Anna DalosInstitute for Musicology of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Táncsics u. 7, H-1014 Budapest, Hungary

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The year 1955 has a special importance for the compositional thinking in Hungary, because it was the year in which Ernő Lendvai's studies of Béla Bartók appeared (Bartók's Style and An Introduction to the Analysis of Bartók's Works). These writings were intended to prove the modernity of his music, a modernity that was comparable to Western-European dodecaphony and serialism. Hungarian composers, attempting to liberate themselves from the dictatorical aesthetic theory of the fifties, saw in Lendvai's publications a kind of instruction book, a Kompositionslehre which could help them to renew Hungarian composition. Model scales, Bartók's harmonic formulas and the Golden Section were understood in this context as devices of modernity in new music.  Young Hungarian composers had begun to follow Bartók's path as early as in the mid-twenties. Until 1955, however, this had meant only a stylistic imitation of his works: Bartók's musical language represented for them the modern manner of self-expression. The consequence of Lendvai's publications was that composers could move away from style imitation and build on some Bartókian constructional principles in their compositions. I take Endre Szervánszky's Second String Quartet (1956-57) and its manuscript sources as a case study demonstrating how the composer worked with scale models, the golden section and other elements of Lendvai's theory. As I argue, Szervánszky's work is an emblematic but also a complex case, for he strove to combine the Bartókian method with a kind of serialism.

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Studia Musicologica Academiae Scientiarum Hungaricae
Language English
Year of
changed title
Founder Magyar Tudományos Akadémia  
H-1051 Budapest, Hungary, Széchenyi István tér 9.
Publisher Akadémiai Kiadó
H-1117 Budapest, Hungary 1516 Budapest, PO Box 245.
Chief Executive Officer, Akadémiai Kiadó
ISSN 0039-3266 (Print)
ISSN 1588-2888 (Online)

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