• 4/2011: Personalities of Slovak Music

    4/2011: Personalities of Slovak Music


    ČIERNA, Alena: Preface
    In: Slovenská hudba, Vol. 37, 2011, No. 4, pp. 315 – 316


    GARAJ, Bernard: Ethnomusicological Work of Oskár Elschek
    In: Slovenská hudba, Vol. 37, 2011, No. 4, pp. 317 – 331

    During his active years at the Department of Musicology of the Slovak Academy of Sciences in Bratislava, where he had been working with some breaks until 2004, Prof. PhDr. Oskár Elschek, DrSc. made his name as one of the most respected Slovak and European ethnomusicologists. Despite his broader and more universal musicological orientation ethnomusicology has become his principal specialization as well as a matter of his heart. Since the beginning of his research Slovak folk musical instruments and instrumental music have belonged to domains of Elschek’s exploration, however, also other subjects, summarized in publications, fascinate by their scope while not leaving the field of traditional music. There are especially the studies and contributions devoted to the whole scope of issues of music pedagogy (musical education, the place of a folk song in the process of music education, ethnomusicologically oriented study programmes), of the place of music, traditional music and musicological research in the society, the role of mass media in the presentation of folk music tradition and traditional music of minorities. The contribution of Oskár Elschek to Slovak and European ethnomusicology is emphasized by his cooperation with important domestic and foreign encyclopaedic publications of both musicological and ethnological orientation. A substantial part of his work has been formed by scientific exploration in systematic musicology; he has created one of the current generally accepted musicological systematizations. He has also participated in editorial, pedagogical and organizational activities.

    The significance and unique role of Oskár Elschek resides in the fact that as an extraordinary personality of the Slovak musicology he has consequentially contributed to the character of ethnomusicology in Slovakia and he has included his precisely defined knowledge about Slovak traditional music into a wider international research concept.

    BREJKA, Rudolf: Several Comments to Oto Ferenczy’s Heritage
    In: Slovenská hudba, Vol. 37, 2011, No. 4, pp. 332 – 336

    Professor Oto Ferenczy is one of those personalities of Slovak music culture whose range of activities exceeds the standard image of narrowly focused professional work; he approaches the ideal of a polyhistor. For the Slovak music society his compositional, music-theoretical or music-aesthetical, pedagogical and organizational activities seem the most dominant. Until now the experts have devoted themselves mostly to his compositional heritage (Ladislav Burlas, Ivan Hrušovský, Juraj Hatrík, Ľubomír Chalupka, Vladimír Bokes), however, his work as a publicist and music theorist is still waiting for its complex assessment, as well as his pedagogical activity, analyzed for the fi rst time by Ján Albrecht very accurately in the periodical Hudobný život (Music Life) in 1981. Although Oto Ferenczy’s personal bibliography is not very extensive, it reveals his priorities: an eff ort to stir the stagnant waters in Slovak music in 1940s and 1950s by a hint to the necessity of European (or world) context (studies on Stravinsky, Messiaen etc.), the emphasizing of domestic values in an opposition to the offi cial tendency (reminding of the worth of Ján Levoslav Bella and Frico Kafenda), and his theoretical reflections as Naše slabosti a nedostatky (Our Weaknesses and Imperfections, 1946), O dvoch spôsoboch účasti na hudbe (Two Ways of Participation in Music, 1946), Boj o hudobné elementy (A Fight for Music Elements, 1947), Pohľad na obecnú a sociálnu podmienenosť slovenskej hudby (A View on General and Social Dependance of Slovak Music, 1947) and university didactic texts Syllabus k prednáškam z estetiky (Syllabus to Lectures on Aesthetics, 1964) and Texty ku zbierke príkladov z estetiky (Texts to a Collection of Aesthetic Examples, 1983, 1993).

    CHALUPKA, Ľubomír: Musicologist Ivan Hrušovský’s View on the Personality of Ján Cikker
    In: Slovenská hudba, Vol. 37, 2011, No. 4, pp. 337 – 342

    Amongst the publicists who touched the personality and work by Slovak composer Ján Cikker (1911–1989) the musicologist, teacher and composer Ivan Hrušovský (1927–2001) immersed into his style most intensively. While writing his publication Slovenská hudba v profiloch a rozboroch (Slovak Music in Profiles and Analyses, 1964) Hrušovský succeeded to characterize the uniqueness of Cikker’s position in the generation of his contemporaries very vividly and to present Cikker’s fourth opera Vzkriesenie (The Resurrection, 1963) in a detail. Hrušovský found a favourable starting point for the understanding of the composer’s style in an analytical examination of Cikker’s early creation. The results of this exploration he presented in a condensed form in his text Formovanie hudobného myslenia Jána Cikkera (Shaping of Ján Cikker’s Music Mind, 1966) and later elaborated them in three studies published in the year of the composer’s sixtieth birthday (1971). He concentrated on the substance of a typical sort of passion, born out of psychological dramatization, controlled by a link to the programme narrative source of majority of Cikker’s works. Hrušovský did not avoid the period of war years, when Cikker had emancipated himself from the stabilized level of Slovak composition by his anti-war artistic protest.

    BUGALOVÁ, Edita: Remembering Mikuláš Schneider-Trnavský and His Work
    In: Slovenská hudba, Vol. 37, 2011, No. 4, pp. 343 – 349

    In the context of the development of Slovak music in the first half of the 20th century Mikuláš Schneider-Trnavský occupies a significant place. Evolutional lines of the 19th century domestic composers join in his work with Ján Levoslav Bella’s legacy, which he naturally although unintentionally followed. The focus of the 19th-century composers on traditional song, concentration of songs into collections, theoretical reflection on values and distinctiveness of this material formed a background for the young author at the early 20th century, helping him with the birth of Slovak artificial song. In the 19th century Ján Levoslav Bella created an artistic basis for the development of the Slovak song, choral, chamber, orchestral as well as opera and sacred music. Bella’s artistic legacy possessing European contexts resided in his work stylistically oriented on Romanticism and Neoromanticism, and Schneider-Trnavský followed him on the way of Neoromanticism and Impressionism. In the first third of the 20th century along with other creators the composer took part in searching the way for Slovak music. Besides his importance as the founder of Slovak concert song he is significant as the author of the work in which the development of the pre-council (Second Vatican Council, 1962–1965) creation of sacred music in Slovakia culminated.

    MARTINÁKOVÁ, Zuzana: Acceptation of the Musical Tradition in the Work of Ivan Parík, Dušan Martinček and Ladislav Kupkovič
    In: Slovenská hudba, Vol. 37, 2011, No. 4, pp. 350 – 356

    Dušan Martinček, Ivan Parík and Ladislav Kupkovič – three important composer personalities – are indebted to the influences of music tradition in their creation to various extents. The contribution focuses on different approaches to musical tradition and its transformation into the compositional idioms of the three composers – contemporaries.

    BOKES, Vladimír: Juraj Pospíšil and His Place in Slovak Compositional School
    In: Slovenská hudba, Vol. 37, 2011, No. 4, pp. 357 – 362

    This year the Slovak music public remembers the 80th birthday of the composer and teacher Juraj Pospíšil. When he finished his studies his pedagogical career started at the Bratislava Conservatory. Here he brought up an array of distinguished Slovak composers (V. Bokes, 1965; F. Poul, 1968; P. Cón, V. Kovář and M. Petrašovská, ?1969; S. Hochel, 1970; S. Bodorová, 1972; V. Godár, J. Kolkovič and V. Kubička, 1975; I. Burlas, 1980; P. Malovec, 1981; P. Martinček and T. Schnitzer, 1982; J. Baán, 1983; O. Danášová and R. Rudolf, 1984; M. Betko, 1986; M. Krajči, 1990). As a teacher he ranged among rather liberal pedagogues, who drew inspiraton from a subjective view and innovative approach.

    When briefly characterizing Pospíšil’s composing style it is usually said that the influences of Leoš Janáček and Anton Webern mingle in his work. For Pospíšil Janáček became the fundamental pillar of development of his own style. Then in the 1960s the style of the second, so called “Webern period” followed: Three Inventions for flute, clarinet and bassoon (1961), Music for Brasses, Concerto for Trombone and Orchestra (1962), Passacaglia and Fugue for organ, Symphony “Nebula in Andromeda” (1963), Glosses for wind quintet, and other pieces document his gradual personal steering from Janáček to Webern.

    Approximately from 1996 on health complications suppressed artistic and teaching activities of Juraj Pospíšil, who as a teacher of composition had occupied a signifi cant position in the Slovak music.

    BUBNÁŠ, Juraj: Several Comments to Vladimír Bokes’ Chamber Music
    In: Slovenská hudba, Vol. 37, 2011, No. 4, pp. 363 – 368

    Vladimír Bokes belongs to the generation of music composers entering the Slovak music life in the early 1970s. He followed the avant-garde tendencies of the 1960s and reflected them creatively. The contribution points to some significant aspects of Bokes’ compositional language, which he was developing also in his later creation, exemplified by excerpts from his earlier chamber works. On the one hand it is a sense for rational construction originating in his interest in serialism, classical and free dodecaphony, later developed also in mathematically constructed tone series and usage of the golden section principle. On the other hand it is initial strict shaping and construction of music material, often joined with utilization of aleatoric principles (repetition of models as well as rhythmically free notation). Both these features may be followed in the whole of Bokes’ work as its important pillars.

    ČERVENÁ, Ľudmila: Artistic Contribution of Evgeny Irshai in Shaping the Music in Slovakia
    In: Slovenská hudba, Vol. 37, 2011, No. 4, pp. 369 – 376

    During 20 years in Slovakia Evgeny Irshai has entrenched himself as a distinctive composing personality possessing all signs of postmodern style. Thanks to his arrival in Slovakia the Slovak music has acquired not only a European-oriented composer brought up in one of the most prestigious European music schools and following the greatest figures of the Russian compositional school (Mussorgsky, Shostakovich, Prokofiev, Ustvolskaya, Schnittke), but also an active concert pianist (soloist and chamber player), inspiring teacher, contemplative and non-conventional essayist and philosopher, organizer of music life as well as an original artist and successful chess-player.

    BLAHO, Jaroslav: Margita Česányiová – The First Lady of The Opera of The Slovak National Theatre
    In: Slovenská hudba, Vol. 37, 2011, No. 4, pp. 377 – 381

    The history and development of the Slovak opera (classical) singing, counting indeed not over 70 years, may be divided into two historical periods. The first period was characterized by totality, both the brown one and red one, from which one could escape only at the price of emigration (Pudiš, Petrák, Poppová, Poláková, Hanák, Zelenay, Gruberova and others). This isolation was overcome only in the middle of 1970s, when even in Slovakia – as in the last from the countries of the „Eastern Bloc“ – the promoting value of art was realized.

    The second period of the Slovak vocal history is related to the fall of the “iron curtain”. Excited assessments sometimes deny the reality – when almost every “step” westward from Hainburg serves as an evidence of “world fame” of the Slovak opera singing, not only in the tabloids but also in opinion-forming periodicals. Those who have observed the world opera for long years can only give a faint smile…

    Margita Česányiová, born in Hasprunka (today Studienka) close to Malacky in the region of Záhorie on October 28, 1911 (we are celebrating her centenary in these days) was a number one among sopranos (beside two famous emigrants). And while today dramatic prima donnas are absent even on the fi rst stage and have to be supplied by second-class commodities from abroad, while Lucia Popp, Edita Gruberova and Gabriela Beňačková have marked the history of the Slovak National Theatre almost imperceptibly, nothing prevents us from proclaiming Margita Česányiová the fi rst lady of the Slovak opera stage with all the seriousness and profundity of confi dence in a wide historical context.


    MACARÍKOVÁ, Ivana: Košice Compositional School
    In: Slovenská hudba, Vol. 37, 2011, No. 4, pp. 382 – 413

    The contribution stems from the author’s diploma thesis and concentrates on the issue of the compositional school closely joined with the origin and development of the compositional department of the Košice Conservatory led since its origination by the composer Jozef Podprocký (born 1944).

    Almost 40 years of work of the department of composition at the Košice Conservatory have resulted in shaping a number of graduates who later continued their studies at academies or universities and presently rank among successful composers either at home or abroad. From the list of the graduates of J. Podprocký the contribution focuses on those most successful ones: Peter Breiner, Iris Szeghy, Norbert Bodnár, Alexander Mihalič, Jana Kmiťová and Ivan Buff a, belonging to the composers’ generation of the 1980s and 1990s. The compositional work of these authors is characterized by unusual stylistic plurality, differentiation of compositional orientation with a strong accent on individual contribution to music. Unlike preceding compositional schools or composers’ groups, who formed a certain music style or orientation using a common musical language, here the principle of complementarity dominates. In their individual work the composers push forward various fusions of music types and genres, diff usion of several kinds of art, multimedia creation etc.

    At present the department of composition of the Košice Conservatory has two teachers – Jozef Podprocký, typical by his strict compositional guiding and Norbert Bodnár, exerting an individual approach to students (avoiding the attitude of “starting from scratch” with each student). The Košice compositional school is supplemented by Juraj Vajo, who although lacking his own compositional class (he is teaching music theory at the Conservatory) has signifi cantly infl uenced its activity by his compositional work.


    BUBNÁŠ, Juraj: Pavol Bagin: Chamber Music
    In: Slovenská hudba, Vol. 37, 2011, No. 4, pp. 414 – 415

    [The contribution is available only in Slovak language in the printed version of the revue.]