A Hungarian Rhapsody Concert
Spring 2013 Concert Notes
Compiled by Ginnie Carey
Tina Johns Heidrich, Conductor
Joe Jacovino, Accompanist
Connecticut Master Chorale Orchestra
Saturday May 4, 2013 8:00 pm
St. Rose of Lima Church, Newtown, Connecticut
- Concert Clips -
1790 - 1838
1810 - 1893
Hungarian National Anthem – Ferenc Erkel, lyrics by Ferenc Kölscey
Often called Isten, áldd meg a magyart (God, Bless the Hungarians), the correct title of Hungary's National Anthem is Hymnusz (Hymn), which is also the name of the 1823 poem by Ferenc Kölscey that was used for the lyrics. A contest was held in 1842 to select an anthem, and the prize was won by the distinguished Ferenc Erkel, a pianist, composer and conductor who is regarded as the father of Hungarian opera. A man of many talents, during his career he was head of the Budapest Philharmonic Orchestra, the director and piano teacher at the Hungarian Academy of Music, the musical director of the Hungarian State Opera House, and an internationally-known chess player.
1811 - 1886
Psalm 116 – Franz Liszt
The flamboyant Liszt, his many romances, the drama of his style as a pianist and in his compositions are all well known to most music lovers, but many are not as aware of his religious fervor and the choral works that reflect that side of his nature. The jubilant Psalm 116 was used as a part of his Hungarian Coronation Mass, written for the coronation of Franz Josef as King of Hungary in 1869.
Ave Maria – György Orbán
Born in Romania, Orbán immigrated to Hungary in 1979 and first worked as a music editor at Editio Musica Budapest. In 1982 he became professor of music theory and composition at the Liszt Academy of Music.
1882 - 1967
Missa Brevis – Zoltán Kodály
Influenced from his early childhood by his amateur violinist father, and the folk music he heard all around him, Kodály's entire creative outlook was shaped by these experiences. He felt that it was necessary for every composer to retain connections with his ancestral sources. He also believed that it was vitally important for children to take part in choral singing and intended many of his vocal works for students and amateurs. The Missa Brevis is a complex work, filled with emotional contrasts, which was adapted from his earlier Mass for solo organ during the chaos and terror of World War II. His popularity protected him from the Nazi occupation of Hungary in the beginning, but he was eventually ordered to divorce his Jewish wife and refused to comply. He was also deeply involved with the underground and helping Jewish refugees to escape. Forced to go underground themselves, the Kodálys moved into the cellar of a Benedictine Convent and it was in this place that he finished his Missa Brevis and dedicated it to his wife on their thirty-fifth anniversary. When the Soviets invaded, they had to flee to the basement of the Budapest Opera House, and the premiere of his new Mass took place in the cloakroom in the midst of the bombardment.
1811 - 1886
Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2 – Franz Lizst
One of the most brilliant piano virtuosos of all time, Liszt changed the world view of pianists. The very idea of an entire piano concert without an orchestra or other assisting musicians began with him. He was also the first to begin the current tradition of playing the concert piano in a profile position. Previously the pianist had played with his back to the audience or facing it. Liszt was also the creator of highly romantic and exceedingly difficult piano works. The nineteen Hungarian Rhapsodies, written between 1846 and 1885, are an obvious result of his extensive research in Hungarian folk music. No. 2 has always been the most popular of all of his works, a study in quick contrasts and high drama. Our performance will feature our extremely talented accompanist, Joseph Jacovino on piano.
1899 - 1986
Tambur (Hungarian Dancing Song) – Jakob Paix, arranged by Lajos Bárdos, lyrics by Karoly Vargha, translated by Louis Munkachy
Tambur is found in the Jakob Paix Organ Book, published in 1583 with the original title "Ungarescha". It is still popular in Hungary today and is often used in choral settings. Hungarian composer Lajos Bárdos created this arrangement, using a text written by Karoly Vargha in 1949.
1907 - 1995
Lullaby (from Rudyard Kipling's Jungle Book Suite) – Miklós Rózsa
Hungarian composer Miklós Rózsa was famous in the film industry for his remarkably varied film scores, and is considered to be one of the founding fathers of film music. In a career that lasted over 50 years, he became one of the most nominated composers in Oscar history, with 17 nominations and three Oscars. Lullaby is his loving interpretation of a poignant moment in the 1942 classic Rudyard Kipling's Jungle Book, and was his fourth Oscar nomination.
There'll Be Tears in Your Eyes (Ott Fogsz Majd Sirni) – József Kóla; English lyrics by Don Titman
Attributed to József Kóla, this traditional folk song, set in tango-style, relates the eternal story of the spurned lover who foretells, "Someday you'll be sorry and you'll miss me."
Hungarian Dance No. 5 – Johannes Brahms; based on a theme by Béla Kéler; lyrics by Sándor Adorján
Based on a theme by Béla Kéler (1820-1882) with lyrics by Sándor Adorján. In 1853 Brahms met the Hungarian violinist Eduard Reményi in what was a very important moment in his young life. Impressed by his skills, Reményi invited Brahms to tour with him as his accompanist. On this tour he met many of the foremost musicians of the day, including Franz Lizst, and made some powerful friends. It was Reményi who also introduced the German Brahms to the Hungarian folk melodies that later became his famous Hungarian Dances. Although Brahms believed they were all genuine Hungarian folk tunes that had been passed down through the years, apparently the one that inspired his popular Hungarian Dance No.5 was actually composed by Béla Kéler, a well-known composer of orchestral and dance music as well as violin solos.
1907 - 1995
Quo Vadis Choral Suite – Miklós Rózsa, compiled and transcribed by Christopher Palmer and Julian Kershaw
In Rózsa's long and distinguished career he became particularly well known for his scores for the grand historical epics such as Quo Vadis? (Where Goest Thou?), which was also nominated for an Oscar. Set in the time of Nero, it depicts a romance between a high-ranking Roman and a Christian amid the turmoil of the conflict between Christianity and the corruption of the pagan Roman Empire, with Christianity triumphant at the conclusion. This Roman love story introduced Rózsa to Rome and began his personal love affair with Italy. By 1952 his film score work was so successful he was able to negotiate a contract with MGM that gave him three months away every year to work on his concert music. Some of his best classical work was composed during subsequent Italian summer holidays.