Mária Comensoli, who studied under Bartók in the mid-1920s, reports that her teacher used “peculiar fingerings and peculiar wrist and arm technique.” Examining such comments and the recordings of the composer-pianist, it becomes clear that Bartók played the piano partly according to the 19th-century performance practice. He frequently played chords in arpeggio, even when there were no markings of arpeggio in the score, and he respected the tone color of each finger by relying on the technique of leaping. Contemporary documents suggest that one of Bartók’s technical advantages was the flexibility of his wrists. In Bartók’s case it may have been a fruit of a conscious training by István Thomán. The writings of the Liszt-pupil Thomán suggest that, like his master, he valued the “active” use of wrists, even though he basically supported the modern, “synthetic” piano technique propagated by Breithaupt, who consistently recommended the “passive” use of the wrists. It is likely that, through Thomán, Bartók learned many things from the 19th-century performance practice.
There is a gap separating Kodály's Seven Pieces for Piano, op. 11 from his Nine Pieces for Piano, op. 3. The differences of style, structure, and texture cannot be explained in terms of development, let alone progress in any sense. With op. 11, Kodály undertakes a shift of paradigms from instrumental principles to a kind of vocal orientation within instrumental music. Op. 3 stands in the tradition of autonomous instrumental music, of Liszt and French music in particular, and displays similarities to early piano works by Bartók. In op. 11, that instrumental paradigm and its core principle of indirect expression are called into question. Instead Kodály aims at direct expression, vocality on the piano. Since a piano cannot sing, the pieces op. 11 can be seen as failing in terms of Classical-Romantic composing standards. This paper argues that in dealing with the distinction between instrumental and vocal music, Kodály takes up a major topic of Musical Modernism (Carl Dahlhaus) and exposes himself deliberately to the risky question of “When is Art?” (Nelson Goodman).
The musical sources and the contemporary press reports do not confirm the statement that
, the par excellence Hungarian national opera composed by Ferenc Erkel and first performed in 1861, was finished already in 1852 — a date that became current in the international musicological literature. The instrumentation workshop around Erkel which can be traced as a pendant of the Weimar workshop of Liszt, represents less the artistic weakness of the composer, rather a take-off point for the compositional invention. The method of the division between composition and instrumentation was disqualified from art music only at the time when the conception of the organic musical work and compositional process was widely established. From 1940 on, the original version of the work was substituted by a rewriting made in order to create a vernacular historicopolitical music drama modelled on the late Verdi, Mussorgsky or Borodin, a missing link in the Hungarian music history, retrospectively. The first edition of the authentic score of
being before publication and made by the author is based of a revised text from 1866 which is probably derived from Erkel and that was unknown till now.
19th century European art music acquired a special hue from integrating Hungarian stylistic elements into what is collectively called style hongrois. The repertory and the vocabulary or set formulae of the early and of the mature verbunkos are summarised. The attraction of classicism to folk idioms and exotic characters generated an interest in Hungarian music, especially in composers having some contact with Hungary or Hungarians and through with verbunkos music. This interest remained marginal with Mozart, only two of his works allow Hungarian influence to be detected. In Haydn’s and Beethoven’s music this influence plays a more significant role, they had experiences that stimulated the development of this influence. In Weber’s music the Hungarian colour is only one possibility to express exotic contents. An exceptional group comprises the works in which the composer tried to evoke a foreign musical style devoid of other exotic elements. The elements he borrowed from mature verbunkos are successfully combined with his own personal style. There are works that include hidden Hungarian references. Schubert had direct contacts with Hungary and Hungarian music. The appropriate liveliness, emotional depths of his style hongrois could possibly not be imagined without Schubert’s stay in Hungary. As regards the evaluation of style hongrois in the Schubert literature, one finds contradictory opinions. The Divertissement a?l’hongroise claims signal attention for its connection with Hungarian music. Besides several verbunkos elements, the work also relies on folk music sources. Six other instrumental works display the Hungarian influence openly, another three works may be considered as showing some Hungarian influence but their Hungarian character can be questioned. It is first in Schubert’s compositions that style hongrois reached the significance and high artistic merit that was later to be encountered in the Hungarian-related works of Liszt and Brahms. – 4 figures, 43 musical examples.
Authors:Z. Hegedűs, Z. Szentpétery, K. Kassai, and et al.
búza és a liszt minősége. (Quality of Wheat and Flour.) Mezőgazdasági Kiadó, Budapest.
Ragasits, I. 1992: A nitrogén- és foszfor műtrágyázás hatása a búza minőségére. (Effects of nitrogen and phosphorus
’histoire. Paris 1916.
A precursor is W. Kaulbach’s fresco depicting the 453/454 battle of the Field of Katalaunum (Campus Catalaunicus), which also served as inspiration for F. Liszt in composing his orchestral piece “Hunnenschlacht
Roma people are often depicted in Central European literature and fine arts in the end of the eighteenth century and the first half of the nineteenth century. The topic was likely chosen not only because of an ethnographical interest, but also because orientalism in the nineteenth century meant for several Austrian artists the depiction of the life and customs of Hungarian and Transylvanian gypsies, who were believed to be originally from the East. In the second half of the century August Pettenkofen, who had often visited the town of Szolnok in the Great Hungarian Plain with his painter friends, also turned to the ‘exotic’ life of Hungarian peasants, csikós (horse-herdsmen) and nomadic gypsies. The artists of genre artworks depicting the folk, a genre flourishing in Hungary since the middle of the nineteenth century, also often choose the life and customs of Roma people as the topic of their art, usually presenting them in a detailed way and using stereotypes.
This study examines a different kind of depiction of Roma people in the nineteenth century in literature, artworks and music. The so-called ‘Three gypsies’ topic is currently believed to have appeared for the first time in 1836 in Ferenc Pongrácz’s painting, however, it became truly popular because of Nikolaus Lenau’s poem, which had a title similar to the painting’s and was published soon after the painting. The topic appears in several contemporary paintings and illustrations, and Ferenc Liszt also created a musical composition based on it. Lenau’s poem and the artworks inspired by it include a certain symbolical-philosophical approach instead of the ethnographic interest popular at the time or the anecdotical depiction of the everyday life of Roma people. The image of the three gypsies in the poem and the artworks and illustrations – the first one is playing a fiddle, the second one is smoking a pipe and the third one is sleeping – symbolizes not only the longing for a poor but free life without the yoke of social norms, but also illustrates different attitudes and philosophies of life (vita activa, vita contemplativa, turning away from the world).
The symbolical-philosophical nature of the poem and the artworks is emphasized by a significant part of these works, the motif of the instrument hung upon a tree, which first appears in Psalm 137 from the Old Testament. The psalm depicts the pain of the Jews suffering in the Babylonian captivity, who in their sorrow hung their harps upon the willows. The song about the sadness felt because of their exile and the loss of their home was later interpreted in the context of those times. The heartbreaking description of the destroyed home of the exiled Jews in János Thordai’s psalm written in the seventeenth century was likely inspired by the grief caused by the destruction of Hungary during the Ottoman rule. The motif of the instruments hung upon the tree, earlier related to society and nation, was enriched with new, individualistic meanings during the end of the eighteenth and the beginning of the nineteenth century.
The depictions of the atypical Three gypsies topic in literature and fine arts are more closely related to allegorical paintings from earlier centuries, for example Giorgone’s The Three Philosophers or The Three Ages of Man, than to the genre artworks in the nineteenth century depicting the life of Roma people in an anecdotal way.