• 1/2006: Music – Totalitarianism

    1/2006: Music – Totalitarianism


    FÖLDEŠOVÁ, Marta: Preface
    In: Slovenská hudba, Vol. 32, 2006, No. 1, pp. 3 – 4


    ELSCHEK, Oskár: Music, Art, Politics and Totalitarianism in the Middle Europe
    In: Slovenská hudba, Vol. 32, 2006, No. 1, pp. 5 – 15

    Since the end of the Second World War isolated evaluation and relation to modern music prevailed and the results were perceptible also in the 1950s and 1960s. In the socialist and communist cultural politics such regimenting tendencies appeared in the the USSR already in 1936 and they continued in 1948 in political rules presented by A. A. Zhdanov. On the basis of these rules a cultural politics and attitude towards music started to be formed in socialist countries. The consequences of the cultural politics revealed in several phases and they influenced media, artistic schools and all music institutes. Around the turn of the 1950s and 1960s a group of young composers emerged – nonconformist and uncompromising representatives of new composing styles and tendencies. In the 1960s they gathered around the ensemble Hudba dneška (Music of Today) reaching the peak in 1968 and 1969, when they co-organized two years of Smolenice seminars for contemporary music. After the military occupation of Czechoslovakia (1968) the activities of this composers’, musicologists’ and organizers’ generation reduced almost to the ground zero. This fact led to emigration of many of its forward representatives. Those, who stayed, were excluded from all social and artistic events, namely musical ones. The late 1980s brought a certain liberalization of the music scene again, nevertheless, in a form of some cultural and political resignation. An open duel between politics and music community occurred in May 1989 in Prague.

    Composers’ unions, funds and musical institutes deserve a special attention, as they worked as levers, through which powerful cultural and political rules and principles were applied. In such a situation, too long and lacking any perspective, a tendency and process of artistic individualization strengthens – not lacking negative tradition in European art. Consequences of such tendencies affected activity and music creation of the whole generation or at least of a group of composers. A special practice typical for the described process was a continuous adaptation of some of the creators to the new situation. Dialogical controversy offered certain reduced opportunities, e. g. in the frame of the Seminars for marxist aesthetics organized by composers’ unions of socialist countries; the first one having taken place in Prague in 1963. Their purpose was to stop the critical wave concerning the marxist aesthetics of the 1950s and 1960s. Processes occurring in music in the middle European socialist countries in different time and with different periods, were based on various levels of liberalism, worked with different totalitarian practice and they influenced music in particular countries very differently. Many forms and genres of music were restricted, namely spiritual music – the totalitarian regimes tried to erase it completely from the social and cultural awareness. Palette of proscribed and persecuted art was large, namely between 1930s and 1980s. This cultural politics marked European and particularly Middle-European musical development very negatively, especially in the 1930s and again in 1970s.

    Penetrations into our past were realized only partially. The first works critically evaluating socialist and communist cultural politics appeared only in the late 1980s and early 1990s in Germany: Musik im Exil. Folgen des Nazismus für die internationale Musikkultur or Musikwissenschaftlicher Paradigmenwechsel? Zum Stellenwert marxistischer Ansätze in der Musikforschung.

    LUTOSŁAWSKI, Witold: Concerning the Question of the Truth in an Artefact
    In: Slovenská hudba, Vol. 32, 2006, No. 1, pp. 16 – 20

    The most important aim of the art is beauty, the most important aim of the science is the truth. However, in art we meet the question of the truth inevitably, too. The truth in a relation to art is a multivalent notion. Considering the veracity as an accuracy of expression of an author in his work (R. Ingarden: Different Understandings of Truthfulness in the Work of Art) I stress first of all the ethical aspect of the problem considering, whether the author offered a clear testimony of his inner truth. It is not always like that, the reasons being inner and outer ones. The inner ones concern the mind of the creator-artist, who, stressed, succumbs to compromises and resignes to expression of his innter truth in art. Such an attitude is not moral, as the recipient of an artefact couldn’t get what he rightfully expected – the artist’s inner truth. Therefore an adequate moral qualification of an artist is inevitable, if inner truth of an artist has to get the floor in an artefact.

    Truth in an artefact may be endangered also by outer factors, revealed as a pressure generated by other people or institutes. As an example we may think of the history of Polish music before 1956. The losses of the Polish music creation are perceptible till today. The “fight against formalism” as the action was oficcially called was based on an assumption, that the 20th century has brought an artistic degradation, originated by bourgeois culture. Works by Stravinsky, Bartók, Schoenberg and others had to be destroyed as “formalistic”. A return to a simple language of the 19th century, based on tonal system is necessary. It is the only one righteous way to music of today as an art acceptable by masses. Vocal music based on propagandist texts had to be preferred to instrumental music. Such a perfidious and primitive operation was a specific form of an attac on the truthfulness of art in music and it had sorrowful consequences. They manifested in counterfeiting the general situation in music and in persecuting the tiniest manifests of individuality. It was a process of a wide devastation of social property, which is a mind of talented people. The aim of the process was to reach the absolute power and neutralization of an influence of such personalities, who can unite and avert the attention from the oficially promoted themes by their works. It resulted in depression and desperation, complexes from the absolute isolation from the music in the world and from the general ignorance. These negative results revealed particularly strongly in 1956, when Polish music opened gates to the world of music through Warsaw Autumn festival.

    GEIGER, Friedrich: “One of a Hundred Thousand”. Hans Hinkel and National Socialistic Bureaucracy in Culture
    In: Slovenská hudba, Vol. 32, 2006, No. 1, pp. 21 – 33

    Hans Hinkel and National Socialistic Bureaucracy in Culture The study is based on the writer’s idea, that it is equally important to reflect life and activities of the victims as well as of those responsible for their persecution. Hans Hinkel serves here as an obvious example of an ambitious man, who entered the National Socialist German Workers Party (NSDAP) already in 1921 and prepared the way for and continuously acquired all opportunities to control the culture in Germany since 1933. In harmony with Goebbels he pursued and in many cases he drove many artists to their doom. Lacking any objective qualification Hans Hinkel led a number of cultura organizations of the “Third Empire” since 1933, which determined the tendency of cultural events and eliminated Jewish artists first of all. We may name Rosebery d’Argut (Martin Rozenberg was his civil name), the teacher of singing, choirmaster and composer, who was driven to death by Hinkel in a concentration camp. After the war Hans Hinkel was jailed in Dachau by Americans, then lived in Polish captivity. As a war criminal he was taken to court, but proclaimed as innocent. Since 1952 he lived in Göttingen in Germany, where he wrote his book “One of a Hundred Thousand”.

    SLAVICKÝ, Milan: Gideon Klein
    In: Slovenská hudba, Vol. 32, 2006, No. 1, pp. 34 – 41

    The “Terezine composers” – what did they have in common? It was first of all their Jewish origin and circumstances of their internation during the WW2. The most powerful personalities of this group of composers are of two different generations – the middle one, the members of which were born at the end of the 19th century (Ullmann, Haas, Krása, Ervín Schulhoff), who had an international renomee even before the deportation, and a younger one (Siegmund Schul and Gideon Klein).

    Gideon Klein was born on December 6th, 1919 in Přerov. In 1931 he moved to Prague. He studied at the Grammar school and simultaneously he attended the Prague Conservatory (piano playing with R. Kurzová and in a master class of V. Kurz, composition with Alois Hába). He finished the master class at the conservatory in one year and he graduated in 1939 as an excellent and respected pianist.

    Klein was deported to Terezine in December 1941 and he spent three years there. As a composer he reacted to needs and a situation in a Terezine “ghetto”, where he arranged folk songs for male choir. Only later he started to compose also chamber music. In 1944 he was deported to Oświęcim. Here he died, presumably on January 27th, 1945.

    Klein devoted to composition already in Prague, however, he was self-taught in fact. The sketches of his unfinished works prove this fact, e. g. Concertino for piano and winds, the beginning of an oper The Inspector General after Gogol, a quart-tone composition Duet for violin and viola and the only one dodecaphonic piece for a violin solo. However, his finished works from the Prague period – quartet Four Pieces and String Quartet Op. 2 – differ from the previous ones in a form and certainty of a developed processing. The most convincing work from the Prague period is his Divertimento for Eight Winds.

    From the years spent by Klein in Terezine a group of three instrumental pieces comes – Preludy and Fugue for a String Quartet, Piano Sonata and String Trio – and three choral works – Madrigal on text by F. Villon, Madrigal on text by F. Hölderlin and The First Sin on text of Czech folk poetry. Piano Sonata belongs to the most played of his output, sourcing in the Second Vienna School and in a tradition of Czech piano music.

    MALINOWSKI, Władysław: Socialistic Realism? What It Really Was? A Contribution to the History of Sacrum in Art
    In: Slovenská hudba, Vol. 32, 2006, No. 1, pp. 42– 64

    Socialistic Realism? What It Really Was? A Contribution to the History of Sacrum in Art

    Describing socialistic realism (referred to as “socrealism”) the writer contemplates a theory of two mutually dependent systems. The “grand” theory of marxist comprehension of history and society and a “little” one, a peculiar theory of socrealism. Both possess long history and striking vitality. The “grand” theory is especially active in musicology as a sociological comprehension of history of music. The “little” theory, this scholastic construction being an ideological product of the most important European atheistic intellectual formation resulted in art with functions and mechanisms, typical for religious music. Interpretations of socialistic art as propaganda or panegyrical art do not help us when comprehending its essence.

    The first thesis of the study says, that more than other arts the compositional practice confirms the parareligious comprehension of communism. Quoting the poet: it was a “new belief”, and “…never extinguishing form of a human spiritual life“ after one philosopher. However, the practice revealed the socrealism as a utopia. The aim to create simpler and more comprehensible music than moderna was, which could maintain the high level of the high art and at the same time would not slip into the sphere of academical kitsch, proved as unattainable. In the 1970s, when notions as “new simplicity”, “new romanticism” originated, it looked as a happy dream of a musical propagandist from the 1940s and 1950s. Nevertheless, this new music, at least in Poland, did not accompany the building of communism, yet its demolition. Indirectly it supported its defeat, helping the flourishing of religious music. After all, also this historical development, with which theorists of socrealism dealt with irony, left the achievements existing in hundreds of works, eliminated in Poland today to a considerable extent. They are a basis of an important analytical material and evidence of the truth. In the history of music we can characterize them as a part of music, describable by categories as utility music, popular, trivial etc. The achievements of aesthetics and musicology since Hegel’s epochal notes on religious kitsch, through Aesthetics of the Ugly by Karl Rosenkrantz to some Carl Dahlhaus’s analyses possess certain tools for analysis of such music. What remained from the socrealistic art, may be used as a material for a construction of hypotheses concerning the processes of value in music. After all, is such device always legitimate? Here a reverse side of the evaluation reveals, which is not so easy solvable. The problem of socrealism is more the question of belief in art of “new confession”, called for by “non-artistic” works of socrealism.


    Socrealism? A Discussion
    In: Slovenská hudba, Vol. 32, 2006, No. 1, pp. 65 – 75


    ŠPAČEK, Jan: Shostakovich’s “Antiformalistichesky Rayok” – Chef d’Oeuvre from a Drawer
    In: Slovenská hudba, Vol. 32, 2006, No. 1, pp. 76 – 92

    The chamber opera Antiformalistichesky Rayok by Dmitry Shostakovich is perhaps the most concentrated political satire having originated in music theatre. The world premiere of the fragment of the piece took place in January 12, 1989 in Washington, D.C. The instrumentation is determined in the score and may be even more reduced: the speaker, four solo basses, mixed choir, piano, cymbals. Four persons on the stage represent real living people, although disguised under code names: the significant culture figures of the then Soviet power. The opera title evokes an ideologically pure appearance of the artefact of the socialistic realism in the period of the origin of the work. The name “Rayok” refers to an inspiration by the homonymous Musorgsky’s work; however, the word “rayok” possesses several meanings in Russian language. As the musicologist Marina Sabini says, Antiformalistichesky Rayok was written by Shostakovich as an inner revolt against the familiar situation, in which Shostakovich found himself at the First Congress of the Soviet Composers (1948). It also describes the events from the Second Congress in 1957. Although the opera remained unfinished in 1957, when a hope occurred for its performance, Shostakovich decided to finish it, nevertheless, the authenticity of the closing part is challenged till today. The opera “Antiformalistichesky Rayok” is a typical work “for a drawer”, not rare in the period of socialistic realism.


    WAGNER, Ariel –  WAGNER, Guy – SANDERLINGOVÁ, Barbara:“The Whole My Life in Germany Was a Desperate Fight to Exist as a German and to Be a Jew at the Same Time”. An Exclusive Interview with a Conductor Kurt Sanderling
    In: Slovenská hudba, Vol. 32, 2006, No. 1, pp. 93 – 103

    OREMUSOVÁ, Adela: Silence in Fear. An Interview with Ivan Marton on Music Life in Slovakia in the Second Half of the 20th Century
    In: Slovenská hudba, Vol. 32, 2006, No. 1, pp. 104 – 116


    RADULOVÁ, Soňa: Aleatory as an Innovative Element in the Slovak Music in the 1960s
    In: Slovenská hudba, Vol. 32, 2006, No. 1, pp. 117 – 128

    Around the turn of the 1950s and 1960s the generation of composers entering the music scene searched new nontraditional solutions of musical problems. There were two sources of impulses stirring up a change of the musical mind in Slovakia – working atmosphere at the Darmstadt Summer Courses served as the first inspirational source, the Polish composers’ school, which had evolved its own manner of utilizing some principles of the so-called New Music was the second one. Similarly, young Slovak composers were not only copying the devices from abroad, they selected and chose new impeti, aleatory among them.

    The 1960s in the Slovak music engendered several original pieces written by composers of both younger and older generation. Some of these authors used also a chance element in their creation, while majority of composers focused on non-formative kind of aleatory – controlled aleatory. I have chosen four representatives (Ilja Zeljenka, Ladislav Kupkovič, Roman Berger, Ivan Hrušovský) out of the number of composers and works, considering the distinctiveness of their compositional devices, divergence of their orchestration and merits of particular pieces.

    Selected works expose a wide scope of the Slovak composers’ generation of the ‘60s, encompassing the small forms, pieces for a small number of instruments or solo pieces as well as works in large forms, written for a chamber or large orchestra. Great diffusion in comprehension and usage of a chance element is also explicit; it stretches from an improvisatory aleatory – where the relaxation materializes only on the basis of a precisely metrically organized line – up to the formative relaxation, where the final appearance of the piece (its shape, duration etc.) is wholly in the competence of the performers.


    SCHINDLER, Agata: Friedrich Geiger: Musik in zwei Diktaturen. Verfolgung von Komponisten unter Hitler und Stalin
    In: Slovenská hudba, Vol. 32, 2006, No. 1, pp. 129 – 130