The first installment of course content for the Central European tour features films about each of the four cities. As only cinema can do, these films provide a quick immersion into specific aspects of each city's culture and history and serve as an introduction to themes that will be explored in other art forms in the course. (Scroll down for additional content.)

For Budapest we start with Sing (Mindeki) a film by Kristof Deak that won the 2017 Academy Award for Best Short Film. 

"Based on a true story, SING follows an award-winning school choir and the new girl in class facing a tough choice:
to stand up against a corrupt system – or to fit quietly into it." 

The dilemma facing the choir director is summed up with the statement,  "if everyone sings, we can't be the best." And so she instructs those who don't meet her standards just to mouth the words, not to sing. Watch the students' collective response:

 

As a first glimpse of Hungarian literature, here is a blog post by the respected translator George Szirtes offering his own translations of poems by Joszef Attila. In addition to Szirtes' brief biography of Attila, the comments to the post offer an illuminating informal discussion of the specific difficulties in translating Attila.

 

While many music students, fans and performers alike may associate these cities with earlier composers such as Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert, Liszt, Smetana (the list goes on...), there is a reason why our tour focuses on the early modern period. Our group leader Kathryn Woodard is fascinated by how the early decades of the twentieth century marked such significant changes in the way music was heard and composed, the artists and authors reflected on society and their surroundings. And these changes also influenced societal and political changes. 

Hungarian composer Bela Bartok was a central figure in Budapest's embrace of modernism, most notably with his opera Duke Bluebeard's Castle. (More on that later.) For the pianists interested in learning more about his style, here is Bartok performing his own pieces using rhythms that he most associated with Bulgarian dances he heard while doing music fieldwork research:

While the use of folk tunes and rhythms might imply a more simplistic approach to composition, these irregular rhythms are anything but simple for the beginning and even intermediate pianist! Bartok's use of modes and dissonant sonorities also points to influences from folk music but that also broaden his harmonic language and expressive intentions. These are the last 6 pieces of a six-volume set Mikrokosmos, which serves as a piano method based on Bartok's compositional approach.

 

Check back regularly for new content related to our Central European tour in July 2018!

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Our new Central European Music summer study abroad program is now online! Contact us for registration details.

Check out content for each of the four cities!

Budapest

Vienna

Prague

Munich

 

Our current featured composer is Ilhan Baran. Click here for audio and video. 

 

Check out the video pages for the Anthology of Turkish Piano Music:

Volume I

Volume II

Volume III (Complete video coming soon!)

 

View one of our featured titles, "Victory March," here. Also, the excerpt of "Aegean Spring" read at the Midwest Clinic Orchestra Reading session is here!

 

 

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