Search Results for 'hungary'

Allen Ginsberg & Hobo Blues Band – Üvöltés

Allen Ginsberg & Hobo – Üvöltés LP front cover
Allen Ginsberg & Hobo – Üvöltés LP back cover
Allen Ginsberg & Hobo – Üvöltés LP side A

A self-proclaimed Communist and homosexual, U.S. poet Allen Ginsberg (1926-1997) caused a stir in several Communist countries he visited (Czechoslovakia in 1965, Yugoslavia in 1980, China in 1984), to the extend of being expelled from Cuba in 1965. His visit in Hungary in 1980 went smoother and he could perform the poetry readings and meetings with political activists that were his usual diet while traveling abroad. In addition, Ginsberg performed and recorded the Üvöltés (Howl) LP with members of Hungarian Hobo Blues Band. A poet of the electronic age, Ginsberg appeared on a number of LPs and recordings as early as the 1970s – see great Ginsberg discography here.

This album is a collection of Ginsberg poems set to music. The opener Gospel Noble Truths and #6 Sickness Blues are sung in English, presumably by Ginsberg himself, who also plays harmonium on the latter. The rest of the 1st side is made of blues rock tracks with singer Földes László interpreting Hungarian translations of Ginsberg poems. The mood is quite varied, from the crepuscular #3 Guru Blues, a fine atmospheric song, to a regular Christmas song with children choir titled Come Back Christmas, while #5 Café in Warsaw is deliciously nostalgic. On the B-side, Földes reads excerpts from Carl Solomonért’s Hungarian translation of Howl with music accompaniment by Hobo Blues Band, a progressive build-up with electric organ, bass, and drums.

[Thanks to Goran for this one]

01 Gospel Noble Truths (4:35)
02 Tear Gas Rag [lyrics] (1:42)
03 Guru Blues (5:10)
04 Come Back Christmas (3:50)
05 Café in Warsaw (4:47)
06 Sickness Blues (5:03)
07 Howl (26:46)

Ginsberg Allen, vocals, Indian harmonium
Földes László, vocals, poetry
Döme Dezső, drums
Fuchs László, piano, el. organ, synthesizer, vocals
Póka Egon, bass, guitar, synthesizer, vocals
Tóth János Rudolf, guitar, violin, vocals

Total time 52:00
LP released by Krem/Hungaroton, Hungary, 1987

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Albert Leskowsky – Music for the Instruments of an Exhibition

Albert Leskowsky - Music for the Instruments of an Exhibition LP front cover
Albert Leskowsky - Music for the Instruments of an Exhibition LP back cover
Albert Leskowsky - Music for the Instruments of an Exhibition LP side A

Located in Kecskemét, 85 km South-East of Budapest, Leskowsky Hangszergyűjtemény (Leskowsky’s Musical Instruments Collection) is Hungary’s largest collection of music instruments. Created by ethnomusicologist Albert Leskowsky, who gave the collection to the City, it was transformed into a museum now spotted in tourist guides. The museum, said to be opened 24/7 on appointment, also hosts regular music concerts. Among its 1,500 items, the collection includes a large array of percussion, as well as traditional folk instruments and bells from Hungary and abroad. There’s a great post on the Museum with pictures and videos on this Russian blog. A man of many resources, Leskowsky also organizes the yearly Kecskemét velocipede rally since 2006 – there’s a photo of Leskowsky beside one of these engines on this Flickr page.

♫ The music on Zene Egy Kiállítás Hangszereire (or Music for the Instruments of an Exhibition) of course relies on the collection’s many treasures, and each track calls for unusual instruments like jew’s harp, sitar, zither, bird calls, frog imitations, toys, hurdy-gurdy, flute, cheap sampler, etc, in addition to guitar, saxophone and percussion. Generally speaking, the DIY style, humor, rhythms and textures recall General Strike’s first cassette, Danger in Paradise, like in the opener, Ősszintetizátor, a nice percussion-driven track with vintage and possibly modified synthesizer.

01 Ősszintetizátor  –  Prehistorical synthesizer (7:14)
02 Sivatagi lant  –  Desert lute (4:33)
03 Éjféli haransző  –  Midnight bells (6:30)
04 Afromagyaros  –  Afro-Hungarian music (2:15)
05 A pneumatikus gong esete  –  The case of the pneumatic gongs (5:37)
06 Collection-percussion  –  Jam session (7:42)
07 Nyenyere mars  –  Hurdie-gurdie march (3:32)
08 Tengertánc  –  Hip-hop rap (3:13)
09 Síppal, dobbal, nádi hegedűvel  –  With whistle, drums and reedpipes (4:47)
10 Részeg tárogatós blues  –  The drunken tarogatoman blues (3:50)
11 Alternatív zongoragép  –  Alternative mechanical piano (2:40)
12 Finálé szöghegedűre  –  Finale for nail violin (1:12)

Total time 53:04
LP released by Origo Studio, Kecskemét, Hungary, date? (approx. 1995–2000)

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Katalin Ladik & Gábor Fülöp [2 radio plays]

Katalin Ladik & Gábor Fülöp [2 radio plays] LP front cover
Katalin Ladik & Gábor Fülöp [2 radio plays] LP back cover
Katalin Ladik & Gábor Fülöp [2 radio plays] LP side 1

This 1988 Serbian disc on Radio-Televizje Beograd (RTB) pairs two radio plays produced by Radio Novi Sad by Magyar-speaking writers Katalin Ladik and Gábor Fülöp (note: in this post, family names come in last, unlike Hungarian custom).

A poet, mail artist, sound poet, performance artist and actress from Vojvodina, Katalin Ladik, born 1942, worked at Radio Novi Sad from 1963 to 1977, then became actor with the Novi Sad Theater until 1992, when she relocated to Hungary. She collaborated with composers Dubravko Detoni (1973-73), Ernö Kiraly (Jugoton LP, 1979), Dušan Radić (Oratorio Profano, 1979) or Boris Kovač (Ritual Nova I & II, 1985-88). Ladik’s radio play Aki Darazsakról Álmodik, or Who Is Dreaming About Wasps, was premiered in Budapest by the Hungarian national radio in 1982 under the title Furcsa, Aki Darazsakról Álmodik, with the voices of Alex Avanesian and Imre József Katona. The version on this disc was recorded by Radio Novi Sad in Vojvodina (a Serbian province including a Magyar-speaking minority – see previous post) and directed by Tibor Vajda and the collaboration of Júlia Biszák, Karoly Fischer, Gábor Fülöp and experimental music composer and instrument builder Ernö Király. Ladik was married to Király during the 1960s, when he was music director at Radio Novi Sad.

In this surreal, dream-like radio play, studio techniques like montage, varispeed or voice spatialization create a disconcerting theater of voices narrating the encounters of a woman (played by Ladik herself) with various imaginary male and female caracters. The woman’s voice is alternatively a child, a young woman, a mother or an elder, not necessarily in this logical order. Ernö Kiraly’s mysterious ziterphone and tablophone notes float around adding up to the Surrealist and neo-folk atmosphere.

Hungarian poet, translator, playwright and editor Gábor Fülöp (b1950), lived in Yugoslavia in the 1980s and was director of dramaturgy at Radio Novi Sad from 1976 to 1991, when he finally relocated to Budapest, Hungary. The radio play Bomba-Effektus Le És Föl (or The effect of bombs, above and under) was originally created at Radio Novi Sad in 1983. The play is more traditional than Ladik’s own, with proper roles, scenario and Foley art.

[Thanks to Goran for this disc]

  1. Katalin Ladik Aki Darazsakról Álmodik (23:07)
    Katalin Ladik, author
    Katalin Ladik, Júlia Biszák, Károly Fischer, actors
    Ernö Király, ziterphone, tablophone, electric guitar
    Tibor Vajda, director
    Gábor Fülöp, dramaturgy
    Doru Barbulov, sound engineer
  2. Gábor Fülöp Bomba-Effektus Le És Föl (21:35)
    Gábor Fülöp, Éva Varga, authors
    György Fejes, István Sinkó, Jeno Ferenci, József Horváth,
    Károly Fischer, Zoltán Balázs-Piri, Zsuzsa Daróczi, actors
    Gábor Fülöp, dramaturgy
    Iván Fece, sound engineer

Total time 44:42
LP released by RTB, Belgrade, ex-Yugoslavia, 1988

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Zoltán Jeney – s/t 1979 LP

Zoltán Jeney s/t LP front cover
Zoltán Jeney s/t LP back cover
Zoltán Jeney s/t LP side B

A founding member of the New Music Studio along László Vidovsky, Péter Eötvös and László Sáry, Zoltán Jeney (born 1943) was one of the composers who, thanks to his trips to Rome, Darmstadt, Stockholm, Warsaw, Paris, etc, as a performer or composer, helped update Hungarian music with contemporary Western techniques like serialism, aleatoric or electronic music, and free local composers from the influence of Bartok and Kodaly. In the 1970s, Jeney transcribed found texts, meteorological data, solitaire and chess games moves or telexes into music and, under the influence of John Cage, Christian Wolff, Morton Feldman and Oriental philosophy, composed a series of minimalist works for unusual instrumentation, a selection of which is offered on this disc.

♫ This 1979 LP, one of the most radical on Hungaroton’s catalog at the time, collects compositions from 1973-78, with members of the New Music Studio performing under Jeney’s direction. Impho 102-6 is a timeless, repetitive piece played on shimmering and resonating metallic plates. Orpheus’ Garden is a peaceful and subdued composition for a small orchestra of 8 instruments, each competing in playing the softest notes possible from their respective instrument, in a very Feldman-esque configuration. The quite uncompromising and radical A Hundred Years’ Average confronts computer sine waves with viola glissandos processed through ring modulator, before the solo piano of End Game returns to Morton Feldman influences.

  1. Impho 102-6 (9:19)
    For six ancient plates
  2. Orpheus’ Garden (15:14)
    For 8 instruments (flute, piano, electric organ,
    clarinet, harpsichord, cello, viola, accordion)
  3. A Hundred Years’ Average (18:00)
    For viola, 2 sine wave generators and ring modulator
  4. End Game (7:52)
    For piano

Total time 50:25
LP released by Hungaroton, Budapest, Hungary, 1979

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More Hungaroton on Continuo’s:

  • István Szigeti ‘Elektroakusztikus művek’ >
  • László Sáry ‘Öt Melankólikus Ének’ >
  • Márta Fábián ‘Contemporary Hungarian Cimbalom Music vol. 1′ >
  • Márta Fábián ‘Contemporary Hungarian Cimbalom Music vol. 2′  >

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Márta Fábián ‘Contemporary Hungarian Cimbalom Music vol. 1’

Contemporary Hungarian Cimbalom Music vol. 1 front cover
Contemporary Hungarian Cimbalom Music vol. 1 back cover
Contemporary Hungarian Cimbalom Music vol. 1 side A

Much like a manifesto of things to come in Hungaroton’s cimbalom department, this 1978 record, Márta Fábián‘s first under her own name, offers a glimpse into the fascinating sonorities the instrument gained thanks to contemporary Hungarian composers (see previous post). The sparse, enchanting sounds of the solo cimbalom featured on side A (tr.#1-3) seem like a tabula rasa after ages of folk tunes on flexi-disc postcards. Mostly played pianissimo, side A’s sparse, rarefied music has a remarkable power of evocation, thanks to eerie sonorities and a surreal atmosphere. The chamber music on side B pairs the cimbalom with high pitched instruments like violin, viola, flute and soprano singers. But the hushed, soft sonorities continue the dream-like theme of the first side. A rather impressive achievement considering Márta Fábián was only 22 when she recorded this Cimbalommüvek album.

01 Sándor Szokolay Quattro Lamenti (8:50)
02 Lajos Papp 9 Bagatelles (8:04)
03 Kamilló Lendvay Disposizioni (8:24)
04 Endre Székely Trio (11:48)
05 Miklós Kocsár Kassák-dalok (9:10)
06 László Sáry Quartetto (5:52)

Katalin Szökefalvy-Nagy, voice
Magdolna Tarkó, voice
András Kiss, violin
Tivadar Popa, viola
István Matúz, flute
László Vidovsky, conductor

Total time 52:00
LP released by Hungaroton, Hungary, 1978

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See also:
Márta Fábián ‘Contemporary Hungarian Cimbalom Music vol. 2′ >

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Márta Fábián ‘Contemporary Hungarian Cimbalom Music vol. 2’

Contemporary Hungarian Cimbalom Music vol. 2 LP front cover
Contemporary Hungarian Cimbalom Music vol. 2 LP back cover
Contemporary Hungarian Cimbalom Music vol. 2 LP side
Márta Fábián, 1978

Cimbalom player Márta Fábián, born 1946, studied in the Hungarian classic tradition of the instrument, yet she made a groundbreaking debut with her three first solo Hungaroton LPs of specially-commissioned, contemporary repertoire, published 1978-80. Since then, she has interpreted the foremost Hungarian composers like Peter Eötvös and György Kurtág, as well as the baroque and classical repertoire (see good bio here). The shimmering, harmonic-laden sounds of the cimbalom have been extensively used for picturesque evocations in folk music, yet the instrument’s tonal riches could only attract contemporary composers yearning for timbral opulence. It clearly shows in this LP, with compositions pairing cimbalom with flute (Endre Székely), guitar (István Láng), horn (Miklós Kocsár) or zither (Attila Bozay). László Sáry’s Sonata is the only piece for solo cimbalom (see previous post on Sáry). The music sometimes call for extended playing technique, like stroking the strings with fingers, instead of beaters, as on Attila Bozay’s Tükör Op. 28. The last two tracks are definitely the most satisfying here, the sombre, contemplative, long held notes of Repliche leading to the ambiguous association of zither and cimbalom of  Tükör – that is, mirror in Hungarian, as if Márta-Alice had stepped Through the Looking-Glass into “a most curious country”. [b&w photo above from Patrick Scheffer’s Flickr photostream]

01 István Láng Hullámok II (6:22)
02 László Sáry Sonanti No. 3 (9:23)
03 Endre Székely Duó Cimbalomra és Fuvolára (9:25)
04 Miklós Kocsár Repliche No.2 (10:27)
05 Attila Bozay Tükör Op.28 (11:47)

Tihamér Elek, flute (#1, #3)
Béla Sztankovits, guitar (#1)
Ferenc Tarjáni, horn (#4)
Attila Bozay, zither (#5)

Total time 47:15
LP released by Hungaroton, Hungary, 1979

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László Sáry ‘Öt Melankólikus Ének’

Öt Melankólikus Ének LP front
Öt Melankólikus Ének LP back
Öt Melankólikus Ének side A

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)
Pentagramm
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

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István Szigeti ‘Elektroakusztikus művek’

ist-szi-front-s1
ist-szi-back-s1

01 Souvenir de K (12:10)
02 ELKA (12:21)
03 Image (9:47)
04 Concerto Per Te (12:48)

Total time: 47:00
LP released on Hungaroton, 1989

istszigetiSince 1994, István Szigeti (b1952) has been the director of Hungary’s National Radio HEAR Music Studio, a professional facility provided to composers of electroacoustic music. There was another electroacoustic studio in Budapest during the 1970s, the Budapest New Music Studio, where people like Péter Eötvös used to compose. Though Szigeti also composes for traditional instruments, this LP is a selection from his electroacoustic works from the 1980s. Szigeti’s music retains some of early electroacoustic’s freshness and naivety – not that the compositions are naive, far from it ; but Szigeti believes in electroacoustic music as a means to convey the human’s inner emotions. Szigeti creates dreamy and haunting surreal electronic promenades build on electronic sounds (keyboards and programming) and vocals, be it poetry reading (from Sándor Weöres on tr. # 1 and László Nagy tr.#3), reciting, singing, electronically treated or otherwise processed. The compositions emphasize human voice’s liquid sonorities and we are treated wet hungarian phonemes a-plenty. Everything happens in a dream-like state, typical from Eastern Europe’s surrealism (think czech legendary film Valerie soundtrack, for instance).

Download [Re-upped, September 2011]


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