Date of this Version
Hungary has a long and rich history of folk music and dance. The clarinet has played a part in this history and remains a popular instrument in the country. Clarinet is most often associated with the verbunkos and is a regular member of the Gypsy band. The desire for composers of art music to compose in the folk tradition grew out of Hungarian nationalism in the 19th century and continued into the 20th century partly due to political pressures and the value of tradition in Hungarian music education.
Following a historical overview of the folk music and dance tradition in Hungary, this document examines six works for clarinet and piano composed in the mid-20th century: Négy Magyar Tánc and Verbunkos Rapzsódia by Rezsı Kókai, Korondi Táncok by Lazslo Drazskóczy, and Peregi Verbunk and Csurdöngölı by Leó Weiner. Most of these works have roots in the verbunkos idiom. A formal analysis for each work is given, then the folk traits of the music are described, and suggestions for performance practice are offered. Several of these works are not often played by American clarinetists, and thus this document will serve as an introduction to the performer or educator of some lesserknown music of substantial interest and quality.