A founder of the Budapest New Music Studio in 1970, along Zoltán Jeney and Péter Eötvös, Hungarian composer László Sáry, born 1940, was opened to post-1968 Western avantgarde and especially Christian Wolff, he discovered during Darmstadt courses, possibly through his meeting with John Cage there. Sáry composed solo music for cimbalom or percussion, orchestral music, chamber operas or electroacoustic music (Studies for Steam Engines, 1998). He also studied Japanese classical music and theater during the 1990s. Sáry helped update Hungarian music with contemporary Western experiments.
♫ While he contributed several tracks to compilation LPs on Hungaroton in the late 1970s-early 1980s, this 1987 LP is possibly his first solo recording, presenting the influence of radical US Minimalism on his music, as well as the exquisite Öt melankólikus ének (Five Melancholic Songs) for solo voice and piano. This elliptic song cycle, complete with Viennese Romanticism and German poetry, is a setting of some Georg Trakl’s poems with sparse piano accompaniment to which singer Magda Tarkó’s vibrato-less voice adds the final touch of minimalism and restraint. Thus, the Five Melancholic Songs bear echoes of Alban Berg’s Sieben Frühe Lieder, composed 1908. Inspired by Earle Browne’s 4 Systems (1954), Pentagram is based on piano/vibes homophonies, the use of piano as a percussion instrument and of percussion in non-rhythmic mode. A Continuity of Rotative Chords pairs crystalline flute sounds with piano chords a la Christian Wolff ca. Exercices, 1973. Extensive use of silence in both pieces points to American influences, as it is not typical from Hungarian music.
Yet another miraculous pressing from Hungaroton’s engineers.
Öt melankólikus ének (Five Melancholic Songs):
01 Einsame Weisse Lichtung (2:00)
02 Ein Brunnen Singt (1:58)
03 Von der Nacht (:54)
04 Ein Glockenspiel (1:43)
05 Oh, Du Milder Herbst (3:25)
06 Pentagram (18:40)
Egy akkordsor forgatókönyve
07 A Continuity of Rotative Chords (28:08)
Total time 57:00
LP released by Hungaroton, Hungary, 1987