Music of Hungary

An evening of opera, Zoltán Kodály’s unique folk songs, Ferenc Liszt and others

With: Sebastian Haboczki (tenor) Melissa McCann (soprano), István Lakatos (violin) and Paul Digout (piano)

Zoltán Kodály, along with Béla Bartók, was one of the creators of a new Hungarian art music based on folk sources, and laid the foundation for the development of a broad-based and musically literate culture.

For Music of Hungary, the inaugural concert of the Kin Musical Adventure Series, talented musicians and singers celebrate the brilliant arrangements of Zoltán Kodály, Franz Liszt and others. The evening offers an outstanding musical program of noted artists bringing a retrospective of Hungarian composers to a contemporary audience for an informative and engaging concert to delight Hungarians and non-Hungarians alike. One night only, Saturday, October 5, at the acoustically stunning St. James United Church. Proceeds from the evening benefit numerous Montreal youth and cultural non-profit organizations.

“My parents are professional musicians who escaped communist Hungary. They began teaching music to me when I was two years old, and now as a professional musician myself, I aspire to disseminate Kodály’s incredible compositions to the next generation of musicians and the general public.” – Sebastian Haboczki, Music of Hungary artistic director

Zoltán Kodály was a composer, ethnomusicologist, linguist and philosopher. He travelled across Hungary collecting thousands of folk songs and composing unique arrangements. These songs express the full range of human emotions—from jealousy, to love, to revelry, and cover themes including relationships, war, drinking, and worship. They are a picture into the lives of Hungarian people at the time, “Incorporating some brief introductions, my aim is to create a journey to that part of the world,” said Haboczki. Kodály’s work preserves the traditional hundred-year-old folk melodies, enriched by the gorgeous and creative accompaniment that he has set to them.

Kodály was also passionate about the musical education of young people. He developed the Kodály Method pedagogy to teach music to youth which is practiced around the world. It popularised using solfege, a system to name pitches by giving a syllable to each note of the musical scale (do-re-mi-fa-so-la-ti-do). The Kodály Method is included in the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage list.

For highly-praised soprano Melissa McCann, this concert is notable because these selections are seldom heard and performed, “Even in conservatories and music schools, Hungarian vocal music is somewhat ignored despite the vast contributions Hungarian composers have made to the genre. Though Kodály spent the majority of his life and career researching and transcribing Hungarian folk songs, they are rarely heard in the concert hall. Even
more exceptional, is to experience Hungarian opera on the stage.”

St. James United Church
463 St-Catherine St. West

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