1 THE MUSICAL SCENE IN BELGRADE AT THE TIME OF THE PREMIERE OF BEETHOVEN’S NINTH SYMPHONY The premiere of Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 in Belgrade took place in 1910, at the initiative of composer and conductor Stanislav Binički. 1 Soon after his
studies. For many authors, 2 the musical heritage of Ludwig van Beethoven is considered to be the central point of “all musical value” as he is seen as the “formulator of a distinctive musical language” especially in his symphonies, which present the
1 ANTECEDENTS AND CIRCUMSTANCES: ORCHESTRAL MUSIC IN PEST-BUDA Founded in 1853 and still active today, the Orchestra of the Philharmonic Society (Filharmóniai Társaság Zenekara) was Hungary’s first professional symphony orchestra. 2 The
though Beethoven’s works were an integral part of the Society’s concert programs, it is intriguing to note that the premiere of the entire Symphony No. 9 took place in 1902 – assuming that we disregard the fact that in 1893 the first three movements of
To this day, Joseph Haydn’s symphonies are often performed and recorded in a way that does not meet the composer’s intentions. This concerns certain variants of instrumentation, e.g. the rendering of violoncello obbligato with a single instrument, the use of trumpets and timpani or of horns in high C, respectively. Using the violoncello part of the slow movement of symphony Hob. I:102 as example, it is argued that Haydn in spite of the “solo” mark at the beginning of the movement did not intend the part to be played by one instrument alone. The same applies to most of the passages for violoncello “solo” in his late symphonies. Additionally, it can be established from the sources that before 1768 Haydn did not write for horns in high C and that the parts for trumpets and timpani in some of the early symphonies do not originate with the composer. That these alternatives of instrumentation, though not authentic, have found widespread acceptance in today’s performances is demonstrated by selected recordings from the 1950s to date. A short survey of the history of Haydn’s symphonies on record serves as an introduction to this essay.
’s first vocal composition, his Metastasio aria beginning “Va, dal furor portata” (K2l/l9c), written at the age of nine in London. Instrumental use of the model soon followed: the Symphony in F major (K43), composed on his 1767 journey between Vienna and
In the case of Hungarian composer and ethnomusicologist László Lajtha (1892–1963) discovering the manifold potentials in a symphonic orchestra linked strongly with the composition of works for stage and screen. Nevertheless, it clearly makes sense to examine the long-term relations Lajtha had with the film as a genre, by searching for common features in the structure of his music composed for films and his symphonies. Much of the musical material in Lajtha’s Third Symphony is similar to those he used in his 1948 film music for Murder in the Cathedral. The similarity gains more complexity if one takes into consideration that the Third Symphony was marked by the composer as the starting point in a monumental, five-fold symphonic cycle composed through the 1950s. The article makes an attempt to explore the thematic and motivic relationship between the Third Symphony, the Variations and the film score Murder in the Cathedral by analysing the musical material and the structure, and by searching for correlation between the audible and visual effects of the music Lajtha used in the movie scenes. This kind of examination may offer a new perspective on the sources of inspiration that shaped Lajtha’s workmanship and it also gives some important information about his way of thinking about music.
The opening of Haydn’s Symphony No. 39 in G minor is interrupted by two unusually long grand pauses. These brief suspensions of the time continuum reveal Haydn’s search for new narrative strategies for a genre caught up in the tensions between the boisterous concert opener, courtly representation, the bourgeois concert hall and the demands of “connoisseurs.” This use of the
points toward a period of upheaval in the development of symphonic forms in the 18th century. A comparative analysis examining the primarily “punctuated” concept of form in the 18th century in relation to the primarily thematic concept of form in the 19th century and the synthesis of both in the writings of Anton Reicha can show that the process of developing formal functions becomes especially acute in Haydn’s Symphony No. 39, with the two grand pauses playing a key role. Such a reading of Haydn, which seeks to reconcile “historically informed” analysis with emphatic interpretation, illustrates how the spectacular grand pauses in the Symphony No. 39 can suggest a brief suspension of not only the work’s own immanent time but the historical time of 18th-century music history.
This study offers a multilevel analysis of the form of the third movement of Mahler’s Second Symphony providing three frameworks (those of a sophisticated trio form, a bipartite idiosyncratic form, and an imaginary, ‘endless’ form). Conceiving of the formal dimensions of the Scherzo of Mahler’s Second Symphony as ontological models, I will contextualize these with reference to the writings of E.T.A. Hoffmann, Schopenhauer, and Nietzsche. Among the new discoveries of this investigation, I will outline the implications of three hitherto neglected circumstances: first, the movement’s first extended unit itself constitutes a self-contained symphonic scherzo movement; next, the movement can be described as two succeeding permutations of the same set of thematic materials; finally, there is a crucial recurrence suggesting the infinitude of the form. Instead of creating an ill-conceived dichotomy between form as a secondary structure and the meaningful ‘narrative’ in negotiation with formal questions, I wish to regard form as a primary source of a work’s meaning. At the same time, I wish to regard the form of the movement as an efficient means of channelling its dialogue with the genre of scherzo. Listened to as a composer’s self-positioning in the field of the masters of symphony, the movement reveals Mahler’s successful attempt at breaking away from the Brucknerian model of scherzo and, at the same time, proudly parading his virtuosity in applying some elements of that model in a different context.
The article focuses on a particular station of Zoltán Kodály’s 1966 American tour, the fortnight spent in Santa Barbara, California in August 1966, during which he gave a televised interview to Ernő Dániel, chaired the conference “The Role of Music in Education: A Conference with Zoltán Kodály” held at the University of California, Santa Barbara, and attended a concert organized in his honor. Based on her research conducted on the spot in 1994 as well as on sources from the estate of Ernő Dániel, the paper also reconstructs the history of the premieres in California during the early 1960s of Psalmus Hungaricus (Santa Barbara, 1961) and the Symphony (Santa Barbara and Los Angeles, 1963). The article also surveys the career of Ernő Dániel, an alumnus of the Budapest Music Academy, in America (1949–1977)