Jean Sibelius and Béla Bartók, two composers from the fringe of Europe, had to create space for themselves in the midst of Austro-German dominance of turn-of-the-century music. Both encountered in the hitherto unknown folk music of their respective countries an “Other” that enabled them to develop an idiom different from the mainstream but equally coherent. Sibelius became in Finland's a national hero due to his patriotic music from the turn-of-the-century. As a consequence, his figure grew into mountainous dimensions, and many of his successors were doomed to live under his shadow. After World War II a new beginning was needed. Anxious of the influence of Sibelius and searching for a new starting point young composers encountered the music of Bartók, Prokofiev and Shostakovich, the otherness of which enabled them to “misread” the Sibelian tradition in a creative manner. Especially important was Bartók, notably for Joonas Kokkonen (1921-96). Some later composers, for whom Sibelius was not a problem anymore, were looking in Bartók's works for new patterns of misprision.
The Monk by the Sea stands alone in the oeuvre of Caspar David Friedrich. Unlike the majority of his works, which are generally overburdened with meaning, making them easy to understand from a Romantic, Christian or nationalist perspective, this painting remained resistant to interpretation by almost all of his contemporaries – even by the artist himself – because the reduction and “minimalism” in the work was so unprecedented and extreme that it would take several generations before it became common practice. This was also the first work to feature Friedrich’s famous innovation, the Rückenfigur, the picture’s internal spectator, who forms a close and subjective bond with the external spectator, while the subject of the spectacle itself, for the very first time in the history of painting, is “nothing”.
The efforts of the
communist regime, following the Revolution of 1956, to channel discussion of
the events of the Revolution into a simplistic ideological opposition exerted
(and arguably continue to exert) a powerful influence on political discourse in
Hungary, in spite of numerous challenges issued against the validity of this
opposition by historians and political scientists. It is possible that
literature may offer new perspectives from which the terms that have exercised
such a constrictive influence on this discourse can be reevaluated. This
discussion of works of poetry by French, German, and American poets on the
events of 1956 in Hungary examines the ways in which not only these events, but
also the terms in which they were cast were perceived and thrown into question
by writers living outside Hungary, several of whom also wrote influential
essays on politics. Moreover, it considers how literary theory, specifically
because it makes language and the creation of meaning the object of its
inquiry, provides critical strategies through which the terms of this discourse
can be deconstructed and deflated, creating opportunities for new
(re)constructions of our understanding of these events.
The text of Beckett and the music of Kurtág were born from the anxiety over the incapability of expression. Its source is the artists' feeling of helplessness in face of a reality that one is no longer able to comprehend, a feeling common since the Romantic era. With What is the Word Kurtág created a new attitude toward musical composition, and through these structural novelties gave a new dimension to this modernist anxiety as well. Kurtág creates a process, which instead of playing with the listener's expectation, is based on fantasy and meaningful association. Kurtág realized a new concept of motivic connection. In this piece, motivic connection manifests itself less in a concrete musical-structural aspect than in the connection among attitudes, gestures, theatrical motions and so on. This network of connections, the associations that emerge out of the infinite possibilities, and the emotions they evoke become part of a highly individual game of both the composer and the listener. This musical-structural technique finds its reflection in the dramatic design. Parallel to the playing out of distress over loneliness and the incapacity to speak, another play takes place: the singer explores her many voices and the piece explores associations. Thus the incapability to speak becomes the protective shell within which one explores, through fantasy, the mystery and the beauty of existence.
1997 . Interpreters: Stress and Situation-dependent Control of Anxiety . In: Klaudy , K. & Kohn , J. (eds) Transferre Necesse Est. Proceedings of the 2nd International Conference on Current Trends in Studies of
In memory of Sashka
“It is indeed interesting... that opinions regarding inebriation are tinged with a certain indulgent humour, as if drunkenness were merely a form of male mischief rather than a manifestation of misery, anxiety and fear