excerpt from 'Béla Bartók Letters' pp. 137 (277 words)

excerpt from 'Béla Bartók Letters' pp. 137 (277 words)

part of

Béla Bartók Letters

original language

urn:iso:std:iso:639:ed-3:eng

in pages

137

type

text excerpt

encoded value

I’m afraid I have been a long time in answering your last letter. My time has been taken up with various things, including the Vienna Concert I told you about when I last wrote. Unfortunately the Rumanian dance series could not be included in the programme, as it would have made it too long. And so the only examples of the soldiers’ songs of Hungary were the Hungarian and Slovakian songs. The King was not present- only the Queen- and you can imagine what a galaxy of Gotterhalte backers, gem and decoration wearers and musical ignoramuses were present. But all that is of no account; what is good is that at last there was an opportunity for ‘real’ Hungarian folk-songs to be heard by those few Viennese musicians who accidentally dropped into that company of pluto-aristocrats. Our tenor, Székelyhidy, sang the Hungarian songs very well (I accompanied him on the piano); the Slovakian songs (for men’s chorus) were marvellously rendered by the Männergesangverein of Vienna (with the texts, of course, translated into German). / Needless to say, the generals who organized the concert produced some very peculiar things. For example, instead of ‘Franz Joseph makes me fade away’, the performers had to sing ‘I am fading away in sorrow (!!).’ Then, only German and Hungarian was permitted (dualism); and so the Slovakian songs had to be sung in German, which was clearly a legal offence against us, as the Slovaks are living in Hungary and not in Austria, and therefore, if they had to be translated at all, the songs should have been given in Hungarian.

 

I’m afraid I have been a long time in answering your last letter. My time has been taken up with various things, including the Vienna Concert I told you about when I last wrote. Unfortunately the Rumanian dance series could not be included in the programme, as it would have made it too long. And so the only examples of the soldiers’ songs of Hungary were the Hungarian and Slovakian songs. The King was not present- only the Queen- and you can imagine what a galaxy of Gotterhalte backers, gem and decoration wearers and musical ignoramuses were present. But all that is of no account; what is good is that at last there was an opportunity for ‘real’ Hungarian folk-songs to be heard by those few Viennese musicians who accidentally dropped into that company of pluto-aristocrats. Our tenor, Székelyhidy, sang the Hungarian songs very well (I accompanied him on the piano); the Slovakian songs (for men’s chorus) were marvellously rendered by the Männergesangverein of Vienna (with the texts, of course, translated into German). / Needless to say, the generals who organized the concert produced some very peculiar things. For example, instead of ‘Franz Joseph makes me fade away’, the performers had to sing ‘I am fading away in sorrow (!!).’ Then, only German and Hungarian was permitted (dualism); and so the Slovakian songs had to be sung in German, which was clearly a legal offence against us, as the Slovaks are living in Hungary and not in Austria, and therefore, if they had to be translated at all, the songs should have been given in Hungarian.

 

 

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excerpt from 'Béla Bartók Letters' pp. 137 (277 words)

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