Archive for November, 2007

Kodály and Bartók, 2 Short Chamber Pieces

Sunday, November 4th, 2007

Bartók and KodályZoltán Kodály and Belá Bartók are considered the founding fathers of modern Hungarian art music. In the first decades of the 20th century, both men, separately and in combined forces, gathered hundreds of wax cylinder recordings of peasant folk music throughout territories surrounding their home land that today lie within the boundaries of contemporary Hungary, Romania and Slovakia. Bartók ranged farther into the Balkans and even North Africa. With their highly systematic methods of collection, notation, categorization and cross-comparison, (more…)

György Ligeti, Horn Trio, “Hommage à Brahms”

Sunday, November 4th, 2007

György Ligeti, 1923-2006

Trio for Horn, Violin and Piano, “Hommage à Brahms”, 1982

György LigetiGyörgy Ligeti was born and raised in the Transylvania region of Romania of Jewish, Hungarian parents in what was then, because of historical and political boundary shuffling after WWI, a largely Hungarian area with a significant Jewish population. This was the same region in which Bartók found the compelling pentatonic folk melodies he and Kodály considered to be the oldest stratum of traditional Hungarian music. With early musical influences from his father and brother, Ligeti took up the piano in his teens and began studying at the conservatory in Cluj, Romania. (more…)

Brahms, Piano Quartet No. 1 in g minor, Op. 25

Sunday, November 4th, 2007

Johannes Brahms, 1833-1897

Piano Quartet No. 1 in g minor, Op. 25, 1861

Brahms rounds out our program of Hungarian (and Hungarian inspired) music by representing the European classical and romantic eras prior to Kodály and Bartók where stylized “Gypsy” music lent an exotic, rustic and presumably Hungarian folk element to the music of numerous composers from Mozart, Haydn, Beethoven, Hummel and Weber to Liszt, Brahms and Ravel. Among the most obvious and cherished examples, Haydn wrote a piano trio nicknamed “The Gypsy Rondo” while Liszt (who was Hungarian) wrote his virtuosic Hungarian Rhapsodies and Brahms, his own Hungarian Dances. Like Haydn’s trio, the finale of Brahms’ Piano Quartet No. 1 in g minor is also a “Gypsy Rondo”, but it is instructive to compare the two composers’ actual titles. (more…)