Magyar Zene Music Quarterly

 

 

 

 

Magyar Zene

Hungarian Language Music Quarterly

 

Vol. 55 , No. 1 - February 2017

 

 

Contents

 

Interview

 

ZOLTÁN FARKAS  
„…hogy megismertessem a zongorázni tanuló gyermekeket a népzene egyszerű és nem-romantikus szépségeivel”

Beszélgetés Vikárius Lászlóval és Kerékfy Mártonnal a Bartók- összkiadás első kötetéről

5
‘… To Acquaint the Piano- Studying Children with the Simple and Non-
Romantic Beauties of Folk Music’
A Conversation with László Vikárius and Márton Kerékfy about the First Volume
of the Bartók Complete Critical Edition
(Abstract)
27

Articles

 
VERONIKA KUSZ  
Első világháború – első alkotói krízis?

Dohnányi 1. hegedűversenye

29
First World War – First Creative Crisis?
Dohnányi’s Violin Concerto no. 1 (Abstract)
41
LÁSZLÓ STACHÓ  
A zongoratanár Bartók: módszer és egyéniség 42
Bartók the Piano Teacher: Method and Individuality (Abstract) 63
SÁNDOR KOVÁCS  
Alban Berg zenéjének fogadtatása és hatása Magyarországon 64
The Reception and Influence in Hungary of the Music of Alban Berg
(Abstract)
77
MÁRTON KERÉKFY  
Ligeti- hatások Kurtág György Vonósnégyesében 78
88 Traces of Ligeti in Kurtág’s String Quartet (Abstract) 88
GERGELY LOCH  
A barátposzáta éneke

Szőke Péter „zeneietlen” madarának hangesztétikuma

89
The Song of the Blackcap
Péter Szőke’s ‘Unmusical’ Bird and its Aesthetics of Sound (Abstract)
117

 

 

The whole issue (pdf)

 

 

 

ABSTRACTS

 

 

ZOLTÁN FARKAS

‘… To Acquaint the Piano- Studying Children with the Simple and Non-
Romantic Beauties of Folk Music’
A Conversation with László Vikárius and Márton Kerékfy about the First Volume
of the Bartók Complete Critical Edition

 

In 2016 appeared the first volume, For Children [Gyermekeknek] for piano, of the Béla Bartók Complete Critical Edition. I asked László Vikárius, chief editor of the series, and Márton Kerékfy, chief editor at EMB and one of the editors of the series, about the special features of the published volume and about the series as a whole.
Gyermekeknek is an extremely important work both pedagogically and as a composition. It was in fact Bartók’s first large scale undertaking in which he made use of folk melodic material in a complete set of pieces. The editing of Gyermekeknek is in many respects the model for many other volumes of the Bartók Complete Critical Edition. Since each individual piece is based on either a Hungarian or a Slovak folksong, it was necessary to work out in what manner the various volumes would inform readers concerning the folk music sources employed in Bartók’s works. The introductory study deals with the genesis of the work, and in addition treats in great detail its reception history. It also deals with the most important instances of Bartók’s own recordings of the music and illustrates with music examples typical features of the composer’s performance – rhythm, agogics, tempo changes – together with instances where Bartók diverges from the official musical score. The volume in the complete edition has a separate chapter entitled ‘Notation and interpretation’ addressed to the performer. (This is something unique in a complete critical edition.) It details the characteristics of Bartók’s notation, his use of unusual signs, and includes the commentaries attached to publications of music by other composers edited by Bartók. (For example much is revealed about Bartók the musician by the long commentary which forms an appendix to his instructive edition of the Wohltemperiertes Klavier.)
Gyermekeknek also has a special position in the complete edition because it is unusual in presenting the whole set of pieces in two versions, furthermore in a comparative ‘synoptic’ edition. More than three decades separate the two versions from each other, the first being written between 1908 and 1911 and the second in 1943 when Bartók was in America. The original was a set of eighty- five pieces which was reduced after its revision to seventy-nine pieces. (Bartók omitted some pieces whose folk music sources turned out not to be sufficiently authentic, and also the early version contained some arrangements by Emma Kodály. The Emma Kodály pieces are extremely rare documents of Bartók’s teaching of composition.) László Vikárius discusses in detail the differences between the two versions, and illustrates with music examples taken from the manuscripts of Gyermekeknek the divergences between the 36th and 37th pieces in volume IV, the last volume of the early version, and their revised versions published as No. 32 and No.33.
Also discussed is the Concerto for Orchestra volume due to be published soon, and which will contain a diplomatic transcription of the complete material of Bartók’s sketches and drafts for the work, whose genesis is extremely complex. The Concerto was one of the works which most divided opinion in the Western and Hungarian reception of Bartók’s music, and for this reason great emphasis is given in the volume to describing its reception history.
Attached to the conversation is a table of all the volumes of the Bartók Complete Edition.


László Vikárius directs the Bartók Archives of the Institute for Musicology of the Research Centre for the Humanities of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences and lectures at the Franz Liszt Academy of Music in Budapest. His main field of research is centred on Bartók’s life, his style and, especially, his compositional sources. He has published articles in the Hungarian Quarterly, the International Journal of Musicology, Magyar Zene, the Musical Quarterly, Studia Musicologica and Studien zur Wertungsforschung. His book Modell és inspiráció Bartók zenei gondolkodásában [Model and inspiration in Bartók’s musical thinking] was published in 1999 (Pécs: Jelenkor) and his most recent publications include the facsimile edition of Bartók’s
autograph draft of Duke Bluebeard’s Castle (Budapest: Balassi Kiadó, 2006), available with a commentary in English, Hungarian, German and French. He co- edited, with Vera Lampert, the Somfai Fs (Lanham, Maryland: Scarecrow Press, 2005), the revised English edition of Vera Lampert’s Folk Music in Bartók’s Compositions (Budapest: Helikon, 2008) and, with János Kárpáti and István Pávai, the CD-ROM Bartók and Arab Folk Music (Budapest: European Folklore Institute, 2006). He has also published exhibition catalogues, Bartók and Kodály: anno 1910 (with Anna Baranyi, 2010), Bartók the Folklorist (2014) and Bartók the Pianist (with Virág Büky, 2017). Together with Vera Lampert he has recently completed a comparative edition of Bartók’s For Children (early version, 1909–1911, and revised version, 1943) as the first published volume of the Béla Bartók Complete Critical Edition (vol. 37, 2016); he also serves as editor-in-chief of the series.

 

Márton Kerékfy is research fellow at the Budapest Bartók Archives, editor of the Béla Bartók Complete Critical Edition and editor- in- chief at Editio Musica Budapest. He studied musicology and composition at the Franz Liszt Academy of Music in Budapest and received his PhD in musicology from the same institution. His doctoral thesis (2014) explores the influence of East European folk music in György Ligeti’s music. He has published articles on the music of Ligeti and Bartók in, among others, Tempo, Studia Musicologica and Mitteilungen der Paul Sacher Stiftung. He translated into Hungarian and edited Ligeti’s selected writings (2010), and is co- editor of the forthcoming collection of essays György Ligeti’s Cultural Identities.

 

Zoltán Farkas (b. 1964) studied musicology at the Franz 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. Between 2006 and 2010 he was the director of Radio Bartók, the classical music channel of Hungarian Radio. From 2011 to 2015 he was the intendant of the same institution. Since 2015 he has been musical adviser to the Reformation Memorial Committee and since 2017 editor- inchief of Muzsika, a monthly musical review. His scholarly interests are focused on 18th century music and Hungarian contemporary music. He has published articles on the music of Ligeti, Kurtág and Eötvös in Studia Musicologica, Magyar Zene and Muzsika.

 

Back to top »

 

 

 

VERONIKA KUSZ

First World War – First Creative Crisis?

Dohnányi’s Violin Concerto no. 1

 

Dohnányi started to compose his Violin Concerto no. 1 (op. 27) almost exactly in the days when World War I broke out. Shortly after finishing the piece, he left his former residence, Berlin (where he lived between 1905 and 1915), and also left his first wife and two children to begin a new life with his future second wife, the actress Elsa Galafrés in Hungary. Bálint Vázsonyi, the chronicler of the composer’s life, brought the collapse of Dohnányi’s private life into connection with the death of his strict father, Frigyes Dohnányi in 1909. He also added that several compositions of this period show signs of anxiety, fretfulness and even a lack of concentration. This study examines whether Vázsonyi is right when he talks of a creative crisis around 1910, and whether the Violin Concerto no. 1 still belongs to this crisis though it was actually written shortly after the most troubled years. Also, whether World War I was a direct reason for Dohnányi’s crisis or not is also a question. The investigation of some selected aspects of the work (such as the role of cadenzas, the cyclic organizing, the relationship of the violin and the orchestra and the irony of the scherzo) has a double aim: first, to try and find the place of the work in the history of the genre, and second, to attempt to analyze the work in parallel with the Violin Concerto no. 2, written about 35 years later, and give an account of the change and development of Dohnányi’s compositional style.

 

Veronika Kusz (b. 1980) is a research fellow of the Institute for Musicology of the Research Center for the Humanities of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences. She studied musicology at the Liszt Academy of Music, and defended her PhD dissertation at the same institute in 2010. She was a Fulbright grantee in 2005–2006 working with Dohnányi’s American legacy. Her monograph on Dohnányi’s late years was published in 2015 and was awarded the Academic Youth Award by the Hungarian Academy of Sciences in 2016. She has been a János Bolyai Scholar since 2015.

 

Back to top »

 

 

 

LÁSZLÓ STACHÓ

Bartók the Piano Teacher: Method and Individuality

 

This study on Bartók as piano pedagogue takes its starting point in Bartók’s characterisation of his piano professor at the Royal Academy, István Thomán, written in 1927. In fact, when sketching the pedagogical portrait of Thomán, Bartók outlines his own self- portrait, providing a subtle description of his pedagogical ideal. However, the distance between the ideal and the reality leads to an enlightening explanation of the contradiction clearly perceptible in Bartók’s academy classes: apparently, he did use the pedagogical ‘methods’ attributed to Thomán but exerted a contrary influence on the artistic personality of his students. The method of direct showing (i.e., showing- by- playing), inherited from the Liszt–Thomán lineage and seriously criticized by several influential pedagogues of the era, transformed itself in Bartók’s classroom into a mechanical showing- and- imitating from the 1920’s on when Bartók usually forced his students to imitate his interpretations with a punctilious precision. While it may have seemed to Bartók’s early students that he did indeed encourage their individuality, many (perhaps most) of his later students experienced a paralyzing, or even wrecking, influence. Here I make an attempt to analyse the process of emotional subordination in Bartók’s teaching, based on a comprehensive analysis of recollections of his classes, and I describe Bartók’s mainly unconscious way of teaching the art of execution through an over- precise – and in his later years, almost obsessive – elaboration of musical expression.

 

László Stachó is a musicologist, psychologist, and musician. He teaches and researches at the Liszt Academy of Music (Budapest) and at the Faculty of Music of the University of Szeged. His academic activity involves the teaching of chamber music, music history, music theory and twentieth- century performing practice history, as well as recently introduced subjects in Hungary, such as the psychology of musical performance and Practice Methodology. His research focuses on Bartók analysis, twentieth- century performing practice (especially the performing style of the composer–pianists Bartók and Dohnányi), emotional communication in musical performance, and music pedagogy (effective and creative working and practice methods and enhancement of attentional skills in music performance). Over the past few years, he has been involved in a countrywide planning of music education curricula in Hungary, including the National Core Curriculum and conservatoire curricula. As a pianist and chamber musician, he has performed in several European countries and the US, and conducts Practice Methodology workshops and chamber music coaching sessions at international masterclasses both in Hungary and abroad (including in Britain King’s College London, and regularly in Italy, at the Santa Cecilia Conservatoire, Rome). In 2014 and 2017, he was a Visiting Fellow at the University of Cambridge and Downing College (Cambridge).

 

Back to top »

 

 

 

SÁNDOR KOVÁCS

 

The Reception and Influence in Hungary of the Music of Alban Berg

 

The article sets out to trace the reception history of the music of Alban Berg in Hungary from its begininngs to the end of the 1970s. It discusses the years preceding the First World War, when news of the work of Schönberg reached Budapest, treating in greater detail Berg’s only visit to Budapest in 1928 and the important influence of his music on Bartók. In addition it points out the clear influence Berg had on Hungarian music after the Second World War in the works of Rudolf Maros, Emil Petrovics, and István Vántus.

 

Sándor Kovács (b.1949) studied piano and musicology at the Ferenc Liszt Academy of Music in Budapest. After graduating he taught there and still does. From 2005 to 2015 he was head of the Department of Musicology and recently he has been appointed Chairman of the Doctoral Council of the Academy. In addition he worked in the Bartók Archives at the Institute for Musicology of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences (until 2001), taught at the Béla Bartók Musical Institute at Miskolc University (until 2012), 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.

 

Back to top »

 

 

 

MÁRTON KERÉKFY

88 Traces of Ligeti in Kurtág’s String Quartet

 

On his way home from Paris in July 1958, György Kurtág paid György Ligeti a twoday visit in Cologne. Ligeti introduced him to Stockhausen, who explained to him and played a recording of Gruppen, and Ligeti showed him his most recent composition Artikulation. 35 years later Kurtág said that ‘these two days [had been] musically far richer and more meaningful for me than the entire year in Paris,’ and that in his String Quartet he wanted ‘to formulate in [his] language something similar to what [he] had experienced with Artikulation in Cologne.’ While this article points out some concrete similarities, both technical and aesthetic, between these two works, it also shows that Ligeti’s First String Quartet made an even more profound impact on Kurtág, although he never mentioned this. As I argue, Kurtág’s models when composing his op. 1 included not only Bartók and Webern (as analysed frequently) but also Ligeti.

 

Márton Kerékfy is a research fellow at the Budapest Bartók Archives, editor of the Béla Bartók Complete Critical Edition and editor- in- chief at Editio Musica Budapest. He studied musicology and composition at the Franz Liszt Academy of Music in Budapest and received his PhD in musicology from the same institution. His doctoral thesis (2014) explores the influence of East European folk music in György Ligeti’s
music. He has published articles in, among others, Tempo, Studia Musicologica and Mitteilungen der Paul Sacher Stiftung on the music of Ligeti and Bartók. He has translated into Hungarian and edited Ligeti’s selected writings (2010), and is co- editor of the forthcoming collection of essays György Ligeti’s Cultural Identities.

 

Back to top »

 

 

 

GERGELY LOCH

The Song of the Blackcap

Péter Szőke’s ‘Unmusical’ Bird and its Aesthetics of Sound

 

The author demonstrates the analogy between the work of Péter Szôke, the musicologist who thought he had found ‘micromusic’ in slowed- down birdsong recordings, and Chonosuke Okamura, the paleontologist who thought he had found ‘minimen’ (microscopic human creatures) in 400- million years old limestone, both researchers having been misguided by their own projections. In contrast to Péter Szôke’s ‘Ornithomusicology’, two other approaches to animal music, Dario Martinelli’s ‘Zoomusicology’ and Nils L. Wallin’s ‘Biomusicology’ can be considered as truly scientific theoretical frameworks. However, when examining the assumed immanent musical quality of animal vocalizations, all three researchers turned away from the rich tradition of the human admiration for birdsong, an admiration that doesn’t necessarily depend on analogies in sonic structure, in communicational behaviour or in evolutionary cognitive background, these three being the main concerns for Szôke, Martinelli and Wallin respectively, when comparing human music with animal sounds. Although this turning a cold shoulder to the cultural history of birdsong seems justifiable and necessary in their research, it has had a thwarting consequence in the case of Szôke. As its song didn’t show the physical properties he associated with musicality, Szôke declared the blackcap (Sylvia atricapilla), one of the most beloved of songbirds, to be ‘unmusical’, causing the honest disenchantment of a Hungarian publicist who had been a great enthusiast of blackcap song. This is an exceptionally absurd reaction to a (pseudo)-scientific theory, nevertheless, it’s a symptom of a common bias towards dehumanization in the discourse about the musical quality of animal sounds. The author wants to compensate this bias by an entirely anthropocentric and phenomenological approach, which he illustrates with a case study on the reception history of blackcap song. He presents more than twenty quotes written in seven different languages between the 17th and 20th centuries about the human relation to the blackcap and the specific aesthetic values attributed to its song. In the interpretation of the ascribed qualities the author considers both (psycho)acoustical and sociocultural factors. A significant part is devoted to a recurring element in 18th–19th century literature of ornithology, the ‘song contest’ between the blackcap and the nightingale. As some of the examples demonstrate, various birdsongs can be thought of as ‘acoustical Rorschach tests’, their descriptions being telling about the writers’ auditory culture.

 

Gergely Loch is an Assistant Researcher at the Liszt Academy of Music, Budapest. He studied musicology at the same institution and at the University of Stockholm. Since 2013 he has been lecturing at the Liszt Academy on the history of electroacoustic music and conducting PhD research on the aesthetics of birdsong.

Back to top »