Berkeley Bluebeard

I’d like to alert Bay Area readers to the upcoming performances by Berkeley Opera of my two favorite one-acts, Bartók’s Bluebeard’s Castle and Ravel’s L’Enfant et les Sortilèges. These two composers are not particularly known for their dramatic works, but each work reveals the composer’s complete mastery of music for the stage. An evening consisting of both of these works is not to be missed.Read this post

Categories: Hungarian, OperaTags: , , , , , , ,

So, Like, What's With the Seven Doors?

Well, we’re here.  This is my castle.

This is your castle?  Kinda creepy.

Yeah.  You sure you want to come in here?


Well, okay then.

So, like, what’s with the seven doors?

You don't want to know.

Open them up.

Um, I don't think so.

Aw, come on.  Just one?

Okay, but don't say I didn't warn you.

More to come.

Categories: Hungarian, OperaTags: , , , , ,

Dusting Off My Kodály

My latent, inner musicianship nerd has resurfaced lately. I am lucky to have had a very high level of musicianship training, largely based on the Kodály Method, which actually is more of a philosophy than a method. It’s mostly associated with the teaching of small children, but I encountered it first as a college freshman. I’ve been trying to rebuild my memories of how I was taught, and how I might use similar techniques as a teacher.Read this post

Categories: Hungarian, Teachers, TeachingTags: , , , ,

Missed Museums

Here’s a pathetic case of inertia combined with bad planning.

I managed to live in Budapest for three years without ever visiting the Bartók Museum, which is housed in the composer’s final residence before leaving Hungary for the U.S. When I was back in 2005 for the Letter To Hungary performance, there simply wasn’t time. This time it was an important agenda item, but I still managed to put it off until the second-to-last day.

Well, lunch with an old, long-lost friend got away from me that day and I got to the gate of the house at exactly 5:00. Guess what time the museum closes.


Not that I can report first-hand, but many of the rooms in the house are restored to the way Bartók left them, including his study, where he wrote the last two string quartets, Mikrokosmos and 27 Choruses, as well as many other favorites. I’d still love to get in there sometime.

As if this weren’t bad enough, I also found out that Kodály’s apartment, coincindentally in the neighborhood where I was staying, had also been turned into a museum in 1990 (exactly when I was living in Budapest). No one told me at the time. Didn’t manage to get there either.

How lame. Szégyelem magam!

Categories: Category Shmategory, HungarianTags: , , ,

Anatomy of an unfinished piece

Well, I’d promised myself that September 1st would be when I stop sketching and start fleshing out and orchestrating the HCSO piece. I was hoping to have an end-to-end sketch of the whole piece to work from by now. I almost do. Good enough, I guess.

The big outstanding question for me at the moment is whether this is a multi-movement work or just one big movement. I’m leaning toward four movements, some played attacca. The material isn’t quite unified enough to to hold one movement together. I have to come up with names for the movements, though, which is a bit of a drag.

Here’s what I seem to be working with now: Read this post

Categories: Composing, Hungarian, Past WorkTags: ,