• 2/2023: Slovak Music

    2/2023: Slovak Music

    Cover: Béla Ferdics © Corpus, 2021


    ČIERNA, Alena: Preface
    In: Slovenská hudba, Vol. 49, 2023, No. 2, pp. 97 – 98


    DANIHEL, Lucia: Úvaha podnietená úvahami. O Zeljenkovom Osvienčime
    In: Slovenská hudba, Vol. 49, 2023,No. 2, pp. 99 – 108

    DOI: 10.4149/SH_2023_2_1

    One of Zeljenka’s most famous compositions – Oświęcim (1959 – 1960) – is a testimony to the horrors of the inferno of modern human history. Despite its anti-fascist theme, which was ideologically acceptable to the communist regime at the time, the cantata setting Mikuláš Kováč’s poetic text to music was banned under the pretext of “formalism and obeisance to the West”. Only a stereo recording was made in the Prague radio in 1964, and the first performance of the composition did not take place until five years after its origination. The period between the creation of the work and its first performance still favoured optimistically tuned compositions in the spirit of the cultural policy of the time, not excluding cantata creations, and the evaluation of new works by critics corresponded to this. In 1964, during the ongoing ban on performing Zeljenka’s cantata, Roman Berger published his evaluative analysis of the composition under the title Úvaha podnietená Oswienczymom [A Reflection inspired by Oświęcim] on the pages of the Slovak Music review. Zeljenka knew in advance that the contribution would be published; it was a sort of agreement between the two artists, intending both to stimulate an open discussion about the banned work, which “cannot be harmed any more”, and to open up the topic of writing music criticism. Furthermore, Berger’s reasoning sparked another wave of composers’ responses. Zeljenka’s work Oświęcim deserves our attention not only with respect to the composer’s compositional legacy fifteen years after the end of World War II but also for the fate of the work in the totalitarian regime in which Zeljenka lived.

    Ilja Zeljenka; Mikuláš Kováč; cantata Oświęcim; Roman Berger; criticism; analysis; instrumental forces

    STAHL, Michal: Ilja Zeljenka – To Sing?
    In: Slovenská hudba, Vol. 49, 2023, No. 2, pp. 109 – 124

    DOI: 10.4149/SH_2023_2_2

    The cantata To Sing? by Ilja Zeljenka stands as a representative of the compositional work of those composers who were, for whatever reason, condemned by the society, and their work and its performance was forbidden. This study is part of the theme monitoring the manifestations of existential crisis in works of Slovak composers since the second half of the 20th century. The cantata, as the composer said, comes from the period when he longed for simplification, comprehensibility and contact with the listener. It contains the critique of the then ruling communist regime, embodied in the lyrics of the 19th-century Slovak poet Ján Botto. The study analyses the lyrics, the role and position of the individual performing groups, compositional devices reflecting the tectonics of the continuous comprehensible arch from the beginning to the end, orchestration, Zeljenka’s “cells”, his typical “play” and the presence of the golden ratio. In the analysis, we follow the rehearsal marks as they give us the information regarding the construction of the piece, changes in orchestration and alternation of all participating components including the orchestra, two choirs, soprano solo and the narrator. The sections are a structural part of the form and, together with other building principles, they deserve our analytical attention. Among others, the analysis of the sections has also shown Zeljenka’s unique plan of the employment of participating performing forces and the narrator, as no two sections out of the 40 share the same instrumentation.

    Slovak music; cantata; narrator; choir; soprano solo; Ilja Zeljenka; Slovak composer; 20th century; existential crisis; Ján Botto; analysis; instrumentation; golden ratio; play; cell; section; composition

    VESELÝ, Ondrej: Guitar Compositions of Slovak Composers
    In: Slovenská hudba, Vol. 49, 2023, No. 2, pp. 125 – 145

    DOI: 10.4149/SH_2023_2_3

    The presented text brings the first part of a study entitled Guitar Compositions of Slovak Composers. In addition to specifying the determining factors of the given topic, this part clarifies the Slovak contexts of the beginnings and development of composing for guitar (and with guitar) in the compositions of Slovak composers. In addition, the text also presents the most important Slovak concert guitarists, whose activities stimulated the creation of such musical works. The last chapter is dedicated to concertos for guitar and orchestra and also provides further analyses of the concerto works of Peter Breiner, Miro Bázlik, Marián Budoš, and Oľga Kroupová.

    guitar music; Slovak composers; concert guitarists; guitar concertos

    RUTTKAY, Juraj: A Profile of Ľudovít Štassel, the Composer, Lyrics Writer and Popular Music Organizer (to the 100th Anniversary of His Birth)
    In: Slovenská hudba, Vol. 49, 2023, No. 2, pp. 146 – 166

    DOI: 10.4149/SH_2023_2_4

    The study presents the basic information concerning the life and work of Ľudovít Štassel – a composer, lyrics writer, translator, compiler and editor of music series designated for wind ensembles and small instrumental groups, and a leading representative of the popular music section of the Union of Slovak Composers in the span of twenty years (1969–1989) – on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of his birth. He acquired practical musical experience while working in various positions, at first in his leisure time, and later in full-time jobs in Vrútky, Martin and Bratislava. The core of his work consists in swing compositions from the 1960s and 1970s.

    popular music; swing; Ľudovít Štassel; music publishers; radio recording


    GODÁROVÁ, Katarína: There Is Always Music in My Head... Interview with the Pianist Eva Virsik
    In: Slovenská hudba, Vol. 49, 2023, No. 2, pp. 167 – 182

    DOI: 10.4149/SH_2023_2_5

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