Zoltán  Kodály

Zoltán Kodály (1882-1967)

Nationality: Hungarian
Born: December 16, 1882, Kecskemét
Died: March 6, 1967, Budapest (age 84)
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String Quartet No. 1 in c minor, Op. 2

(for 2 violins, viola and cello)
12:17
I. Andante poco rubato - Allegro
11:33
II. Lento assai, tranquillo
4:18
III. Presto
11:16
IV. Allegro - Allegretto semplice
Duration: 40 minutes (approximately) - hide movement times
Composed: between 1908-1909 (age 26-27)
First performance: March 17, 1910. Budapest. Waldbauer-Kerpely String Quartet
Published: 1910 (age 27-28), Budapest: Rózsavölgyi & Co.
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4 recordings, 13 videos
12:15
Audubon Quartet
I. Andante poco rubato - Allegro
12:02
Audubon Quartet
II. Lento assai, tranquillo
4:19
Audubon Quartet
III. Presto
12:56
Audubon Quartet
IV. Allegro - Allegretto semplice
12:42
Alexander Quartet
I. Andante poco rubato - Allegro
10:47
Alexander Quartet
II. Lento assai, tranquillo
4:20
Alexander Quartet
III. Presto
10:23
Alexander Quartet
IV. Allegro - Allegretto semplice
4:25
Alexander Quartet (Smalin Animation)
III. Presto
11:55
Kodály Quartet
I. Andante poco rubato - Allegro
11:50
Kodály Quartet
II. Lento assai, tranquillo
4:09
Kodály Quartet
III. Presto
10:29
Kodály Quartet
IV. Allegro - Allegretto semplice

From Silvertrust:

Zoltan KodályKodály's First String Quartet, composed in 1909, was the direct product of the researches he undertook with Bela Bartok of Hungarian folk melodies.

Zoltan Kodály (1882-1967) and Belá Bartók are widely regarded as the two most important Hungarian composers of the 20th century. Kodály was born in town of Kecskemét and from his father, a keen amateur musician, learned to play the violin as a child. In 1900, he entered the Franz Liszt Music Academy in Budapest where he studied composition with Hans Koessler. After graduating, he began a serious study of Hungarian folk melody. In 1905, he started visiting remote villages and collecting folk songs. Folk melody plays an important part in his music. Kodály later went to Paris where he studied with Charles Widor and was greatly impressed by the music of Debussy and the French impressionists. He composed in most genres, and while he did not write a great deal of chamber music, what he wrote is invariably engaging.

String Quartet No.1 was a landmark work in that it broke with German Romanticism, using original Hungarian folk melody with modern harmony. The opening Andante poco rubato serves as an introduction to the main movement, Allegro, and quotes an actual Hungarian folk song in the statement of the main theme. The cello announces the theme to a throbbing accompaniment. The second movement, Lento assai tranquillo, is an unhurried fugue. It has as its main theme, a modified version of the opening quote of the Andante, but now in the major. Kodály creates some very telling tone color episodes with his alternating use of arco and pizzicato passages. Next comes an energetic and exciting scherzo, Presto. The finale, Allegro, is in the form of a theme and an elaborate and brilliant set of variations.

This fine work has been totally and unjustly ignored by performing groups outside of Hungary and Austria which is a shame because it is a masterwork. Though not easy, it is in no way beyond the reach of experienced amateurs. It has never been easy to obtain parts to this work and we are pleased to make it available to a wider audience.

© Silvertrust. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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