Folklore !Ligeti, Grieg, Haas, Bartók
Duration: 60 minutes (no interval)
In the early twentieth century, when ethnomusicology was in its infancy, composers drew from folk songs and dances. Inspiration from the villages gave a new authenticity to the nationalist impulse of the end of the nineteenth century and inspired composers to explore new directions. Edvard Grieg’s Holberg Suite, subtitled “Suite in olden style”, was originally composed for the piano as a tribute to the seventeenth-century playwright Ludvig Holberg. Its five delightful movements are based on eighteenth-century dances. Béla Bartók, the “father of ethnomusicology”, travelled widely into the countryside with Zoltán Kodály collecting authentic peasant music. Both composers transcribed many folk tunes and also incorporated various elements of peasant music (rhythm, melody, texture) into their own compositions. There are many versions of Bartók’s Romanian Folk Dances (originally Romanian Folk Dances from Hungary), which, each lasting just a few minutes, present a fascinating variety of rhythms and colours. In 1949, at the beginning of his career, György Ligeti chose a very similar format for his Old Hungarian Ballroom Dances. The Czech composer Pavel Haas – his most influential teacher was Leoš Janáček – composed music inspired by Bohemia. Being very self-critical, he gave opus numbers to only eighteen of his fifty or so works. His Study for string orchestra (1943) reflects his final tragic years in Theresienstadt (Terezín) concentration camp. It was there that this work was composed and played for the first time.
The Orchestre des Pays de Savoie and the Orchestre d’Auvergne recently launched a competition for the composition of a short piece for string orchestra and amateur singers (audience members) on a text advocating universal humanist values. The winning composition will be premièred during the 2017-18 season.
With the support of Musique Nouvelle en Liberté
Nicolas Chalvin, conductor
Orchestre des Pays de Savoie
Régi magyar társas táncok (1949)
(Old Hungarian Ballroom Dances)
Holberg Suite, op. 40 (1884)
Study for string orchestra (1943)
Romanian Folk Dances (1910)