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Abstract

The code word “Kylwiria” was mentioned by György Ligeti from time to time since the 1970s. At first, it functioned rather abstractly as a working title for the opera that had been in the making since the mid-1960s and eventually mutated into Le Grand Macabre. Later, Ligeti also shared details about the imaginary land of his childhood, providing glimpses of brightly colored maps of that land and underscoring the importance of his childlike fantasy world. This article explores the dimensions of this “private mythology” and its impact on the composer's creative thinking and work. Its documentary evidence – the description of the land of Kylwiria recorded in 1950 in a booklet of more than 70 pages – is presented in examples and examinated for its particularities. On the one hand, it seems that the pioneering exploration of geographical spaces is transferred as a model to the creative exploration of sound spaces. On the other hand, Ligeti's concept of a fantastic counterworld is to be seen in a literary and cultural-historical context, in which it is to be located somewhere between expedition report, travel guide and utopian design. Such an outline sharpens the meaning of Kylwiria as a cipher for creativity in a characteristic mixture of ratio and fantasy.

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Abstract

Sándor Weöres's poetry was a life-long passion and source of inspiration for György Ligeti. This article explores the role Weöres played in Ligeti's early development as a composer by providing insight into the genesis of all of his 13 early settings of Weöres, including the unpublished choral works Hajnal [Dawn] and Tél [Winter], the incomplete song “Nagypapa leszállt a tóba” [Grandpa descended in the pond], and the unfinished oratorio “Istar pokoljárása” [Ishtar's Journey to Hell], and by making some analytical observations on them. Ligeti's early settings of Weöres were composed in three periods. The first stage in 1946–1947 was his compositional discovery of Weöres's poetry, which seems to have acted as a fuel and a challenge for him, triggering something of a musical self-liberation. His Weöres settings in 1949–1950 may be seen as a sign of solidarity with the poet effectively silenced by Communist state authorities, while in 1952–1955, Weöres texts seem to have served specifically as material for Ligeti's experimentation with static music and serialism.

Open access

“Some Sort of Machine without a Body”

György Ligeti and Antoinette Vischer Explore the Modern Harpsichord

Studia Musicologica
Author:
Elisabeth Reisinger

Abstract

From the mid-1950s, Basel harpsichordist Antoinette Vischer (1909–1973) promoted the harpsichord as a modern instrument, commissioning numerous composers to contribute to a new repertoire. To this end, she turned to György Ligeti, who completed Continuum for her in 1968. The composer had already used the harpsichord in ensembles several times, but now he had to think about it in a soloistic function for the first time, starting from a specific performer with her specific instrument. In this paper, I focus on this relationship between composer, performer-commissioner, and instrument, drawing primarily on the correspondence between Ligeti and Vischer preserved at the Paul Sacher Foundation in Basel. These unpublished letters document their collaboration and how both negotiated their artistic positions and aesthetic concepts of the harpsichord as “some sort of machine.” An in-depth analysis of Ligeti and Vischer's exchange about the instrument's peculiarities and performance issues allows us to better understand their self-conception as artists and their ideas of “modernity.” Furthermore, this case study sheds light on a specific period in the history of an instrument that through the efforts of performers like Vischer was transformed from an artifact of the past to an emblem of the present.

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Abstract

Conservative critic John Borstlap cited Ligeti as a partisan in his fight against the modernist myth of progress in the arts, based on the famous citation “I am in a prison. One wall is the avant-garde, the other is the past. I want to escape.” Ligeti's ambivalence reflected his distaste for art linked to utopian socialist ideals, and for all that was reactionary. Yet he admitted that his own youthful utopian strivings evolved into a desire for complex music that often defied audibility. This essay traces Ligeti's reception history from the late 1950s onward as a reaction to the thwarted utopian strains in his music. For some, Ligeti's music of the 1960s seemed to define “the contemporary problem itself.” But the composer's increased visibility in the 1990s led to demands that he deal with his Jewish heritage and wartime trauma, and cease writing music with a broad appeal. I argue that Ligeti's works reinscribe the past, the personal, and the extramusical as a conscious expression of his prison. They express the nonlinear notion of progress that defines modernism: a vast “tear in the historical process” able to lift music above the scrum of political-aesthetic skirmishes, to a “region which lies elsewhere.”

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Abstract

On several occasions, Ligeti spoke about an early literary memory that he credited with the origins of his meccanico style. He recalled reading a short story by Gyula Krúdy (1878–1933) at the age of five, in which Krúdy supposedly wrote about a widow who lived in an old house filled with constantly ticking clocks. To date, the best Krúdy experts have been unable to identify the story in question, and it is reasonable to assume that in Ligeti's mind, actual elements from the writer's work were freely recombined and reimagined at a time when the compositions partly inspired by the Krúdy experience had already been written. Ligeti's published interviews contain references to Krúdy that go beyond the story with the clocks, it may be assumed that the writer's influence on the composer goes deeper than what has been acknowledged so far.

In addition, there is an aspect of Ligeti's recollection of the Krúdy story that has not received all the attention it deserves. In his conversations with Péter Várnai, the composer spoke of machines that were working or not working (emphasis mine), and elevators stopping at the wrong floor, or not starting at all. Some of the meccanico works are worth revisiting in search of such “malfunctions” as we try to reimagine the old house where not all the clocks might have been running like clockwork.

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Abstract

Children are a vulnerable group in terms of obesity: nearly 20% of Hungarian kindergarten and school-aged children are overweight or obese. School catering plays a decisive role in shaping children's nutritional behavior. To support the prevention of obesity and to increase the quality of children's diets, legislation passed in 2014 included provisions on school catering. This paper provides a qualitative content analysis of a roundtable discussion on the school catering system that took place at an interdisciplinary conference, with the aim of identifying the most important messages about school meals conveyed by the discussion. During the qualitative analysis of the roundtable discussion, seven main categories emerged: factors supporting the acceptance/implementation of public catering; factors hindering the acceptance/implementation of public catering; everyday problems in the implementation of public catering; the task of caterers and public catering; the transformation of public catering; cooperation among parties with an interest in public catering; and factors helping children to cooperate. The co-occurrence network of subcategories and values can be broken down into one large component and several separate, small components. Thus, it can be concluded that the majority of subthemes and values are grouped into a coherent system. The results point to the key role of school catering in healthy nutrition and nutrition education, and the importance of close cooperation among parties with an interest in school catering to promote the social acceptance of catering and the prevention of childhood obesity.

Open access

Abstract

The starting point for the present study is the thematization of the concept of “Jewish cultural heritage” and, in this context, the outlining of the role and position of cemeteries in Jewish tradition. The case study focuses on the Hungarian village of Apc, which was home to a Jewish community of just over a hundred people before World War II. After the Holocaust, only a few survivors returned to the settlement; some of them emigrated, while others remained in Apc for the rest of their lives. In recent decades, what has become of the cemetery, one of the most important sites for the former Jewish community of Apc? This paper explores the process of the heritagization of the local Jewish cemetery, one of the activities carried out by the Together for Apc Association, a civil society initiative launched two decades ago. In 2003, the dilapidated and abandoned “Israelite cemetery” was the first of the settlement's deteriorating assets to be declared as local cultural heritage. With the involvement of various actors from the local community (volunteers and local entrepreneurs), and in contact with Jewish organizations (the Federation of Hungarian Jewish Communities, the Foundation for Hungarian Jewish Cemeteries), the cemetery was restored over a period of two years and was “inaugurated” in 2006 in the presence of a rabbi, a cantor, a Jewish secular leader, Holocaust survivors and members of the local society. In the fifteen years since then, care has been taken to ensure that the achievements are sustainable and maintained, and the cemetery has been kept open not only for the descendants of the Jewish community but for all interested parties. But the salvaging of the Apc Jewish cemetery is not only an example of the preservation of the built heritage of a single community: while for the village residents it forms part of their local identity, for the Jewish organizations it represents part of their Jewish identity. What happens when two communities stake a claim to the heritagization of the same site? As a shared goal, or “cause,” the “bipolar” process of the heritagization of the Jewish cemetery in Apc has provided an opportunity for dialogue, collective thinking, and problem solving between Jewish and non-Jewish society, even if the various heritagization goals, coming from different directions, have in many cases generated tensions.

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Abstract

Gastronomy and meals have always played a key role in shaping cultural characteristics, and it is for this very reason that cultural anthropology pays particular attention to these topics. In this paper, we present several analytical dimensions that can be applied to the analysis of food culture, partly from a cultural anthropological perspective and partly from a socio-semiotic perspective. Firstly, we review those aspects of gastro-semiotics that help us to organize foods according to various dichotomies and polarities. We discuss, on the one hand, those aspects that may indicate differences between cultures and subcultures, and on the other those that relate to temporal differences in food consumption and those that are rooted in material differences among foods. We then list the dimensions that, in the form of general status symbols, may also play a role in the analysis of food. In the present paper we also discuss our longitudinal study The Symbols of Hungarianness (1997 and 2021/22), conducted on a nationwide representative sample of 1,000 people, in which we asked about foods and drinks that are characteristic in terms of national identity and that are thus also suitable for presenting certain typical features of Hungarian cuisine.

Open access

Egy új megközelítés az árokkeretek szarmata temetkezési rítusokban betöltött szerepének vizsgálatához

New approach to the study of the role of encircling ditches in Sarmatian burial rites

Archaeologiai Értesítő
Author:
Balázs Wieszner

Absztrakt

A tanulmány a szarmata árokkereteknek a temetkezési rítusokban betöltött szerepének újfajta megközelítését célozza meg, amely elsősorban a bennük elhelyezett különböző típusú deponálások strukturális mintázatait figyelembe vevő térhasználati modellen alapszik. Az árokkeretekben viszonylagos gyakorisággal kerülnek elő különböző típusú áldozati jellegű edény- és állategyüttesek. A korábbi kutatások ezeket a leleteket csak másodlagosan említették a különböző interpretációkban és azokat az őskultusszal vagy a halotti lakomával hozták összefüggésbe. Pedig az árokkeretekben elhelyezett deponálások egy olyan kötött, szelektivitáson alapuló, ismétlődő viselkedési mintázatot mutatnak, ami az árokkeretek strukturális különbségeinek ellenére is egységesnek tekinthető. Emiatt az árokkeretek temetkezési rítusokban betöltött szerepét célszerűbb a bennük elhelyezett deponálások, illetve azok ismétlődő, standardizáló térhasználati mintázatai révén értelmezni. Az elemzés eredményeként az árokkereteknek a temetkezési rítusokban betöltött szerepében egy olyan egységes társadalmi logika mutatható ki, ami hozzájárulhat a szarmaták társadalmi szerveződésének felvázolásához és megértéséhez.

Open access