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Wed, 14 Oct 2015 18:59:32 EDT by webmaster, 21614 views
Music/Folklore paper by Kim, Hyun Joo (all papers)
Interpretive Fidelity to Gypsy Creativity: Liszt’s Representations of Hungarian-Gypsy Cimbalom Playing
Liszt’s Hungarian Rhapsodies I–XV (1846–1853) draw our attention immediately to the pianist-composer’s indulging in showmanship through the predominant display of technical brilliance. At the other end of the spectrum of his Rhapsodies, nevertheless, Liszt faithfully emulates the elements of Hungarian popular Gypsy bands. Then what is the meaning of his fidelity to Gypsy-band music in the midst of these highly brilliant piano pieces? Throughout his Rhapsodies, Liszt effectively captures the distinctive sounds and effects of cimbalom playing in his creative pianistic renderings. Liszt’s own remarks on the cimbalom in his Des bohémiens (1859) and his continuous relationships with cimbalom players, makers, and pedagogues provide context for his connections to the instrument. The contemporary articles about the cimbalom evocations, “Die Musik der Ungarn” from Neue Zeitschrift für Musik (1852), as well as the method book Cimbalom iskola [Cimbalom School] (1889) by Géza Allaga provide useful examples to explore several essential techniques of the cimbalom in a systematic manner. Liszt’s renderings evoke five salient features associated with the instrument’s timbres and techniques: (1) visually stunning cimbalom trills, (2) rebounding hammers on the cimbalom, (3) the unique texture of the cimbalom when it interacts with the violinist, and (4) cimbalom improvisation. All of his cimbalom evocations illuminate how meticulously Liszt expresses each technique and effect with a particular type of notation and how convincingly his reworking methods approximate the instrument’s distinctive sounds and techniques. The result of his reworkings is a skillful coalescence of his sensitive attention to the integrity of the instrument and his inventive pianistic solutions.
Brief Professional Bio:
Hyun Joo Kim received her M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in musicology from Indiana University. Her dissertation, “The Dynamics of Fidelity and Creativity: Liszt’s Reworkings of Orchestral and Gypsy-Band Music” (December 2015), is a study of Franz Liszt and musical borrowing. She minored in music theory and also studied piano performance at IU with the celebrated pianist Edward Auer. Her current research focuses primarily on keyboard music, musical borrowing, sound reproduction, and Hungarian-Gypsy [Romani]-style music. She is writing a book that analyzes Liszt’s approach to instrumental timbres on the keyboard, drawing on parallels between piano sound reproduction and its counterpart in the visual arts.