In 1905 when Zoltán Kodály was 20 years old and his friend and fellow Hungarian, Béla Bartók was 21, the two young men began a a project that would inspire them for the rest of their lives. Over a 10-year period, Kodály and Bartók spent their summers touring Hungarian villages and recording songs on wax or jotting them down as the villagers sang them. Together, they compiled and edited more than 3,000 Hungarian folk songs, authentic Magyar songs without the gypsy influence we often associate with Hungarian music.
Kodály was a man of many parts. In addition to his composing, he was an educator, serving as professor and then assistant director at the Budapest Academy of Music. He was a music critic for newspapers and journals in Hungary and the author of numerous scholarly writings on central European folk music. And he was an internationally recognized music educator; his “Kodály method” for developing musical literacy in school children has been adapted to many other countries àincluding the United States.
Kodály composed the Duo for Violin and Cello in 1914 at the height of his interest in Hungarian folk music, and the piece certainly reflects that interest. You might imagine yourself in the square of a Hungarian village on a summer evening listening to the local fiddler and cellist extemporize – except that the music demands virtuoso technical skills far beyond the average village musician.
Our concert on Thursday, March 29th which includes the Kodály Duo opens with Beethoven’s witty Variations on the German folk song, Ich Bin der Schneider Kakadu and concludes with the magnificent Brahms B Major trio.
I hope you will join us for another evening of glorious music!