• 3-4/2008: Personalities: Eugen Suchoň – Karel Husa

    3-4/2008: Personalities: Eugen Suchoň – Karel Husa


    ČIERNA, Alena: Preface
    In: Slovenská hudba, Vol. 34, 2008, No. 3-4, pp. 209


    CHALUPKA, Ľubomír: Eugen Suchoň’s Work in Historical and Generational Relations to the Development of the 20th Century Slovak Music
    In: Slovenská hudba, Vol. 34, 2008, No. 3-4, pp. 211 – 222

    The contribution focuses on observing the position of Eugen Suchoň and/or his generation in particular periods of the Slovak music – namely since 1920s to 1980s. Each decade documents the development of professional Slovak music. The starting point was a formation of Suchoň’s generation – later known as “Slovak Music Moderna” – which accentuated its programme sources since its artistic commencement and subsequent development in the inter-war period. Despite a common artistic opinion a stylistic individuality of each of Suchoň’s schoolmates was moulded already in the course of the 1930s. In this time Suchoň formulated his own peculiar compositional technique and he had already presented his first matured artistic results appreciated by critique. Paradoxically in the time of the World War II the Slovak music experienced one of its blossomings. New pieces by younger members of the “Slovak Music Moderna”, a swift entrance of Ján Cikker and namely a success of Suchoň’s Balladical Suite on foreign stages contributed to this bloom. After 1945 an important demand appeared to enrich the stylistic profile of the Slovak music creation by new inspirations. It was a compelling challenge for Suchoň’s generation; nevertheless, its members usually persisted in their original positions.

    At that time Suchoň finished his work on the opera The Whirlpool, which was labeled as “the first Slovak national opera”. However, its premiere in December 1949 took place in a new cultural and political environment, as the Slovak society had been incorporated into the ideological ambit of the Soviet Union. Proclaimed ideas of socialist realism forced the composer to rework the piece.

    While writing his second opera in the course of the 1950s Suchoň intensively tried to innovate his style by the way of acceptation of transformed dodecaphonic technique. This transformation led him to a cycle of works in the 1960s as well as to theoretical reflection of his own compositional endeavour. The cycle Kaleidoscope, Symphonic Fantasia on B-A-C-H and his theoretical treatise Akordika od trojzvuku po dvanásťzvuk (Structure of Chords from the Triad to the Twelve-tone Chord) represent Suchoň’s specific contribution to the inter-generational confrontation intensified by the entrance of talented young composers at the time, who were interested in adoption of new contemporary insiprations and techniques from the European music and were polemically ranged against the traditional sources cultivated by Suchoň’s generation.

    In the closing period of Suchoň’s creative activity, when the Slovak music creation – especially in the 1970s – increased in volume and later it was enriched by the work of the composers oriented on the ideas of so-called postmodern style, Suchoň maintained his accomplished stylistic position penetrated by elements of reminiscence.

    MARTINÁKOVÁ, Zuzana: Development of Eugen Suchoň’s Creation
    In: Slovenská hudba, Vol. 34, 2008, No. 3-4, pp. 223 – 232

    Eugen Suchoň belongs to the most significant Slovak composers of the 20th century. Despite several publications and studies reflecting his life, compositions and theoretical works, his heritage constantly arouses an interest of performers, musicologists and music-lovers. The presented study is a survey of five creative phases of Eugen Suchoň. These phases do not correspond to closed and contrasting stylistic periods of the composer. Although the first phase is characteristic by a search for compositional starting points, still we may find there some germs of his later matured stylistic expression.

    The time of studies brought with itself new impulses and two ways: the first one was represented by a development of Late-Romantic sources and the second one by a following of folklore trends. Namely this second way was developed during his Prague studies. The third phase is typical by the first integration, crystallization of his own compositional expression on the basis of connection of both ways. In the fourth creative phase the composer questioned the correctness of his compositional expression and in this phase of disintegration he searched for new possibilities in junction of different tone systems (modal, tonal, atonal, dodecaphonic and serial methods).

    Suchoň entered the way of new integration, however, in the latest creative phase – influenced by his natural development in advanced years – he refused to use dodecaphonic and serial methods in his music. By the way of selection he arrived at a synthesis of his existing sources and to summarization demonstrated as returns to motifs and compositional elements of his older works.

    From this aspect it is possible to speak about a continuous development in Suchoň’s compositional expression formed since his early attempts to the creation of his last period.

    SPURNÝ, Lubomír: Eugen Suchoň’s Akordika and “New Harmony”
    In: Slovenská hudba, Vol. 34, 2008, No. 3-4, pp. 233 – 238

    The study is a critical exegesis of the Eugen Suchoň’s work Akordika od trojzvuku po dvanásťzvuk (Structure of Chords from the Triad to the Twelve-tone Chord, 1979). It serves as a basis for an observation of intricate transformations occurring in the course of the 20th century in the music compositional practice and subsequently in the music theory. Suchoň’s musical theoretical conception not only ranges strongly against the standardization of practical harmonical doctrines of the 19th century, but it also differs from descriptional, mostly historically oriented works of today. Although Suchoň’s work represents a unique formulation of the author’s opinions, it is also a general evidence of the increasing abyss between the theory and practice. The author of the contribution points to some similarities between the publication and the theoretical works of Bruno Weigel (Die Lehre von der Harmonik der diatonischen, der ganztonigen und der chromatischen Tonreihe, 1925) and Alois Hába (Neue Harmonielehre des diatonischen, chromatischen, Viertel-, Drittel-, Sechstel- und Zwölfteltonsystems, 1927).

    ŠTEFKOVÁ, Markéta: Suchoň’s Opera The Whirlpool and Substance of Its Musical Language
    In: Slovenská hudba, Vol. 34, 2008, No. 3-4, pp. 239 – 257

    The aim of the contribution is to point to the fact, that the opera The Whirlpool in its authentic form is a work with peculiar musical language and precisely elaborated concept, in which also the characters of the Poet and the Alter Ego have their irreplaceable function. The author refers to the fact, that the “cutting out” of these characters in the later versions of the opera imposed on the composer after the premiere of the work on December 10, 1949, caused non-organic fissures in the concept of the opera, which had possessed a total logical musical form with a texture interlaced by ingenious web of leitmotifs. Harmonical language of the opera is extrapolated from the so-called “13th chord” (c-e-g-bbd-f sharp-a), which tones simultaneously form a so-called Podhalan mode (a combination of a Lydian and Mixolydian scale, very characteristic for Slovak folk songs). Suchoň’s concept is related to Skryabin’s principle of “dissonant harmonic centre”, i.e. the whole opera is rooted in this chord, which is also a source of permanently tensed “balladic” character of the work released only in the catharsis concluding the 5th and 6th scenes. The selection of particular tones or intervals from the “13th chord” enables Suchoň to depict diverse characters and use various implications of the chord: whole-tone implications in “sophisticated” scenes of the Poet and the Alter Ego; tonal-modal ones in the scenes from the rural surroundings and in the images from the forest; subdominantly-lyrical in the Katrena’s scenes etc. In the entr’acte between the 4th and 5th scenes Suchoň reveals the basic typical motifs of the whole work in abstract form. Similarly the dialogue of Ondrej and the Alter Ego in the 5th scene of the authentic version of the work is conceived fully originally as a confrontation of Ondrej’s arioso with the Alter Ego’s Sprechgesang; in the censored version it is replaced by a psychologically unconvincing Ondrej’s monologue. The autor accentuates that such “cutting-outs” and reductions imply an essential repudiation of Suchoň’s aims and of the point of the whole work. At the end of the contribution the author conveys the belief, that the renewed premiere of the authentic form of the opera in Piešťany on October 18, 2008 enabled by the reconstruction of the score by Vladimír Bokes will finally close the period of “versions” of the Slovak national opera, and documents it by enthusiastic quotations from the reviews.

    VYSLOUŽILOVÁ, Věra: Monologue in Opera Dramaturgy of Eugen Suchoň (The Whirlpool), Leoš Janáček (Jenůfa) and Arnold Schönberg (Erwartung)
    In: Slovenská hudba, Vol. 34, 2008, No. 3-4, pp. 258 – 263

    The article deals with a dramaturgical role and a position of three significant opera monologues: a monologue of Ondrej in the opera The Whirlpool by Eugen Suchoň, a monologue by the Kostelnička in the opera Jenůfa by Leoš Janáček and a monodrama Erwartung by Arnold Schoenberg. Schoenberg’s monodrama may be categorized as a lyrical monologue expressing emotions and moods of a character without any influence on the next development of the story. Ondrej’s monologue in the real sense of the word is a dramatical and conflicting, leading to the decision in a conflicting situation and it is decisive for the next development of the story. Contrary to both preceding monologues the Kostelnička’s monologue in the Janáček’s opera Jenůfa is a short one. All three motifs are joined not only by the place of action – the nature, but also a kernel of the story – a horrible human act, a murder. While in the Schoenberg’s monodrama an actor, a motif as well as circumstances of a murder stay hidden, the Janáček’s Kostelnička occupies herself with a thought of a death of the child from its conception and finally the decision grows in her in the course of the monologue. In the Suchoň’s opera all circumstances of a murder are well known. The Ondrej’s monologue represents an important closed form inside the opera and it contributes to the impact of the opera by its psychological elaboration. Although Ondrej’s act is blameful, it was commited of love. Thus it becomes understandable and Ondrej by his confession acquires our compassion and sympathy. By this it ranges among the great characters of opera and literature, where the problem of a guilt, punishment and redemption often forms a central motif and a centre of thought of the whole work.

    KLINDA, Ferdinand: Ethical Aspect of Suchoň’s opera The Whirlpool
    In: Slovenská hudba, Vol. 34, 2008, No. 3-4, pp. 264 – 270

    The study deals with the ethical aspect of Suchoň’s opera The Whirlpool – with the message of Christian ethics, which has affected the fate of the opera almost for 60 years. The author of the contribution perceives the ethical aspect of Suchoň’s work in three domains: 1. the proclaimed intention of the opera, its contents and form; 2. the stage-managing approach to the opera and a contradictory interpretation of its message; and 3. perception of the opera by listeners. For decades it was not allowed to show The Whirlpool in original version to the audience while staging the opera in Slovakia – as well as abroad. However, we may assume, that the appealing ethics resulting from the unravelling of the plot, as well as an unusual form and conception of the opera as a story in a story would have aroused greater attention and deeper and more lasting response. It is not the unravelling of the plot, but its relation to the superior frame, what is unique and valuable. Therefore it is in the interest of the Slovak music to release the complete material of the original version of the opera and thus to offer a genuine, clear source for the cognition of The Whirlpool.


    BOKES, Vladimír: Whirlpool around The Whirlpool
    In: Slovenská hudba, Vol. 34, 2008, No. 3-4, pp. 271 – 281


    Eugen Suchoň – Biography
    In: Slovenská hudba, Vol. 34, 2008, No. 3-4, pp. 282 – 284

    Eugen Suchoň – Catalogue of works
    In: Slovenská hudba, Vol. 34, 2008, No. 3-4, pp. 285 – 310

    Eugen Suchoň – Register of works
    In: Slovenská hudba, Vol. 34, 2008, No. 3-4, pp. 311 – 314


    VYSLOUŽIL, Jiří: Karel Husa, his Years in Paris and before
    In: Slovenská hudba, Vol. 34, 2008, No. 3-4, pp. 315 – 320

    A Czech music composer Karel Husa is an outstanding personality of American music life of the second half of the 20th century. His extending output has acquired important international response. He has been living in the USA since 1954, in 1959 he acquired American citizenship and then he settled down here. The contribution is based on several studies of the author (Les Années parisiennes de Karel Husa et ce qui avait précédé; Karel Husa, tschechischer Komponist zwischen europäischer und amerikanischer Tradition; Karel Husa. The Trojan Women) and it deals with social and cultural conditions of formation of the composer’s personality stressing his years spent in Paris.

    Karel Husa, professor emeritus of composition and conducting at the Cornell University in Ithaca began to compose as a pupil of his Prague teacher Jaroslav Řídký. However, he established himself as a composer-professional after the performances of his String Quartet No. 1 (1948), higly appreciated also by his Paris teacher Arthur Honegger (École normale de musique, 1946–1949). Husa’s way to composition did not lead only via both compositional classes. Rich afterwar music life in Prague influenced highly the development of his personality. Husa welcomed enthusiastically innovations of music modernism, and he decided to look for its authentic (foreign) sources. He hesitated between the Russia (Prokofiev) and America (Copland, Martinů). Finally he decided for France, where he stayed also after finishing his studies with Honegger. Despite the summons to return to the then communist Czechoslovakia Karel Husa stayed abroad, thus saving his artistic peculiarity against ideological directions of the “socialistic realism”. In Paris Karel Husa composed nine new pieces, dealed in detail in the study: Three frescos for string orchestra (1947), String Quartet No. 1 (1948), Divertimento for string orchestra (1948), Évocation from Slovakia for clarinet, viola and cello (1951), Symphony No. 1 (1952–1953), String Quartet No. 2 (1953) and Portrait for string orchestra (1954). Karel Husa intended to stay in Paris, nevertheless, when a chance for a more certain existence appeared, he and his family left for the USA in autumn 1954.


    Karel Husa – Biography
    In: Slovenská hudba, Vol. 34, 2008, No. 3-4, pp. 321 – 322

    Karel Husa – List of works
    In: Slovenská hudba, Vol. 34, 2008, No. 3-4, pp. 323 – 325


    PANCURÁKOVÁ, Lívia: Marek Franěk: Hudební psychologie
    In: Slovenská hudba, Vol. 34, 2008, No. 3-4, pp. 326 – 327

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

    ŤAHÚN MENDELOVÁ, Antónia: Peter Šidlík: Metodologické charakteristiky vedeckého poznania. Význam aplikácie štatistických metód v sociálnych a humanitných disciplínach muzikológie
    In: Slovenská hudba, Vol. 34, 2008, No. 3-4, pp. 328 – 329

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

    ŤAHÚN MENDELOVÁ, Antónia: Iveta Betsa: Popularita ako fenomén hudobného umenia. Manipulácia s umelcom v hudobnom priemysle
    In: Slovenská hudba, Vol. 34, 2008, No. 3-4, pp. 329 – 331

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