• 1/2023: Social-political Crises and Music

    1/2023: Social-political Crises and Music

    Cover: Béla Ferdics © Corpus – Object I, 2019


    ČIERNA, Alena: Preface
    In: Slovenská hudba, Vol. 49, 2023, No. 1, pp. 5 – 6


    MEDŇANSKÝ, Karol: Hommage a František Matúš.
    In: Slovenská hudba, Vol. 49, 2023, No. 1, pp. 7 – 13

    DOI: 10.4149/SH_2023_1_1


    ŠTEFKOVÁ, Markéta: “About Eternal Beginnings” : The Battle for Foundations of the Modern Slovak Music
    In: Slovenská hudba, Vol. 49, 2023, No. 1, pp. 14 – 33

    DOI: 10.4149/SH_2023_1_2

    The study monitors the endeavours to establish a founding personality or generation of the modern Slovak music. The crystallization of a national identity of the Slovak artificial music was intricate because of a strong cultural background in the former Austria-Hungary until 1918, and due to close bonds with the Czech environment. In the 19th century the most important representative aspiring to the post of “the Slovak national composer” was Ján Levoslav Bella. Unfortunately, during his life no institutional background of the Slovak music existed at all, therefore he spent majority of his prolific years abroad and used the miscellaneous impulses from Hungarian folklore in his work. After the disintegration of the Austrian-Hungarian monarchy and the establishment of the First Czechoslovak Republic the infrastructure of the Slovak musical life was built gradually and unity with Czechs and bonds to Czech music culture were accentuated. It was namely Vítězslav Novák, at whose Master  School the representatives of the Slovak music modernism completed their compositional education. From this generation Eugen Suchoň was the closest to the creation of the characteristic idiom of the Slovak artificial music. Inspired by European music modernism he integrated the elements of Slovak folklore into his musical language. However, a definite opinion regarding Suchoň’s position in the development of Slovak music has not crystallized yet. The final evaluation of his significance has remained the task for future generations of music historians, after gaining a sufficient distance from the social-political circumstances surrounding his work, from inter-generational conflicts among the Slovak composers and from personal bonds extending to the present.

    Slovak music modernism; composer; generation; Eugen Suchoň

    LADIČ, Branko: “To the More Beautiful Days” : The Slovak Choral and Cantata Work in the Service of Propaganda after February 1948
    In: Slovenská hudba, Vol. 49, 2023, No. 1, pp. 34 – 50

    DOI: 10.4149/SH_2023_1_3

    The political changes in 1948 brought about unprecedented interventions in the development of the Slovak culture. Soon the new regime theoretically formulated its concept of culture and established  the only one approved tendency – socialist realism and its single tolerated way of artistic expression. The relatively young Slovak music, which had been developing tumultuously especially since the second half of the 1930s, was fundamentally affected by it. The variability of styles and forms was restricted, the creative approaches in use were extremely simplified. This in fact denied the previous development and the principles of acculturation, which had been essential for the Slovak music since its origination. The most extreme opinions even regarded the inspirations by the Slovak folk music as outdated, which again contradicted the principle of self-realization. The return to the devices of Romanticism and simple forms was required. The following forms dominated: a committed solo song following the pattern of the so-called mass songs from the Soviet overproduction; choral works; creation of cantatas due to their impressiveness (choir with orchestra). The ideological pressure was so strong that even the members of the oldest compositional generation started to cultivate these forms. Commited choirs were written by Mikuláš Schneider-Trnavský, firmly entrenched in the church musical tradition for all of his life, Frico Kafenda, whose work was based on German Romanticism and who returned to music composition after a 30-year-long break, and Alexander Albrecht, the prominent Bratislava composer, who was ethnically and musically joined with Bratislava’s traditional German-Hungarian environment. The committed choral work was dealt with by representatives of the Slovak music modernism, too. For the turn of the 1950s the creation of the so-called folk cantatas, vocal-instrumental works whose aim was to impress the wide masses with relatively simple means and extensive performing forces, was typical. The first of that kind of compositions was the Salutation to Stalin by Ján Cikker (1949), followed in quick succession with pieces by Andrej Očenáš (Song about the Communist Party), Šimon Jurovský (Cantata on Gottwald) and Dezider Kardoš (Peace Cantata). In these works despite frequent usage of traditional means in development of music material and form (traditional arch form, contrapuntal devices), a gradual simplification takes place, leading to the “strophic” cantata based on song, periodicity, employment of homophony, all in pursuit of the best comprehensibility and communicativeness for the musically undemanding listeners. This tendency resulted in a significant slowing of the musical progress. The highly undevelopmental concept of the socialist realism triggered an overall stagnation, suppression of creative individuality, as well as of the diversity and multifariousness of Slovak music.

    Slovak music; acculturation; self-realization; socialist realism; committed song; choral work; folk

    ŠČEPÁN, Michal: Autobiographical Factors in Tadeáš Salva’s Oeuvre
    In: Slovenská hudba, Vol. 49, 2023, No. 1, pp. 51– 58

    DOI: 10.4149/SH_2023_1_4

    In his analytical writings the Polish musicologist Mieczysław Tomaszewski pointed to the fact that an artifact possesses certain specific features related to the life of its author. Among them also autobiographical factors can be found, representing the evidence of life events, namely of the social situation in which the author lived and worked. Their presence can be identified not only on the basis of the time of origination but also in the title and subtitle, or dedication given in the work. Tadeáš Salva (1937–1995) was among those composers whose life and work cannot be perceived as two autonomous entities; on the contrary, his compositional activity was distinctively influenced by his experience in human society. Namely, social and political crises decidedly contributed not only to the origination of particular works of his but also considerably affected the development of Salva’s creation and character of its respective phases. It is peculiar to the pieces from the 1960s that they reflected the experience of crises taking place on the background of dramatic social-political processes both in our country and abroad. The piece Metamorphoses for strings, with a subtitle “To the heroes who were tortured in the concentration camp in Oświęncim” (1961), originated as a reminiscence to the World War II events. However, the peak of Salva’s work is represented by two sacred works: Requiem aeternam (1967) and Mša glagolskaja (Glagolitic Mass, 1969). While the first of them responds to the escalation of tension in international relations during the Cold War, the second one reflects the domestic situation after the August 1968 events. His compositions from later years likewise disclose their autobiographical factors, namely the peace oratorio War and World (1972) and Four Little Preludes (for piano, 1989), which were written under the impression of the revolutionary days of November 1989. The mosaic of Salva’s artistic personality sensitively reacting to the outside world is complemented with his statements from interviews, correspondence and his autobiography, unfortunately not published yet.

    Tadeáš Salva; Slovak music avant-garde; autobiographical factors; sacred music; social-political

    HAŠKOVÁ, Katarína: Peter Kolman and his Isle of Freedom
    In: Slovenská hudba, Vol. 49, 2023, No. 1, pp. 59 – 69

    DOI: 10.4149/SH_2023_1_5

    In 1965 the Experimental Studio of the Czechoslovak Radio in Bratislava was established as one of the new “institutional” forms of avant-garde music in Slovakia. The composer Peter Kolman became its artistic leader and programme director. From the very beginnings he struggled to steer this workplace to the latest trends in electroacoustic music. In the short period of the following years the studio represented a place for independent and autonomous electroacoustic work. The incoming “normalization” in the early 1970s brought a decline in its activities. Paradoxically, despite the opposition of the normalizing power against electroacoustic music, it was namely this Experimental Studio, where music – though “illegally” – was still being created. Although restricted in our country, it represented the acme of Slovak music abroad and was awarded important international prizes and gaining acknowledgement. In the period 1972 – 1976 Peter Kolman himself composed four of his electroacoustic compositions – Lentement mais pas trop, E 15, Poliritmica, and 9 1/2, thus confirming the paradox of this social-political and artistic crisis.

    Peter Kolman; electroacoustic music; Experimental Studio Bratislava; composition E 15

    ORAVEC BALLÁNOVÁ, Viktória: Ľubica Čekovská: Impresario Dotcom – the Influence of Pandemic on the Opera Genesis
    In: Slovenská hudba, Vol. 49, 2023, No. 1, pp. 70 – 77

    DOI: 10.4149/SH_2023_1_6

    The second full-length opera by Ľubica Čekovská originated in an extremely exacting social situation, when the whole world was paralyzed by the ravaging pandemic. The complicated period had left its marks also on the circumstances and final appearance of the opera Impresario Dotcom, which instead of the originally announced co-production was eventually premiered only at the expense of the Bregenz Festival. The study focuses on the influence of the pandemic on the process of the study, date and place of the first performance of the opera. Subsequently we examine the musical structure of the work, which – due to imposed anti-pandemic measures – had to be cut and accommodated to the current situation. As modern opera creation is extremely rarely presented in the Slovak National Theatre, it is an important fact that the opera Impresario Dotcom, the composer’s second opera work, was again staged on this first Slovak opera scene.

    Ľubica Čekovská; Impresario Dotcom; opera; pandemic


    Jevgenij Iršai: O Tikkun Olam. My View of...
    In: Slovenská hudba, Vol. 49, 2023, No. 1, pp. 78 – 83

    DOI: 10.4149/SH_2023_1_7

    Tikkun olam (orig. Hebrew: “repair of the world”) is a concept in Judaism, which refers to various forms of action intended to repair or improve the world. In classic al rabbinic literature, this phrase referred to legal enactments created to maintain order in society. In modern era, namely in post-Haskalah movements, Tikkun Olam has come to refer to the pursuit of social justice or “the establishment of Godly qualities throughout the world”, etc.
    In my text I am writing about the works of past few years in which I have been more and more focused on philosophical and religious texts. The most prominent composition is undoubtedly the monumental Requiem for a Poet, with a subtitle “At the End of Civilisation” for bass-baritone, soprano, mixed choir and symphonic orchestra. This piece was based on a Latin canonical text and the poems of six exceptional poets from various periods, in original.


    RUTTKAY, Juraj: Pavol Zápotočný a kol.: 100 rokov : Základná umelecká škola Pavla Mudroňa 6 : Martin
    In: Slovenská hudba, Vol. 49, 2023, No. 1, pp. 84 – 85

    DOI: 10.4149/SH_2023_1_8

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