March 15, 2014 Hungary: A Musical Super Power

Hungary: A Musical Super Power

Peter Laki, a musicologist from Bard College in Annandale-on-Hudson, N.Y., spoke on Hungary: A Musical Super Power. His presentation gave the audience an insight into the genius of Bartók as to Bartók’s six quartets, which were going to be performed by the Takács String Quartet on Monday and Tuesday following. According to Mr. Laki, music is the best export article from Hungary. As Bartók became an international icon in the 20th century, he put Hungary on the world’s radar.

Bartók’s music is a synthesis of eastern and western Europe. Hungary joined Western Europe by the introduction of Roman Catholicism in 1,000 A.D. The eastern connection was highlighted by 150 years of Turkish domination and 40 years of Communism. Bartók’s major input was the juxtaposition of classical and folk music. He, along with Kodály, inventoried the folk music they collected with the new technology of the time, Edison’s phonograph. Bartók isolated certain formulas he encountered and put them into a new context. He fused folk and classical, combined western and eastern style. Folk music was a tool in his hands and gave him new ideas and sounds.

With the second half of the program on the 15th, the music oriented themes for the year have concluded.

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