely Fazekas is a Hungarian musicologist and editor. He studied literature and philosophy at Eötvös Loránd University and musicology at the Liszt Academy, where as associate professor he now teaches music history. Since 2013 he has also been working as editor- in- chief at the music publishing house Rózsavölgyi & Co (founded in 1850).
‘Singet dem Herrn ein altes Lied’
In Search of the Lost Parts of a Bach Cantata
The surviving manuscript score of Bach’s first New Year’s cantata
written in Leipzig does not contain the first two movements of the
composition, from which only the choral parts and the two violin parts
have come down to us. The parts for the three trumpets, timpani, three
oboes, bassoon, viola and continuo are all lost. What is left is so
incomplete and the loss of information so dramatic that we might think a
performance of the first movement would be out of the question. At the
same time, a reconstruction doesn’t seem impossible; so far, no fewer
than eight editors have attempted to make the fragment performable. In
principle, the possibility of a reconstruction is guaranteed by the form
of the movement (a fugue inserted in a concerto structure) and the
technique of choral insertion. The latter means that, at the repeat of
the orchestral introduction, Bach ‘inserted’ the chorus into the
orchestra by incorporating the orchestral parts in the chorus. Thus,
even though many of the orchestral parts are lost, one may expect to be
able to reconstruct them from the choral material. Several of these
reconstructions seem surprisingly original and authentic; one almost
feels to have boarded a time machine and been transported to Leipzig for
the premiere on January 1, 1724. This illusion is due to two factors,
beyond the undoubtedly high professional level of the reconstructions:
first, the singular level of saturation, harmonic tension, thematic
concentration and organization of Bach’s music; and second, the
convincing interpretations of inspired conductors. The present article
pursues the ambitious goal of perfecting the above- mentioned ‘time
machine’ as the next step in a process that can never be brought to a
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 mûvészete filozófiai-teológiai hátterérôl. Budapest: Gramofon könyvek, 2009; Bach’s Testament. On the Philosophical and Theological Background of the Art of Fugue. Contextual Bach Studies 4, Scarecrow Press, 2013.
RICHARD D. P. JONES
’His superior ideas are the consequences of those inferior ones’. Influence and Independence in Bach’s Early Creative Development
The English original of this text entitled ‘His superior ideas are the consequences of those inferior ones’: Influence and Independence in Bach’s Early Creative Development appeared in the Understanding Bach Journal 3 (2008), 31–38.; http://www.bachnetwork.co.uk/ub3/JONES.pdf.
Richard D. P. Jones is an English musicologist, especially a Bach scholar well known for his editions and translations, among which are the edition of Clavierübung I (Neue Bach-Ausgabe), the edition of Das Wohltemperierte Klavier (Associated Board), and his translation of Alfred Dürr’s classic Die Kantaten von J. S. Bach. His two- volume work The Creative Development of J. S. Bach was published in 2007 and 2013 by Oxford University Press.
Musical Experiences of a Count from Transylvania in Europe, 1759–1761
Count Joseph Teleki (1738, Huszt – 1796, Szirák), Lord Lieutenant [supremus comes] of the County Ugocsa, Guard of the Royal Crown, art collector, was one of the most cultured aristocrats of his time. In the course of his European travels – a period of nearly two years – he explored Germany, Switzerland, The Netherlands, and spent wellnigh half a year in Paris. He gained amazingly wide experiences, and gave account of everything meticulously in his Diary, written in learned Hungarian language. He met Voltaire, Rousseau, d’Alembert, and other notable personalities; beyond a scientific interest, he was attracted by the arts as well. A player of the violin, he was a passionate music- lover: he attended concerts, opera and theatrical performances on a regular level. His colourful, often humorous descriptions reflect the musical life of the Europe of the years around 1760, through the glasses of a Hungarian nobleman.
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.
Genre and Form
Beethoven’s Fantasia for Piano, Op. 77
As in previous centuries, throughout the 18th century improvisational freedom remained the main formal feature of the fantasia. C. P. E. Bach, in his Versuch, defined free fantasia as a composition often loosely organized in bars and employing a wide range of both metres and tonalities as compared to other pieces. By comparison, the fantasias of Mozart (the only one he completed in C minor, K 475 and the three unfinished fantasias, including the most famous one in D minor, K 397) moved far more in the direction of structured form. Beethoven used the term ‘fantasia’ in the title of a number of his works; however, he published only a single piece composed for solo piano using the indication ‘fantasia’: the piece in G minor, Op. 77. The work is probably the revised version of the improvised fantasia he performed on 22 December 1808 at the concert of the Akademie. Compared to other pieces with fantasia- like features but a more bound structure, Op. 77 appears as a convincing example of Beethoven’s improvisatory skills in terms of both instrumental technique and formal organization.
Pál Richter was born in Budapest, graduated from the Liszt Ferenc University of Music as a musicologist in 1995, and obtained a PhD degree in 2004. His special field of research is 17th century music of Hungary, and conducted his PhD research in the same subject. Other main fields of his interest are Hungarian folk music, classical and 19th century music theory and multimedia in music education. Since 1990 he has been involved in the computerized cataloguing of the folk music collection of the Institute for Musicology of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences and has participated in ethnographic field research, too. From 2005 he was the head of Folk Music Archives, and recently has become the director of the Institute of Musicology, Research Centre for the Humanities HAS. He regularly delivers papers at conferences abroad, publishes articles and studies and teaches music theory and the study of musical forms at the Liszt Ferenc University of Music in Budapest. Since 2007 he has been directing the new folk music training, and is the head of the Folk Music Department.