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Electronic Theses, Treatises and Dissertations The Graduate School

2012

Elements of Style Hongrois within Fantaisie


Hongroise, Op.65, No. 1 by J.K. Mertz
Andrew Stroud

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THE FLORIDA STATE UNIVERSITY

COLLEGE OF MUSIC

ELEMENTS OF STYLE HONGROIS WITHIN FANTAISIE HONGROISE, OP. 65, NO.1 BY

J.K. MERTZ

By

ANDREW STROUD

A doctoral treatise submitted to the


College of Music
in partial fulfillment of the
requirements for the degree of
Doctor of Music

Degree Awarded:
Summer Semester, 2012
Andrew Stroud defended this treatise on June 26th, 2012.

The members of the supervisory committee were:

Bruce Holzman
Professor Directing Treatise

James Mathes
Outside Committee Member

Melanie Punter
Committee Member

The Graduate School has verified and approved the above-named committee members, and
certifies that the treatise has been approved in accordance with university requirements.

ii
To my wife, mother and father. Without whom, I would fail in life and laughter.

iii
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

I would like to thank a few individuals for their support. Firstly, Bruce Holzman, for
listening to the continued scratching of strings and never flagging. I must give many thanks to
professors Mathes and Punter for agreeing to follow me on this project. I also received
wonderful direction from Matanya Ophee and Richard Long, men unsurpassed in their scholarly
contributions to the history of the guitar. I owe an unending debt of gratitude to Dr. Jonathan
Bellman of the University of Northern Colorado, the countrys foremost scholar of style
hongrois, and someone who supplied an absolutely priceless amount of help.

iv
TABLE OF CONTENTS
List of Examples ........................................................................................................................... vii

Abstract ........................................................................................................................................ viii

Chapter One .................................................................................................................................... 1

Introduction. ................................................................................................................................ 1

Purpose ................................................................................................................................... 1

Chapter Two.................................................................................................................................... 4

Mertz: Background Biographical Information............................................................................ 4

Chapter Three.................................................................................................................................. 8

Introducing the Style Hongrois ................................................................................................... 8

Hungarian/Magyar vs. Gypsy ................................................................................................... 10

Buffer Zone/Melting Pot: Historical Preface to Style Hongrois ............................................... 11

Cignyzene: Music of the Gypsies ........................................................................................... 13

Verbunkos Music ...................................................................................................................... 17

Early Use of Style Hongrois ..................................................................................................... 20

Stylistic Devices........................................................................................................................ 21

Instrumental Imitation .......................................................................................................... 22

Rhythm .................................................................................................................................. 23

Melody and Harmony ........................................................................................................... 23

Chapter Four ................................................................................................................................. 25

Usage of Style Hongrois by Johannes Brahms (1833-1897) .................................................... 25

Chapter Five .................................................................................................................................. 29

Usage of the Style Hongrois by Franz Liszt ............................................................................. 29

Chapter Six.................................................................................................................................... 35

Analysis of Mertz Fantaisie Hongroise Op.65, No.1 ............................................................... 35

v
Closing Ideas Regarding Interpretation and Performance Implications ................................... 54

Chapter Seven ............................................................................................................................... 58

Overview of Extant Guitar Works in the Style Hongrois ......................................................... 58

A Note on Sources .................................................................................................................... 59

Appendix A ................................................................................................................................... 62

J.K. Mertz: Fantaisie Hongroise, Op. 65 No.1 ......................................................................... 62

Appendix B ................................................................................................................................... 67

Johann Dubez: Fantaisie sur des motifs Hongroise. (excerpts) ............................................... 67

Rkczy March...................................................................................................................... 68

Csrds, lassan. .................................................................................................................... 69

Palots .................................................................................................................................. 70

Appendix C ................................................................................................................................... 71

Rkczy March ......................................................................................................................... 71

Appendix D ................................................................................................................................... 72

J.K. Mertz: Hazai Virgom ....................................................................................................... 72

Appendix E: Permissions .............................................................................................................. 73

Bibliography ................................................................................................................................. 75

Biographical Sketch ...................................................................................................................... 79

vi
LIST OF EXAMPLES
Example 1: Fantaisie Hongroise Op.65, No.1: mm. 1-4........................................................... 38
Example 2: mm. 5 -7.................................................................................................................... 39
Example 3: mm. 8-13................................................................................................................... 40
Example 4: mm. 14-20................................................................................................................ 41
Example 5: Bardenklnge, Op.13, No. 2, Romanze. mm. 1-2. ................................................... 42
Example 6: Fantaisie Hongroise. mm. 22-28.............................................................................. 43
Example 7: mm. 29-34................................................................................................................ 44
Example 8: mm. 35 with out of tune glissando. ....................................................................... 44
Example 9: mm. 36 ...................................................................................................................... 45
Example 10: mm. 37-38............................................................................................................... 46
Example 11: mm. 40-43............................................................................................................... 46
Example 12: mm. 43-45............................................................................................................... 47
Example 13: mm. 46-49............................................................................................................... 48
Example 14: mm. 50-55............................................................................................................... 48
Example 15: mm. 56-60.............................................................................................................. 49
Example 16: mm. 61-68.............................................................................................................. 50
Example 17: mm. 69-76............................................................................................................... 51
Example 18: mm. 77-84............................................................................................................... 52
Example 19: mm. 99-103............................................................................................................. 52
Example 20: mm. 104-132........................................................................................................... 53
Example 21: mm. 133-141........................................................................................................... 54

vii
ABSTRACT

Over the course of the past few decades, the guitar works of J.K. Mertz have become
popular amongst performing guitarists. In particular, Fantaisie Hongroise, Op. 65, No.1 has seen
a meteoric rise both to the concert and competition stage. This music lies firmly within the
musical idiom of style hongrois, alongside such other iconic works as Johannes Brahmss
Hungarian Dances and Franz Liszts Hungarian Rhapsodies. To date, no scholarly research has
been conducted regarding Mertz with the purpose of placing his contributions within the style
hongrois, nor has there been any attempt to identify the particular stylistic devices that make it
so.
The aim of this document is threefold. First, to provide a brief overview of the style
hongrois to provide historical perspective. Secondly, to illustrate key points of usage of the style
hongrois by both Liszt and Brahms in order to form a comparative baseline. Lastly, to examine
the Fantaisie Hongroise, identify stylistic elements, and provide some context for the piece
based upon both technical considerations and musical input from a broader understanding of the
style hongrois.

viii
CHAPTER ONE
Introduction.

Purpose. The works of Johann Kaspar Mertz (1806-1856) lay in relative obscurity from
the time of his death until recent decades. Thanks to the scholarly work of individuals such as
Simon Wynberg and Matanya Ophee, along with performances by prominent guitarists such as
David Russell, those works have been resurrected and now enjoy a position of relative
importance within the modern guitarists repertoire. If forced to name one piece by Mertz
performed more than any other, the Fantaisie Hongroise Op. 65, No.1 would most likely be the
answer for any guitarist. This piece, along with Elegy, represents the two most successful
character pieces from the surviving works of Mertz.1 Accordingly, in recent years a multiplicity
of performances and recordings provide seemingly abundant opportunities to observe
interpretive feats expected of the modern concert artist. However, one casual observation that
this writer has considered is the general lack of interpretive thoroughness that would seem to
benefit nineteenth-century music, and most especially music that is derived from folk origin. It
would seem lacking to interpret this work of Mertz with the same Romantic ideals as would be
applied to Regondis Introduction et Caprice Op.23 or with the same conventions of pastiche
that one would apply to the Rossinianae of Giuliani. However, it does appear as though these
composers suffer, at the hands of many modern guitarists, from being interpreted in very similar
ways, simply because they can comfortably be categorized as nineteenth-century music. It is
ironic that guitarists are becoming almost hyper-aware of performance practices when
performing Baroque works, most especially those of J.S. Bach. Contrary to this, when it comes
to addressing Classical or Romantic period music, while there has been significant scholarly
output, the most common criterion necessary for being an expert performer on this music
seems to be limited to playing on a period instrument or modern copy. It is extraordinary to hear
some enterprising guitarists (billed as experts on music of the nineteenth-century) rationalize
their decision-making by referencing the writings of Czerny, that famous pedagogue of the
piano.

1
Wade, Graham. A Concise History of the Classical Guitar. (Pacific: Mel Bay Publications, 2001), 89

1
On the surface, these observations might be characterized as hyperbolic or selective, but
at the very least, it is evident that with few exceptions, such as Lorenzo Micheli or Pavel Steidl,
there is a disparity between the scholarly research conducted by the musicological community
and performing guitarists. This writing is intended to be a modest attempt at bridging the divide
between the academic and the practical. The ultimate goals of this work shall be three-fold: to
gain an historical overview of style hongrois and its roots; to observe how the master-composers
who most typify the style approached it; to identify characteristics of style hongrois within the
Fantaisie Hongroise, Op.65, No.1, and to offer interpretive performance suggestions that are
based in the context of the historical period, and of the style hongrois itself. While doing so, it is
important to note that this is decidedly not an attempt to standardize interpretation, as that
would run counter the very nature of music performance itself. However, by showing specific
ideas within the piece that are indicative of style hongrois and placing them within contexts of
both origin and performance practice, perhaps some performers might compel themselves to
exercise greater degrees of creativity and gain a greater understanding of their own endeavors
through time well spent studying the music of their program in meaningful ways.
Moving Beyond the Score. A particular purpose to this writing is to attempt to capture
and expose an attribute that several composers have articulated about Hungarian music. Jan
Swafford writes:
Friends remembered his flashing eyes when Brahms played his dances, the
rhythm darting and halting, his hands all over the keyboard at once[He initially]
resisted writing them down[because] he felt unsure how to capture that protean
freedom in the cold black-and-white notation.2

Samuel Barber also expressed a similar sentiment when listening to this music:
[The Gypsy orchestra] began playing some violins, and viola and bass
with a [cimbalom]. It swept me off my feet; for it was not music; it was a
[release]of an expression too nave, too naked, and living to be music. It is
something I shall never forget, and I left Budapest early for I did not wish to hear
it again.3

The nature of Hungarian and Gypsy music (and therefore music written in the style
hongrois) necessitates a great deal of interpretive planning that searches well beyond the score.

2
Swafford, Jan. Johannes Brahms (New York: Alfred A. Knopf. 1997), 343.
3
From a letter to his family, 21 August 1928, quoted in Barbara B. Heyman, Samuel Barber: The Composer and
His music (New York: Oxford University Press, 1992), 57.

2
The hesitation that Brahms felt about writing and publishing his Hungarian Dances, for
example, was well founded. How does one articulate the transition from the Lass to the Friss in
a csrds using traditional notation and indications? While it can also be pointed out that even
authentic performances by Gypsy musicians will contain variety, there can be observed a high
degree of sameness, if not uniformity that is certainly informed by cultural immersion. While
attention will be paid to the subjects of improvisation and ornamentation in a general sense, this
is not particular to the style hongrois by any means. In a much more general overview of
ornamentation, for example, Clive Brown observes the following:
The present-day musician who wishes to understand the ways in
whichperformers might have responded to the notation of their dayneeds to
be conscious of a number of distinctionsThere werea number of specific
situations in which the performer was expected to see beyond the literal meaning
of the composers text.4

One goal of this document shall be to identify those areas within Mertzs work that fit
this description and to propose a stylistically informed interpretive solution. In addition, my
contribution will include a perspective informed by the idiosyncratic solutions of the guitar.

4
Brown, Clive. Classical & Romantic Performing Practice 1750-1900 (New York: Oxford University Press,
1999), 416.

3
CHAPTER TWO
Mertz: Background Biographical Information

The lifetime and output of Johann Kaspar Mertz occured during a particularly unfortunate
period for the guitar repertoire. It was during his lifetime that the guitar would become
overshadowed by more sonically powerful instruments such as the piano. Mertz was born in
1806 in Pressburg, Hungary (presently Bratislava, Slovak Republic) and died in 1856. Though he
used the initials J.K. professionally, he was born Casparus Josephus.5 He married a pianist,
Josephine Plantin, in 1842 and the couple settled in Vienna. He had a somewhat extensive
performing career, travelling to Austria, Poland, and Russia.6 His life was spent trying to extoll
the virtues of guitar through both composition and performance at a time in music history when
the instruments golden age had ended. The solo compositions of the era were dominated by the
rise of the piano that could be said to begin with Beethoven and continued relentlessly with other
iconic composers. The guitars role in the early classical period had been mostly one of salon
music and other rather intimate settings. As concerts increasingly became attended by a growing
middle class public and the demand for larger venues increased, the guitar was clearly not suited
for these environments. The guitars construction presented natural impediments restricting how
effectively it could present many of the developments that took place during the Romantic
period. The tendency of composers to explore new tonal relationships between keys and even
between chords was much more suited to the capabilities of the piano than the guitar. The lack
of significant innovation in construction to produce a concert hall-class sound, in addition to the
ill-suited nature of the guitar to Romantic tonal development, led to a lack of serious composers
writing for the instrument and a decline in the popularity of the classical guitar that would remain
virtually unanswered until the Spanish luthier Antonio de Torres (1817-1892) and
composer/performer Francisco Tarrega (1852-1909).
Mertz initially wouldnt seem that he would have occupied a place in history so different
from his predecessors, as he was the inheritor of the great traditions of Classical period
composers and virtuosi such as Dionisio Aguado, Mauro Giuliani, and Luigi Legnani. Although

5
Stempnik, Astrid. Caspar Joseph Mertz: Leben und Werk des letzen Gitarristen im sterreichischen Beidermeier
(Doctoral dissertation, University of Berlin, 1989), 92-94.
6
Mertz, Johann Kaspar, Opern Revue, Op.8. Edited by Brian Torosian (Pacific: Mel Bay Publications Inc., DGA
Editions, 2006), 4

4
there is scant little recorded of his life, we can gain some insight from the memoirs of a Russian
military officer, aristocrat, and guitar enthusiast and patron Nicolai Makaroff (1810-1890).
Makaroff, according to his memoirs, travelled extensively throughout Europe in search of a high
class constructor of guitars and of composers and players whom he could endorse and in various
ways promote as worthy ambassadors of the instrument. In his writings, he details his frank
disappointment with many of the luthiers and players that he met, even those that he met through
recommendations. However, through his many interactions with performers, composers,
teachers, and luthiers, we can obtain some baseline for comparison of Mertz to other guitarist-
composers, both famous and obscure.
Makaroff was (by his own account at least) a talented guitarist, adequate composer, and
tireless advocate for the instrument. While largely self-taught, he nevertheless decided to
embark upon several journeys to seek out the best performers and guitarist-composers in order
not only to attend performances and witness their compositions, but also to try to learn, possibly
take lessons, and gain feedback on his own playing and writing in order to further his own
ambitions.7 During these journeys, he heard many guitarists whose names are lost to us now, but
also met some who are among the most celebrated and well-known from that period. In addition
to Mertz, Makaroff also met with Zani di Ferranti, Coste, Schultz, and the luthiers Fisher, and
Scherzer.8 From his writings, it is clear that not only was Makaroff trying to seek out the best of
his time and advance his own ambitions, but he was also keenly aware of the declining state of
the guitar since the death of Mertz and even prior.9 It is also noteworthy that even though it is
clear from Makaroffs accounts that he considered Mertz to be the best composer of the time, he
also felt that the future of the guitar was in jeopardy. He mentions that instruments in general
were undergoing all manner of improvements in construction to better perfect both tonal and
dynamic qualities. He mentions the pianoforte as the leading instrument to have undergone
changes in this regard.10 Makaroff also somewhat angrily laments the reluctance of composers

7
There are many accounts given in Makaroffs writings detailing his failures to find an adequate teacher. Many
guitarists that he encountered he dismisses immediately after hearing them perform, for one deficiency or another.
He quotes one of the most famous guitarists of the day, Zani de Ferranti who commented thusly on his own ability:
I thought that you were simply a dilettante, but I see that you are a really great virtuoso and I assure you there is no
one who can teach you The Memoirs of Makaroff. Published in Guitar Review 1,3,5, translated by V. Bobri and
Nuna Ulreich. 1946-1947, 7.
8
Ibid, 7-11, 13.
9
Ibid, 18.
10
Ibid.

5
for the guitar to venture tonally into any area that goes beyond a few sharps, and rarely
venturing into flat keys.
Mertz lived in Vienna and performed on the guitars of the Viennese builder Scherzer,
himself in the employ of one of the most famous of European luthiers at that time, Stauffer.11 His
pieces require and Makaroff also remarks that the instrument preferred by Mertz was the ten-
string guitar.12 Mertz works show themselves to be rooted in the popular character piece forms
that partly defined the Romantic period. In his Bardenklnge, Op.13, Mertz uses titles familiar
to us from other Romantic greats such as Mendelssohn and Chopin; for example: tude, Lied
hne Worte, Romance, Fingals Hhle, etc.13 These works draw their inspiration (in part) from
the Ossianic themes of the poet James MacPherson and those that share titles with Mendelssohn
are not based upon that master-composers work. Fingals Hhle does not borrow any musical
material from Die Hebriden, to name one example.14 These works are true examples of the
Biedermeier period, accessible to the casual player and containing simple, appealing ideas.15
Indeed, from examining any number of works, it is clear that the model that Mertz followed was
that of the piano, which might help explain the general decline of the guitar during this time.
Given that significant innovations to the construction of the guitar did not allow it to keep pace
with the piano and the majority of compositions for the guitar were either based on pianistic
models or fantasy-variations utilizing operatic airs, it is easy to imagine that a void was
beginning to form between the guitar and a place of prominence in the art music community.
Indeed, Makaroff himself decided to attempt to spur on both the community of composers and
luthiers by holding a competition in Brussels in 1856. The purpose, as described by Makaroff
was to find composers and builders who would be the wave of the future for the instrument. The
first prize in composition was awarded posthumously to Mertz, second prize to Coste. The first
prize in construction was awarded to Scherzer and second prize to Argusen, a builder that
Makaroff described as a copyist of Scherzer. Makaroff concludes his remarks on the
competition with the following:

11
Mertz, Johann Kaspar. Opern Revue, Op.8. edited by Brian Torosian. (Pacific: Mel Bay Publications. 2006), 7
12
The Memoirs of Makaroff. Guitar Review, 3, 16
13
Notes by Richard Long on Johann Mertz: Bardenklnge Op.13, 3
14
Adams, Daniel. Literary Themes in Mertzs Bardenklnge. Soundboard Vol. XXX, No. 4, 26-29
15
Yates, W.E. Biedermeier. Grove Music Online
http://www.oxfordmusiconline.com/subscriber/article/grove/music/03049 (accessed May 3 2012).

6
My contest for which I had built up so much hope ended in this manner. Alas! The
contest did not achieve what I had had in mind; it did not uncover any new or wonderful
composer for the guitar who could fittingly occupy the place left vacant by Mertz. I hope that
perhaps someone in the future will be more fortunate than I. However, for the revival of the
guitar, I believe I did everything I could, everything one person alone, without any support of
sympathizers to encourage and help him, could do.16

The observations by Makaroff can indicate to those of us glimpsing back upon history
that Mertz, while being perhaps the most able guitarist-composer of his time in Vienna, was
following a path that ultimately ended in failure. Performers such as Paganini and Liszt were
pushing the envelope of technique and showmanship. Composers such as Liszt, Brahms, and
Mendelssohn were carving new paths for the development of music. Mertz largely continued the
Classical period traditions set by composers such as Giuliani and Sor in terms of form. In
addition, master-composers were driving harmonic practice into areas that the guitar could not
follow. However, the most enduring of his compositions have left us with an interesting use of
the guitar in the style hongrois. It is also notable that at least one of Mertzs students also carried
on this idea. Johann Dubez (1828-1891) was a Viennese composer-performer and a student of
Mertz. His contributions in this style included his own Fantaisie sur des Motifs Hongroise, a
large scale work that shares some of the same melodic material as Mertzs fantasy. As the title
implies, the work makes use of several themes from Hungarian composers. These include the
famous Rkczy March and the Palots from the opera Hunyadi Lszl by Ferenc Erkel (1810-
1893).17 The palots as a dance will be discussed in a later chapter.
Mertzs legacy to the modern guitarist is now clear. Since the resurgence of his music in
recent decades, his repertoire is amongst the most performed (and indeed sometimes incessantly
so) from the Romantic period. In addition to his oeuvre, Mertz also left a method book and an
historically significant movement towards playing the instrument with fingernails, which was not
the orthodoxy at the time. 18 19

16
The Memoirs of Makaroff. Guitar Review, 5, 19, 23-28.
17
Dubez, Johann. Fantaisie sur des Motifs Hongroise. Notes by Matanya Ophee. Edited by Matanya Ophee
(Columbus: Editions Orphe. 2006).
18
Mertz, Johann Kaspar, Schle fr die guitar. (Vienna: Haslinger Witwe und Sohn. 1840s)
19
An account of how Mertzs nails affected his gut strings is given in Brian Torosians notes. In referring to
Josephine Mertzs writings. Apparently Mertz was stopped at a customs post and questioned because he had
multiple instruments in tow. Mertzs given reason was that he had developed a new method of playing with nails
and playing in such a manner accelerated his wear on gut strings, necessitating the additional instruments when
travelling. See Brian Torosians notes in Mertz, Johann Kaspar. Opern Revue, Op. 8, 5.

7
CHAPTER THREE
Introducing the Style Hongrois

Ralph Locke defines exoticism as: The evocation of a place, people or social milieu that
is (or is perceived or imagined to be) profoundly different from accepted local norms in its
attitudes, customs and morals.20 From the middle of the seventeenth-century to the close of the
nineteenth-century, the use of exoticism was highly popular practice amongst composers. In
Vienna, the two most pervasive were the Turkish Style and the style hongrois. Both of these
musical styles drew upon perceived stereotypes of cultures thought to be foreign, and even
dangerous, by the general populace.
While there are examples of repertoire from as early as the sixteenth-century described as
such, the term style hongrois generally referred to music of the eighteenth and nineteenth-
centuries that evokes the Hungarian gypsy.21 The style hongrois was the successor to the
janissary or Turkish style prevalent in Vienna following the siege of 1683.22 The origins of the
Turkish style date back to before the founding of the janissaries in 1329.23 The authentically
Turkish (Ottoman) music would have been heard in Vienna as early as 1665 in a ceremonial
setting during the entry of Grand Envoy Mehmed Pasha.24 The Turkish style was exemplified
most famously by Mozart in his Rondo alla turka from his Piano Sonata K. 331 and his opera,
Die Entfhrung aus dem Serail. Mozart was, of course, a highly versatile composer, and the
inclusion of this style in select musical works reflects his well-tuned business acumen responsive
to the trends of the Viennese musical scene.25 In the case of the opera, beyond simple setting and
social stereotypes, Mozart includes the batterie turque.26 This is much the same as detailed in
Haydns Symphony No. 100, during the second movement. While not a fixed, absolute

20
Locke, Ralph P. Exoticism. Grove Music Online. Oxford Music Online.
http://oxfordmusiconline.com.proxy.lib.fsu.edu/subscriber/article/grove/music/45644 (accessed May 22, 2012)
21
Head, Matthew. Style Hongrois. Grove Music Online. Oxford Music Online.
http://oxfordmusiconline.com.proxy.lib.fsu.edu/subscriber/article/grove/music/44652 (accessed May 22, 2012)
22
Bellman, Jonathan. The Style Hongrois in the Music of Western Europe. (Richmond: Northeastern University
Press. 1993), 13-14.
23
Pirker, Michael. Janissary Music. New Grove Dictionary. Oxford Music Online. Accessed May 3 2012.
http://oxfordmusiconline.com.proxy.lib.fsu.edu/subscriber/article/grove/music/14133 (accessed May 22, 2012)
24
Ibid.
25
Gay, Peter. Mozart. (London: Butler and Tanner, Ltd. 1999), 65-71
26
Stolba, Mary K. The Development of Western Music. (Boston: McGraw Hill Co., Inc. 1998), 385.

8
instrumentation, it normally consisted of cymbals, triangle, tambourine, and bass drum .27 Also
included in the opera is the piccolo to create a shrill effect imitative of the sunay or zurna, a
Turkish horn.28 In the case of the Rondo alla turca, the drama of the theatre was also present, as
the primary purpose in the piece of the facets of Turkish style was percussive.29 Jonathan
Bellman, in his highly illustrative text on the genre of style hongrois, shows that as a matter of
course, there was some degree of overlap between the style hongrois and the Turkish style and
that composers of the time, including Haydn and Mozart, deliberately wrote works that
occasionally blurred the two. However, Bellman does concede that even amongst scholars, there
is a little disagreement on this point. In referencing Bence Szabolcsis work on the subject,
Bellman observes the following:
Bence Szabolcsi went so far as to suggest that it is increasingly obvious
that for Haydn and his contemporaries Slavonic, Gypsy, Rumanian [sic] and
Turkish music formed one single mixed but scarcely divisible complex. This
may be a slight overstatementstyles do appear to be mixed. Nonetheless, that
Haydn understood Turkish and Hungarian-Gypsy musics as separate entities is
unquestionably proven by the thoroughly Turkish second movement of his
Symphony No. 100and by an undiluted Gypsy essay such as the second
movement of String Quartet Op. 54/2, an improvisatory Gypsy lament.30

One characteristic of both style hongrois and Turkish style is the use of the interval of the
third. The use of the melodic third, for example, in the closing measures of the Rondo alla turca,
is one key device used in the style hongrois. Bellman and Szabolcsi agree on this, regardless of
their differences elsewhere.31 The popular response to the Turkish style became such that
redesigned pianofortes were soon built with Turkish stops connected to bells, chimes, and
other percussive devices that were intended to add to the overall effect.32 As with many other
styles of musical composition throughout history, there was no absolute and conveniently timed
end to the Turkish style followed by the rise of style hongrois. Rather, the two coexisted for a
time and some compositional devices were used interchangeably.33 The stereotypes of both

27
Bellman, Jonathan. The Style Hongrois in the Music of Western Europe, 35.
28
Pirker, Michael. Janissary Music. New Grove Dictionary. Oxford Music Online. Accessed May 3 2012.
29
Gordon, Stuart. A History of Keyboard Literature: Music for the Piano and its Forerunners. (Belmont:
Wadsworth Group. 1992), 132.
30
Szabolcsi, Bence. Quoted in Bellman, The Style Hongrois in the Music of Western Europe, 49.
31
Bellman, Jonathan The Style Hongrois in the Music of Western Europe, 36.
32
Ibid, 43.
33
Ibid, 44.

9
styles were replete with exoticism, sujets interdit, and an elemental attraction that combined to
make both popular throughout Europe.34
It is important here to note that the Turkish style also included a large amount of
fictionalized material, as the original source material was the highly percussive and sparsely
textured martial beatings of the invading Turkish armies.35 Balacon and Bellman both note that
composers of the Classical period were essentially capitalizing on a brand of exoticism that
dwelled on stereotypes of the mysterious and dangerous Ottomans to the east. Once the threat
from the Turks had been curtailed in the minds of the populace, the style hongrois emerged and
replaced the Turkish style. By around 1825, the transition was complete and the Turkish style
was no longer employed.36 This was due in part to the shifting perception of the Turks and a
resurgent cultural stereotype of the gypsies. Balacon notes that the gypsies were seen as godless,
promiscuous, nomadic menaces.37 Their cultural identity was distinctly separated from those of
the countries they happened to inhabit. In the country of Hungary, this lead to a strong
association between music, musicians, dancing, and gypsy cultural stereotypes.

Hungarian/Magyar vs. Gypsy

It is important at this juncture to clarify three terms: Hungarian, Magyar, and gypsy. For
the sake of clarity, in this text, the word Hungarian and Magyar can be seen as interchangeable.
It is worth noting that in technical terms, they do not mean the same thing. Unfortunately, in
most (western) languages, the word Hungary, or Hungarian is used mostly erroneously, as the
purpose for the use of the word is to imply that the country is that of the Huns, and that the
Hungarian people and culture are descendants of the Huns that invaded Europe. Historically,
this is an inaccurate use of the term, as the Huns were themselves supplanted as the dominant
group in Hungary by another nomadic tribe known as the Magyars, hence the word for Hungary
in the native language is Magyarorszg or country of the Magyars. This is an important
distinction to make when examining musical and cultural terms and stereotypes, particularly
when discussing exoticisms such as style hongrois, as the word Magyar is used often in titles
and dances. It is also important that assumptions are not made in terms of trying to tie

34
Ibid.
35
Ibid, 31-37.
36
Balacon, Maira: Style Hongrois Features in Brahmss Hungarian Dances: A Musical Construction of a
Fictionalized Gypsy Other, 18.
37
Ibid, 29-32.

10
Hungarian music to the Hun culture that precedes the Magyar one when discussing style
hongrois.
To the popular imagination of the Romantic period, the gypsy was a symbol of freedom,
nonconformity, and independence from the constrictions of society.38 During the Romantic
period, music that was written in the style hongrois was in many instances intended to evoke
many stylistic idiosyncrasies and performance practices of gypsy bands. In some cases, such as
Haydn, the word gypsy can even be found in the scores.39 This is not altogether accurate, as
the historical understandings of the time were not as well articulated as in the modern era, and in
any case, many composers were not troubled to make the distinction between Magyar and
gypsy in their works. In addressing the origins of the material that composers used for these
works, it is therefore important to distinguish those features that are taken from the gypsy
performers themselves and those that are being taken from the Magyar people and heritage.

Buffer Zone/Melting Pot: Historical Preface to Style Hongrois

The history of the Hungarian people is one of continual upheaval, invasion, suppression,
and rebellion. During the lengthy period of time that the Ottoman Turks were a threat to
Western Europe (most notably from the 1400s to the 1800s), Hungary was an eastern gateway
through which the Turks necessarily had to traverse in order to gain access to the affluent
Habsburg and Bourbon dominated European mainland. As such, the lands of Hungary were
often invaded (sometimes successfully) by the Turks. This led to a general distrust by the
peoples to the West, most notably those in Germanic lands, of the Hungarians. This would
inexorably lead to invasions by the Habsburgs in an attempt to control the access point to Europe
and use Hungary as a buffer zone against the Turks. Naturally, the usage of their people and
land in such a fashion did not lend itself well to feelings of trust and mutual respect from the
Hungarians either. The bad blood would be further compounded in 1673. At this point in
history, the Habsburgs exercised control over the Hungarian lands and people. No official posts
of government were held by Hungarians; all positions of authority were delegated to Germanic
Habsburg puppets. In addition, a campaign was carried out by the Habsburgs to suppress both
the culture and language of Hungary. It was against this backdrop that a rebellion, led by Imre
Thkly and his Kuruc warriors (after whom the kuruc fourth is named), was launched. While

38
Bellman, Jonathan. Toward a Lexicon for the Style Hongrois. The Journal of Musicology, Vol. 9, No. 2, 214.
39
Ibid.

11
ostensibly a point of pride for Hungarian pride and unity, the more lasting effect of this rebellion
was to further alienate the Hungarians from both East and West.40 A treaty with the Habsburgs
was subsequently signed by Thkly, as well as a separate commitment with the Turks not to
help the Austrians in conflict. However, when the Turks did begin a campaign against the
Habsburgs, Thkly didnt assist them either. Even in this period of independence, much of the
lands of Hungary were still in the hands of either the Turks or the Habsburgs, leaving Hungary
weakened, emaciated, and standing between two relative giants, simply in the way.41 Added to
this was the legacy of vilification and association of the people who call themselves Rom.

40
Balacon, Maira. Style Hongrois Features in Brahmss Hungarian Dances: A Musical Construction of a
Fictionalized Gypsy Other, 15.
41
Bellman. Jonathan. The Style Hongrois in the Music of Western Europe, 30.

12
Cignyzene: Music of the Gypsies

Throughout recorded history, the nomadic tribes collectively known as gypsies (Romani)
have been feared, ostracized, hunted, and driven out of Western countries. While erroneous
accounts have often been proposed for describing the origins of the gypsies, work of more merit
has shown that they originate from India.42 As a slowly (peaceful) wandering people, the
gypsies themselves were not aware of their origins as they arrived in various countries in
Europe.43 By the mid-sixteenth-century, the gypsies had arrived in the furthest reaches of
European kingdoms, including England, France, and Sweden.44 By the latter quarter of the same
century, written accounts began to surface describing gypsies as thieves, drunks, spies and
barbarians.45 By the eighteenth-century, decrees were issued forth from all the major countries of
Europe with orders to exterminate, persecute, or expel the gypsies. However, in Hungary, a
warmer welcome would take place, most notably under the efforts of the enlightened despot,
Maria Theresa, ruler of Hungary from 1740-1780. In a forceful attempt to assimilate the gypsies
into the Magyar culture, she decreed such actions as learning Hungarian and abandoning the
Romani language, taking on suitable jobs, relocating to townships, and giving up their children
at the age of five to be raised by peasants. They were also instructed not to refer to themselves
as gypsy, but new Hungarian, or new peasant. As one might expect, very few of these
initiatives had more than the briefest of brushes with reality. Despite these difficulties, over time
the gypsies found a home within Hungarys borders. The relative peace and acceptance enjoyed
by the gypsies in Hungary is further illustrated by rough census figures cited by Srosi. At the
time of his writing, between two and three hundred thousand gypsies were living in Hungary,
compared to sixty thousand in the Soviet Union, one hundred thousand spread amongst the
Balkans and Czechoslovakia, and a mere fifteen thousand in Poland (noting that between thirty
five and forty thousand Polish gypsies were exterminated by Hitler).46
From the time that gypsies settled in Hungary, the social strata developed in such a
manner as to place the musician-gypsy at the top of their culture, with a large percentage of

42
Srosi, Blint. Gypsy Music. Translated by Fred Macnicol. (Budapest: Franklin Printing House. 1978), 11.
43
Ibid, 13.
44
Ibid.
45
Ibid.
46
Ibid, 20-22.

13
gypsies working as musicians.47 It is these musicians that took up the style known as verbunkos
and later the csrds. The term verbunkos refers both to a genre and a dance. The dance music
would be traditionally be performed by gypsy musicians at the behest of Hungarian military
recruiters for the purpose of inspiring young men to sign up for service. Later, the music of the
verbunkos would serve as the basis for another dance, the csrds. The csrds was traditionally
performed in the rural taverns throughout Hungary. Characteristics of the csrds will be
discussed in conjunction with the music of Liszt, Brahms, and Mertz in later chapters. With the
passage of time, elements of both Magyar and gypsy would fuse to become a singular musical
stereotype. It was this stereotype that provided the basis for the style hongrois.
At this juncture, it would be logical to describe the development of the gypsy people and
their history in music from the fifteenth to the eighteenth centuries. However, for the sake of
preserving scope and a modest sense of brevity, this lengthy subject will be restricted to a few
points of clarification with regards to original sources, missconceptions, and corrections. For an
extended treatment of the subject of gypsy musical development, the book Gypsy Music by
Blint Srosi is a recommended starting point. A further discussion of the development of a
fictionalized gypsy other and its integral relationship to the style hongrois can be found in
Maira Balacons doctoral dissertation, Style Hongrois Features in Brahmss Hungarian Dances:
A Musical Construction of a Fictionalized Gypsy Other.
With regard to style hongrois, several misconceptions are presented in original material
by composers in their scores. The central of these rests with the label gypsy versus
Hungarian. Liszt, in his book The Gypsy in Music, incorrectly credits all musical creation
worthy of merit in Hungary to the gypsies. This generated a stir amongst his contemporaries as
well as criticism from later scholars, most notably Bartk. Srosi also offers a fair and concise
discussion of events in his writing. In discussing Liszts book, Srosi points out one of the more
controversial statements:
The Hungarian songs as they are to be found in our villages and the arias
which are performed there at home on the instruments mentioned above [the flute
and the bagpipe], being modest and imperfect, cannot command such respect as to
be generally honoured [sic] and to be raised to the same rank as is held by other
more widespread lyrical works, whereas the instrumental music, as it is performed
and spread by the gypsy orchestras, is capable of competing with anything in the

47
Ibid, 21.

14
sublimely and daring of its emotion as in the perfection of its form, and, we might
say, the fineness of its development.48

This statement (among others) from Liszt drew no small amount of uproar from the
Hungarian press at the time.49 While the criticism he drew was certainly not without merit, it is
possible to speculate here, and Srosi does, that Liszt was merely recounting the facts based
upon what he knew.50 It would be rather nave to postulate that Liszt was the only composer of
the era who employed the style hongrois to have made such erroneous assertions. We can look
to Haydns Piano Trio in G Major, Hob. XV:25 Rondo in the Gypsy style to find a parallel.
There would be absolutely no point of fault to be found if Haydn had instead labeled his work
in Hungarian folk style.51 Liszts fault was two-fold: firstly, he was making his point in the
public eye; secondly, he was Hungarian and would have been perceived to have taken on the
mantle of responsibility of knowing his own musical heritage and seemingly failed to do so.
This can be shown indirectly by one of the results of his books publication. Klmn Simonffy
accused Liszt of being unpatriotic and broke off ties with him (the two had formerly enjoyed a
friendship of sorts).52 He further went on to lobby Hungarian journalists to openly refute the
claims of Liszt and to cast him out as the foremost exponent of Hungarian musical performance
and composition.53
One further comment by Liszt bears remark. It is quoted, once more, by Srosi:
The gypsy artist is one who takes the theme of a song or a dance just like
the text of a discussion, as a poetic memorial, and who moves and flutters round
this notion, of which he never loses sight, in the course of his improvisation.
Most admired of all of us is one who lavishly enriches his own subject with runs,
appoggiaturas, leaps, tremolos, chord stopping, diatonic and chromatic scales,
groups of notes in such a way that on account of this abundance of ornamentation
the original idea is scarcely more apparent than the broadcloth in the sleeve of a
brown cloak though the artistically worked out lacing and braiding which covers
it with a dense and multicoloured [sic] network.54

48
Liszt, Franz. Des Bohmiens et de leurs Musique en Hongrie. Quoted in Srosi, 140.
49
Srosi, Blint. Gypsy Music, 143.
50
Ibid, 141.
51
For an overview of the Haydn trio and mixed usage of Turkish Style and Style Hongrois, see Bellman, The Style
Hongrois in the Music of Western Europe, 50.
52
Srosi, Blint. Gypsy Music, 143.
53
Ibid, 145.
54
Liszt, Franz. Des Bohmiens et de leurs Musique en Hongrie. Quoted in Srosi, 146.

15
This passage reveals to us the high regard Liszt had for performance improvisation. He
had been known to improvise and ornament even when performing compositions of Beethoven,
for example.55 More of Liszts regard for tempo and general performance interpretation will
follow in discussion of his pedagogy.
Bartk is also amongst those authors who take Liszt to task with objectivity on the
subject of the gypsy origins of the music he wrote. It also noteworthy that he also made vocal
points regarding his admiration for the composer in more general terms. His high regard for
Liszts use of harmony, his specific regard for works such as the E-Flat Piano Concerto, the B
Minor Sonata, and the Faust Symphony, and his general forgiveness of Liszts excessive bravado
helped to redefine historys perspective on the importance of Liszt.56 He also defended Liszts
assertions, not for their accuracy, but for the historical context of the time:
When Franz Liszts well known book on gypsy music appeared it created strong
indignation at home. But why? Simply because Liszt dared to affirm in his book
that what the Hungarians call gypsy music is really gypsy music! It seems that
Liszt fell an innocent victim of this loose terminology. He must have reasoned
that since the Hungarians themselves call this music gypsy and not Hungarian
it cannot conceivably be Hungarian music.57

Bartks primary contribution to the field of musicology from this perspective was to
separate the gypsy from the Hungarian peasant music. His work on cataloging and
characterizing authentically Hungarian folk material had the added benefit of separating some of
the ambiguous clutter of the nineteenth-century. He was also, it would seem, none too fond of
the gypsy stereotype, or at least certainly not its apparent treatment by the musicologists and
people of high position during his time:
The role of this popular art music is to furnish entertainment and to satisfy the
musical needs of those whose artistic sensibilities are of a low orderThat this
Hungarian popular art music, incorrectly called gypsy music, has more value than
the abovementioned foreign trash [Western European song hits, operetta airs,
etc.] is perhaps a matter of pride for us, but when it is held up as something
superior to so-called light music, when it is represented as being something
more than music of a lower order destined to gratify undeveloped musical tastes,
we must raise our voices in solemn protest.58

55
Schonberg, Harold C. Lives of the Great Composers (New York. W.W. Norton and. Co., Inc., 1997), 198.
56
Ibid, 210.
57
Bartk, Bla. Gypsy Music or Hungarian Music? The Musical Quarterly, Vol. 33, No. 2, 241.
58
Ibid, 241-242.

16
He continues:
It is disconcerting, though, to observe how musical artists and writers in high
positions endeavor to endow this popular music with the attributes of a serious
and superior art. In doing so they value it either because of inherently bad taste
or bad intentions above really serious Hungarian music of a higher order.59

Further questions become evident when taking a slightly larger view of the picture: what
causes this confusion for composers such as Liszt? What causes the process of Hungarian folk
music to be taken up by gypsy musicians and, over the passage of time, become completely
misappropriated to the gypsies, to such an extent as requires the full and exhaustive efforts of
Bartk and Kodly to begin to correct? The answer lies in two parts. The first is the
development of the verbunkos and the blending of Magyar music and gypsy performance, a
subject covered in greater detail in the next section. The second can be identified by one last
remark by Bartk, a rather off-handed one that illuminates one interesting and largely untouched
facet of nineteenth-century social priorities:
what people (including Hungarians) call gypsy music is not gypsy music but
Hungarian music; it is not old folk music but a fairly recent type of Hungarian
popular art music composed, practically without exception, by Hungarians of the
upper middle class. But, while a Hungarian gentleman may compose music, it is
traditionally unbecoming to his social status to perform it for money only
gypsies are supposed to do that.60

That performing musicians should occupy a low post in society is not news. However,
that Bartk identifies this reality of musical life is rather significant in understanding the
disconnect that developed and eventually caused Liszts infamous error. On one hand, gypsy
bands were engaged to perform verbunkos music, providing an impetus towards associating the
gypsies as performance musicians. On the other, the Hungarians themselves were indirectly
distancing themselves from their own legacy due to the socio-economic norms of the time.

Verbunkos Music

As the verbunkos style of music is the most prominent source of music for Brahms, Liszt,
and Erkel, it is appropriate to briefly discuss this music. One of the most significant works to
address the history of the verbunkos is Blint Srosi in his book Gypsy Music. He asserts:

59
Ibid, 242.
60
Ibid, 241.

17
The verbunks [sic] is the characteristic genre of the gypsy musician in Hungary.
Its stylistic features are still characteristic of the gypsy musicians playing to this
very day. On the basis of these stylistic features we - erroneously - call the music
played by the gypsy musicians gypsy music61

The stylistic features that Srosi points out are those that carry forward into the csrds.
These include the division of the music into slow (lassu) fast (friss) sections. The slow section
usually features rhapsodic, improvisatory performance coupled with emphasis on dotted-
rhythms. The fast section usually features running notes and is characterized by virtuosity. It is
also possible for many alternating sections of slow and fast to be used in the form.62 and In
addition to the misconception that the verbunkos is of gypsy origin, Srosi also points out that
originally, the dance music that originates the style was simply referred to as Magyar.63 As the
dance evolved and came to be used as a tool of recruitment, the environment and the people who
would come to use it also influenced this evolution. For example, in the eighteenth-century, the
regular troops of the Hungarian army were of mixed nationalities, however, one group that was
homogeneous within the armed forces were the famous cavalrymen known as the Hussars. The
Hungarian people have a long history of being talented horsemen. In the modern era,
demonstrations of their incredible abilities are routine (such as a specialized form of archery that
is performed while on a galloping horse known as the lovasjsz). The long trousers of the
Hussars and the clicking of the spurs point to a people whose living element is ridingAs a
necessitythe dancer must be spurred. 64 The clicking of spurs would become central to one
of the most typical gestures of the style hongrois, the bokz.
The verbunkos would eventually become divided into two sections, the slow dance, and
the lively dance. Some purists contend that only the slow dance is authentically Hungarian.65
Nonetheless, as the music became disseminated throughout the country, it would eventually
become the single most nationally recognizable form of music.
The verbunkos, like any number of other folk-derived styles is a collection of many
influences, some of which are foreign. At the time the verbunkos began to gain an identity (ca.

61
Srosi, Blint. Gypsy Music, 85.
62
Bellman, Jonathan. Verbunkos. Grove Music Online. Oxford Music Online.
http://www.oxfordmusiconline.com.proxy.lib.fsu.edu/subscriber/article/grove/music/29184?q=verbunkos&search=q
uick&pos=1&_start=1#firsthit (accessed June 26, 2012)
63
Ibid.
64
Ibid, 89.
65
Ibid, 90.

18
1770), many of the prominent musical figures in Hungary were foreign. This is pointed out by
Bence Szabolcsi:
Haydn, Zivilhoffer, Werner, Dorfmeister, Krommer, Albrecthsberger,
Dittersdorf, Czibulka, Zimmermann, Druschetzky, Wratnitzky, Franz, Roser,
Pichl, Weigl, Mederitsch, Tomasini were to be found in the residences and in the
towns, in the court of prince-primates and aristocrats of Pozsony (Esterhzy,
Batthyny, Grassalkovich, Erddy), of Kismarton (the Princes of Esterhzy), of
Nagyvrad (Bishop Patachich), of Kiscenk (Count Szchenyi), of Vereb (Vgh),
of Pest, etc. Practically only Czech and German names were to be found in the
field of musical pedagogics, among the makers of musical instruments, the
publishers of musical works and the music shops. In Pest-Buda where the
fraternity of the Buda musicians was already formed around 1719 the first
music school was opened by Georg Nase (1727), the first organ maker, known by
name, was Johann Staudinger (1743), the first music shops were owned
by Weingand and Kpf, and the first manual for the piano was written by
Franz Rigler (1779, 1798), etc. The title pages of publications of verbunks[sic]
and Hungarian tunes (i.e. dance pieces) were for a long time headed by German
names and yet this rising literature, in its spirit, was essentially different from
the former work of German musicians in Hungary.66

This sentiment characterizes the influence of foreign musicians, composers, and builders
on Hungarian music. A similar observation was made by Bartk:
At times it is, not a popular music, but the peasant music of some adjoining
country, representing a higher degree of culture, that exercises the influence
leading to the birth of a new style.67

Another key ingredient that would make its way into the framework of the verbunkos
style was the rhapsodic, improvisatory style of playing inherent to gypsy performance.
Improvisation along with ornamentation would become assimilated into the verbunkos, csrds,
and seal themselves into the national stereotype.68
As this music became more popular, the foreign identity of some of the component parts
would eventually become glossed over.69 As the transition became complete and the music of
the csrds and verbunkos became a symbol of national pride, they would begin to emerge into
the operatic works of Erkel and the rhapsodies of Liszt. These were the two most iconic

66
Szabolcsi, Bence. A Concise History of Hungarian Music. Translated by Sra Karig (Budapest: Corvina Press.
1964), 53.
67
Bartk, Bla. The Hungarian Folk Song. Translated by M.D. Calvocoressi (Albany: State University of New York
Press, 1981), 3.
68
Srosi, Blint. Gypsy Music, 92.
69
Szabolcsi, Bence. A Concise History of Hungarian Music, 54-56.

19
composers native to Hungary that would embrace these styles in the nineteenth-century. The
most famous of the verbunkos tunes to be used was by far the Rkczy March. The namesake of
this tune was Francis Rkczi II, a leader of a failed popular uprising against the Habsburgs. An
antecedent of the march was called the Rkczi Nta or Rkczi Lament, dating back to ca. 1670.
While the popular notion is that the march dates back to the same time, known as the Kuruc
Period, this is not the case. The march itself was born at the height of the verbunkos period (with
some of the first performances given by the gypsy violinist Jnos Bihari between 1809-1820).70
This piece would be famously used by Liszt in the Hungarian Rhapsody No.15 and by Hector
Berlioz in the opera La Damnation de Faust, composed in 1846.71 Berlioz deliberately set the
first part of his opera on the plains of Hungary in order to include his arrangement of the march
in the opera, such was its popularity at the time.72
One characteristic that typifies the Hungarian gypsy in music is the type of band. One
interesting detail is that the gypsy and the peasant do not share the complete range of instruments
present in Hungary in their music. The cimbalom, violin, and clarinet are used by both peasants
and gypsies. Many peasant instruments such as the zither, shepherds pipe, cittern, or hurdy-
gurdy were not used by gypsies. The typical gypsy band would consist of cello, double-bass,
cimbalom, clarinet, and violin.73 This is important when considering style hongrois, as some of
the devices used are imitative of instruments commonly found in the gypsy band.

Early Use of Style Hongrois

While examples of music set in the style hongrois can be found earlier, the most plentiful
and iconic works in the style were written from during the Classical and Romantic periods.
Several composers from the Classical period would employ the style hongrois. Among them are
Haydn, Hummel, Mozart, and Beethoven. These composers would often appear to interchange
elements of both the Turkish style and style hongrois. Likewise, many works would be written
in a largely conventional format with sections or mere moments that fit one of the two
exoticisms. This can be observed in the works of Haydn and Beethoven.

70
Srosi, Blint. Gypsy Music, 99.
71
Ibid, 98.
72
Berlioz, Hector. La Damnation de Faust. Notes by Hugh MacDonald, 11.
73
Kodly, Zoltn. Folk Music of Hungary. Translated by Lawrence Picken (Budapest: Corvina Kiad, 1960), 126-
128

20
It is well known that Haydn spent a large portion of his career in the employ of the
Ezterhzy family in northwest Hungary. His relative isolation is often credited for his
inventiveness, use of humor, and other significant developments throughout his compositional
career. Less frequently mentioned is the exposure that Haydn clearly had to the music of the
Magyars and of the gypsies. Berger, in his discussion of Haydns Quartet in C Major, Op. 74,
No.1 (Apponyi) describes the finale as containing rustic, peasantlike [sic] melodic fragments
played over a bagpipe drone.74 This is an early example of elements of style hongrois making
an appearance, even though the movement as a whole wouldnt be accurately described as being
written in the style. While not mentioned in the Berger text, it is relevant for the purpose of
identifying style hongrois that the violin is assigned the melodic, darting fragments. Amongst
the bands of Hungary, the violin is treated in this manner most often, playing in an improvisatory
(even frenzied) style, over static harmonies based on the interval of a third or fifth. Another such
example is the Trio in the Gypsy Style.
Beethoven was also conversant in the language of style hongrois. It is reported by Julius
Kaldy that Beethoven heard the famous gypsy violinist Jnos Bihari perform and doubtless this
gave Beethoven some ideas.75 Perhaps one of the well-known examples of Beethoven is his
Rondo alla Ingharese, Op. 129. Given the nickname rage over a lost penny, this piece shows a
clear ability to use both the Turkish style and the style hongrois in a single movement, yet
compartmentalized within respective sections. The opening measures contain what Bellman
describes as a jangly ornamented opening melody, characterized by alternating, rapid
sixteenths.76 This is set against an incessant, percussive eighth-note block in the left hand that is
reminiscent of Mozarts own famous rondo. Abruptly switching from these Turkish style
devices, Beethoven moves to Hungarian devices such as the rhythmic spondee, alla zoppa, and
anapests. Traits of these individual characteristics will be discussed in greater detail in the
following section.

Stylistic Devices

This section will provide an overview of the various types of stylistic devices used as a
lexicon for style hongrois. Within style hongrois, there are several categories of gestures,
74
Berger, Melvin. Guide to Chamber Music (Mineola: Dover Publications Inc., 2001), 214.
75
Kaldy, Julius. A History of Hungarian Music. Quoted in Bellman. The Style Hongrois in the Music of Western
Europe, 57.
76
Bellman, Jonathan. The Style Hongrois in the Music of Western Europe, 59-61.

21
figures, and ornaments. Many of the individual elements themselves are also commonly found
in music that is not consistent with the style hongrois and so, in and of themselves, do not serve
to identify the style on the merit of their existence. Rather, when used in conjunction with other
elements, the result is indicative of style hongrois. Thankfully, there are examples of elements
that are identified as "typical" of the style and are more unique, such as what Liszt called the
"Magyar cadence." Elements can be categorized into several groups. The first is the imitation of
gypsy instruments and the characteristic way in which they were played. The second group
consists of several types of rhythmic gestures derived from a combination of ornamentation,
language, and dance. A third group consists of material derived from melodic gestures that
either generally emphasize certain intervals or are based upon typical Hungarian-Gypsy music.77
Harmonic characteristics will also be discussed.
Instrumental Imitation. The most prominently featured instrument in the nineteenth
and twentieth centuries within the gypsy band is the violin. Gypsy players have built and
maintained a reputation within Hungarian society as masters of the instrument and are
considered by the populous to be among the best instrumentalists the nation produces.78 The
violin is often imitated through several different methods. One of these methods is through the
use of double stops that use two notes of extreme range. This is intended to imitate the
scratching, ornamented style of the gypsy player.79 The part of the violin (especially during the
Lass or Hallgat sections) is generally accorded a rhapsodic and dramatic treatment rich with
ornamentation, so entire sections of style hongrois can be attributed not only in gesture, but also
in general concept to the imitation of the violin. Another instrument which is unique to Hungary
and which is prominently featured in the traditional gypsy ensemble is the cimbalom. The
cimbalom is similar to a hammer dulcimer, using carved wooden sticks as hammers. During the
height of the verbunkos, the instrument did not have a dampening pedal (this would be added
around 1870) and the hammers were not padded, as they are today.80 This would lead to a lack of
control with regard to harmonic shift and a more metallic timbre than is typical of todays
players. This instrument provides much of the rhythmic and harmonic stability (even while also
providing an extensive array of ornamentation). The cimbalom is also responsible for leading

77
Bellman, Jonathan. The Style Hongrois in the Music of Western Europe, 93-94.
78
Ibid, 95.
79
Ibid, 97.
80
Manga, Jnos. Hungarian Folk Song and Folk Instruments. Translated by Gyula Gulys (Budapest: Corvina
Kiad. 1969), 56.

22
acceleration or deceleration into new tempi. One of the most important imitations attributed to
the cimbalom for the purpose of this discussion of Mertz is referred to as "crying." This occurs
when a melody is embellished upon using rapid thirds and sixths.81
Rhythm. There are several rhythmic features of the style hongrois that feature in
Mertzs fantasy. I will provide a brief and incomplete list here (limited to those gestures that
appear in Mertz):
Spondee: Bellman defines this as a metric foot consisting of two longs.82 It can begin or end a
phrase and is most typically characterized by an arresting, punctuating effect.
Accented short-long: Very often seen as sixteenth to dotted-eighth note figures, this is commonly
imitative of Hungarian language. Many words place emphasis on the second, rather than the first
syllable, such as kirly, hazm, and szegny.83
Alla zoppa: The Italian limping rhythm consists of a quarter note between two eighths or other
comparable proportion. 84
Anapest: The anapest consists of two short and one long note value (accented). This is seen most
often as two sixteenth notes to an eighth-note.
Choriambus: This rhythmic gesture is typical of style hongrois and generally not used elsewhere.
It consists of a succession of long-short-short-long values.85
In addition to these figures, elements that arent indicative of the style alone, but contribute
highly are the pervasive use of dotted rhythms, and decorative triplets.86
Bokz: This rhythmic and melodic gesture consists of a turn beginning on the upper neighbor
coupled with a dotted rhythm at a cadence. This is often referred to as a Magyar cadence.87
Melody and Harmony. There are many melodic and harmonic gestures that occur as
part of the style hongrois, but very few are actually employed by Mertz. Some of the most
typical such as the kuruc fourth and the use of the Gypsy Scale, which features use of the
augmented second (by raising both the fourth and seventh scale degrees in the minor mode), do
not make appearances in the fantasy. Devices that Mertz occasionally uses include the raised

81
Bellman, Jonathan. The Style Hongrois in the Music of Western Europe, 111.
82
Ibid, 112.
83
Balacon, Maira. Features of Style Hongrois in Brahmss Hungarian Dances, 53
84
Bellman, Jonathan. The Style Hongrois in the Music of Western Europe, 115.
85
Ibid, 112.
86
Ibid, 116.
87
Ibid, 119.

23
fourth scale degree, the use of non-functional harmony and unprepared, abrupt harmonic shifts
and the juxtaposition of unrelated chords.

24
CHAPTER FOUR
Usage of Style Hongrois by Johannes Brahms (1833-1897)

In order to establish a baseline from which to view the usage of style hongrois by Mertz,
it is useful to examine the usage of the style in the works of two of the most prominent figures to
have done so. The works of both Franz Liszt and Johannes Brahms written in the style hongrois
provide a familiar body of repertoire that typifies the style. Both Brahms and Liszt embraced the
style for the entirety of compositions, rather than the more fleeting manner used by composers
such as Beethoven and Schubert.
As early as age eleven, Brahms was already arranging tunes from Hungary.88 In
addition, following the revolution in 1848 that forced many Hungarians to flee, Brahms
accompanied the gypsy violinist Eduard Remnyi during performances. In 1867, Brahms
travelled to Hungary as part of a concert tour with Joachim and heard gypsies perform.89 This
experience had the effect of providing some exposure to the folk (Magyar) material and gestural
articulations of gypsy performance. The most famous body of works of Brahms to use the style
is the collection of Hungarian Dances. Originally conceived for four-hands piano, Brahmss
great friend and collaborator Joseph Joachim (Hungarian himself) later arranged these dances for
violin and piano in 1871.90 Brahms did not consider these pieces original compositions and did
not assign them opus numbers. It is that body of work that shall be used here to typify the use of
style hongrois as Brahms saw fit to employ. It is worth noting, however, that Brahms would
write a large output that would draw upon the style, including such works as Variations on a
Hungarian Song, Op.21, No.2, the finale to the Piano Quartet, Op.25 in G Minor and later works
such as Zigeunerlieder, Op. 103 and the Clarinet Quintet, Op. 115.91 The Hungarian Dances

88
Balacon, Maira. Style Hongrois Features in Brahms's Hungarian Dances: A Musical Construction of a
Fictionalized Gypsy "Other", 37.
89
Bell, Carol. A Performance Analysis of Selected Dances from the Hungarian Dances of Johannes Brahms and the
Slavonic Dances of Antonin Dvok for One-Piano, Four-Hand. Doctoral dissertation. University of Oklahoma.
1990, 21.
90
Chang, Eric Jung-Teng. A Recording Project and Performance Guide of Twenty-One Hungarian Dances by
Johannes Brahms, Arranged for Violin and Piano by Joseph Joachim. Doctoral dissertation. University of
Maryland. 2003, 5.
91
Balacon, Maira. Style Hongrois Features in Brahms's Hungarian Dances: A Musical Construction of a
Fictionalized Gypsy "Other", 37.

25
became very popular and were transcribed for a number of different settings during Brahmss
lifetime.92 The sale of the published dances also greatly increased Brahmss income.93
Of the Hungarian dances, the most famous and examined is No. 5. It is perhaps the most
quintessential and iconic example of art music that follows the rubric of style hongrois. The
source material for the piece has been the subject of much debate and discussion amongst
scholars. In her work discussing gypsy pianist Gyrgy Cziffra, Elizabeth Loparits ascribes the
origin of the first section to a work called Brtfay Emlk by Bla Kler, but also possibly written
by Ede (Eduard) Remnyi.94 The form of the music is also set in the most famous of Magyar
forms, the csrds [czrds]. This type of dance is also associated very strongly with the gypsy
stereotype, as it was derived from verbunkos. Gypsy bands were most commonly used to
perform this music, and there began a long period of association, dissemination, and the
development of stereotypes. The marriage of Magyar folk material and gypsy performance
habits created a unique other that cannot be authentically claimed in totality by either group,
but belongs to each in its own way.95 The second section is attributed to Igncz Bognr, in a folk
song set for voice and piano called Uccu bizon.96 The overall form of the Hungarian Dance No. 5
is ABA, each section containing contrasting areas identified as lass [lassan, lassen] and friss
[frissan]. The lass is characterized by a slow tempo, large interpretive rubato, and rhapsodic
melodies, usually in 4/4 time. The friss can begin in a fast tempo and gradually move to a more
frenzied tempo and is highly virtuosic, usually in 2/4.97
Perhaps the liveliest subject of discussion when considering Brahmss output in the style
hongrois (as articulated through the dances) was the consideration of character. It is markedly
different from that of Schubert or Liszt. Bellman notes the following:
the style hongrois would become one of Brahmss most beloved modes
of expression, used throughout his life with greater nonchalance than either

92
Loparits, Elizabeth. Hungarian Gypsy Style in the Lisztian Spirit: Georges Cziffra's Two Transcriptions of
Brahms' Fifth Hungarian Dance. Doctoral Dissertation, University of North Carolina at Greensboro, 2008, 50.
93
Ibid.
94
Ibid, 75.
95
Balacon, Maira. Style Hongrois Features in Brahms's Hungarian Dances: A Musical Construction of a
Fictionalized Gypsy "Other, 19. She points out that style hongrois is twice removed from Hungarian and popular
music by virtue of art music imitating gypsy performance practice, and source material that can be traced back to the
Hungarian peasants. One can also refer back to Bartks article, discussed above for this topic.
96
Loparits, Elisabeth. Hungarian Gypsy Style in the Lisztian Spirit: Georges Cziffra's Two Transcriptions of
Brahms' Fifth Hungarian Dance, 78.
97
Bellman, Jonathan. Csrds. Grove Music Online. Oxford Music Online.
http://www.oxfordmusiconline.com.proxy.lib.fsu.edu/subscriber/article/grove/music/06918 (accessed 12 May 2012).

26
Schubert of Liszt had been able to achieve. For Brahms, it was not necessarily
the language of the souls darkest cries, or of a forbidden subculture.98

This last point, essentially referring to the musical settings of the (mostly negative)
stereotypes of the gypsies, is not without some contradiction. Bellman argues that Brahms had
been playing vernacular music all of his life, and not always in the most auspicious of settings,
and was therefore able to set a more unfettered approach, unencumbered by the same
ephemerality and superficiality that consumed other composers, most notably Liszt.99 He further
describes Brahmss dances as accessing the lighter, more popular gypsy vein.100
In contrast to this view lie the assertions of Maira Balacon. The essential purpose of her
work has been to show the mostly negative or hyperbolic stereotypes of gypsies through
examination of the Hungarian Dances by Brahms. She asserts, for example, that the use of
crying thirds and sixths in the B section of Hungarian Dance No. 11 is done in such a way as to
portray heart-breaking grief and sorrow.101 She also points out that the typical European
interpretation of many of Brahmss settings would be deemed alluring and dangerously
sensual.102 Her native Hungarian heritage may give her a unique perspective on the subject, but
nonetheless, it is important to note differences in the character presentations of Brahms, despite
the fact that Liszt and Brahms used the totality of the lexicon of style hongrois with equal ability.
While it might be argued that gypsy stereotypes manifest themselves to a greater or lesser
degree, it is clear from even a cursory level that Brahmss exhibits a lighter character in his work
than does Liszt. The work of Mertz examined in this document could be said to fit in the center
when compared to Brahms and Liszt. While formally closer to Liszts model, the overall
character of Fantaisie Hongroise is much lighter and closer to Brahms.
One of the most useful points to glean from comparing the works of Brahms and Mertz is
one of formal difference, not similarity. From the vantage point of structure, one can argue with
merit that dances of Brahms follow a more authentic formal structure, closer to that of the
original verbunkos than Mertz or Liszt. The utility of discerning this difference, while also able
to view the csrds set in an unfettered manner within a piece of art music is realized when

98
Bellman, Jonathan. The Style Hongrois in the Music of Western Europe, 202.
99
Ibid.
100
Ibid.
101
Balacon, Maira. Style Hongrois in Brahmss Hungarian Dances, 69.
102
Ibid.

27
examining the treatment of the csrds within Mertz. This will be seen later, in the examination
of Mertzs Fantaisie Hongroise.

28
CHAPTER FIVE
Usage of the Style Hongrois by Franz Liszt

When discussing master-composers, few illicit such polarizing opinions as Franz Liszt
(1811-1886). While he did much to advance Western music, he also did much to justify the
scorn and ridicule that came his way, even within his own lifetime. The discussion of this
controversial figure and his opinions, actions, and works, will be limited to that which concerns
the origins of gypsy music, the setting of Magyar material to virtuoso showcase music, and his
pedagogy.
The development of Liszt as a nationalist composer and his subsequent impact on the
study and understanding of gypsy music is rather interesting. Liszt was generally neglecting of
his heritage until well into his career. His first language was German, second was French, he
was never able to fluently speak Hungarian.103 This is not particularly surprising, as during the
this period in history (shortly before the ill-fated 1848-49 War of Independence), the official
language of the area known as Hungary was German and the Magyar language was generally
spoken in small towns and villages.104 Liszt lived in Budapest until the age of ten, when his
family relocated to Vienna.105 He would visit Hungary during the 1820s as his career as a
virtuoso was burgeoning; however it was not until a benefit concert for the victims of a massive
flood in Pest in 1838 that Liszt developed a more keen interest in the music and culture of his
home country.106 The most iconic body of music to emerge during this period set in the style
hongrois was the collection of Hungarian Rhapsodies. The rhapsodies were not published as a
complete collection all at once, Liszt would continually add to this output until near the year of
his death.107

103
Szabolcsi, Bence. The Twilight of Liszt Ferenc. Translated by Andrs Dek (Boston: Crescendo Publishing.
1957), 13.
104
Srosi, Blint. Gypsy Music,143
105
Liszt, Franz. Ten Hungarian Rhapsodies. Edited by August Spanuth and John Orth. (Boston: The Merrymount
Press, 1904), vii.
106
Laporits, Elisabeth. Hungarian Gypsy Style in the Lisztian Spirit: Georges Cziffra's Two Transcriptions of
Brahms' Fifth Hungarian Dance, 35.
107
Szabolcsi, Bence. The Twilight of Liszt Ferenc, 37.

29
It is said of Liszt that his technique was so amazing that difficulties were non-
existent, so that he could give his undivided attention, heart and soul to the
aesthetic side of his playing108

The above sentiment describes a composer and performer close to limitless both
musically and technically. It is possible to gain an insight into Liszts views and opinions on
style hongrois through observing his work and teaching comments. Liszt developed a reputation
as an outstanding virtuoso with unprecedented technique. It was partly in service of this
technique that Liszt developed the Hungarian Rhapsodies. Paganini gave his Vienna debut
concert tour in the spring of 1828. This occurs shortly after the death of Beethoven and shortly
before that of Schubert.109 The career of Paganini, perhaps more than any other performing
musician, gave impetus to the prominent rise of instrumental virtuosi. By the time Clara Wieck
and Liszt arrived with force in Vienna during 1837-1838, there was already a strong culture of
celebrating virtuosi and even a small group known in the city by the title Imperial and Royal
Chamber Virtuoso, one of which was the pianist Sigismund Thalberg.110 The newly arrived
pianists earnestly desired the same title for themselves. A rivalry broke out between these three
most prominent pianists. Comparisons were drawn constantly by the public, the press, the
musical circles of the time, and among themselves. Clara Wieck would write in her diary:

I played pieces by Liszt and Thalberg to silence those who thought I couldnt
play Thalberg. There were 13 curtain calls, and not even Thalberg experienced
that.111

Liszt and Thalberg would even have a musical duel at a charity event in Paris (declared
a draw) and Liszt was consistent in his attempts to best his competition.112 In particular, he
played programs that would be comprised of a variety of composers, unlike Thalberg who played

108
Wilkinson, Charles. Well-Known Piano Solos: How to Play Them with Understanding, Expression, and Effect.
(London. The New Temple Press, 1909), 228.
109
Gibbs, Christopher. Franz Liszt and His World. (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2006), 169.
110
Ibid, 173.
111
Ibid, 174.
112
Ibid.

30
only his own works.113 As a matter of well-calculated business acumen, Liszt concentrated on
playing works of Schubert and Beethoven within his programs and also made sure to associate
himself with Czerny and the prominent publisher Haslinger.114 It is within this context of
competition, gamesmanship, and general interest in furthering his career, that Liszt conceived (at
least initially) the Hungarian Rhapsodies, and its predecessor series, Magyar Dalok.115
Liszts output in the rhapsodies draws primarily from the verbunkos tradition. This is
something that he had in common with Brahms. The more familiar descendent csrds is the
form in which Liszt wrote perhaps his most famous rhapsody, No.2, in C-sharp minor. Unlike
the treatment of verbunkos material by Brahms, Liszt adds a little more variety to this piece
beyond the simple lass-friss form. In the opening, marked lento a capriccio, Liszt writes a
small introduction before the lassan. Before the friss begins in earnest, there is a rather unique
section of buildup beginning with a section evocative of La Campanella, passing through an
imitation of cimbalom, tremolando, and octaves set in arpeggio figures as a means to introduce
the bombastic section of the csrds. In another interesting difference to the more literal
structure as used by Brahms, Liszt invites the use of an improvised cadenza.116
While there are a number of composers to have written in the style hongrois, Liszts
name is singled out here because he most successfully married the performance characteristics of
the gypsies (improvisation, rhapsodic style) and composition within a more classical framework.
While much criticism has been cast on his claims to authenticity within his Hungarian works and
also on his book, Les Bohmiens et des leur musique en hongrie, there can be no doubt that at
least some of his tunes were taken from the more popular verbunkos literature (such as
Hungarian Rhapsody No. 15 based on the Rkczy March). Meanwhile, those works of original
design are very convincingly inspired from the verbunkos and the Hungarian Rhapsodies show a
great fluency in the characteristics of style hongrois. That Liszt was also moved by inspirations
of nationalistic nature is also unquestionable. Perhaps it didnt occur in a purely altruistic
fashion in his younger years, but he did try to contribute to the cause of his country with his
repertoire, his book, and even tried to learn the mother tongue. Apparently he failed with such

113
Ibid, 176.
114
Ibid, 180.
115
Gordon, Stewart. A History of Keyboard Literature: Music for the Piano and its Forerunners, 320.
116
Ibid, 321. See also Liszt, Ten Hungarian Rhapsodies, 6-16.

31
simple words as eltntorthatatlansg, but felt compelled to continue trying even into his
dotage.117
We can gain an appreciation that Liszt, besides being a technical phenomenon who may
rightly have been accused of questionable musical pursuits, was also an immensely intelligent
and refined musician. Therefore, his pedagogical preferences with regards to the Hungarian
Rhapsodies, can be of value for the performance practices of the modern era. It is especially
prudent, when informing performance for Mertz, to know Liszts beliefs on the flexibility of
tempo. Liszts own views would have no doubt been informed by one of his own mentors,
Czerny. Czernys views (when discussing the interpretation of Beethoven) are not suggestive of
wild, frenzied exaggerations of tempo, but of flexibility that reflects a refinement and
restraint.118 Czernys views on flexibility shifted from conservative to slightly less so in his
lifetime, and the momentum continued with Liszt. This is not, in and of itself, remarkable.
However, to know that Liszt, whose works can sometimes rest purely on bravado, also carried
the mantle of Beethovenian refinement, is quite so. From this, we can draw that Liszt had
deliberate intent to separate interpretation of Hungarian music from other music. After playing a
concert in which he performed a bombastic transcription of Imre Szchnyis Introduction and
Hungarian March, Liszt played a Chopin nocturne with the warmth and charm of poetry that
the leading pianists of our times try in vain to imitate.119
A certain light can be shed on performance preferences from the notes of August
Gllerich, a pianist who chronicled some of the master classes given by Liszt late in life. We can
gather that Liszt had a respect for gestural tempo (meaning in broader terms that the technical
difficulty should not impede the tempo of figures). On Hungarian Rhapsody No.5 :
Not too slow at the beginningalways play the triplets [at mm.51] in time at the
place where the left hand crosses over120

117
Legny, Dezs. Liszt and His Country. Translated by Gyula Gulys (Budapest: Corvina Kiad, 1976), 163-164.
118
Rosenblum, Sandra P. Performance Practices in Classic Piano Music. (Bloomington: Indiana University Press,
1991), 390-392.
119
Legny, Dezs. Liszt and His Country, 161.
120
Gllerich, August. The Piano Master Classes of Franz Liszt. 1884-1886. Translated by Richard Louis Zimdars.
(Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1996), 87.

32
We can also gather that he believed these pieces should be immediately engaging and
impressive. On a Hungarian Rhapsody No. 4:

After the first few bars, the audience must be bowled over!121

He also showed a preference for clarity over speed. On Hungarian Rhapsody No. 8:

He [Liszt] played the finale several times and stressed that the tempo should not
be taken too fast, or everything will be blurred and sound like an tude. 122

An enlightening yet contrasting remark shows a maturity of interpretation and that Liszt,
for all his pomposity, arrogance and ability, knew moderation and restraint. On Beethovens
Sonate in E minor, op. 90:

it must be played quite simply, indeed not too sentimentally and performed.
There are things that must be played quite simply and where one may lay on
nothing at all. 123

On another occasion of a student performing Hungarian Rhapsody No. 4:

Play the sixteenth notes at the end of the theme without accelerating; instead
slow down somewhat (even a lot)make a good diminuendo to ppp and slow
down a lotDefinitely do not begin the Allegretto rapidly, and always slow
down, very gypsy-like, at the end of the themeEach repetition a degree faster,
and finally the theme is Presto.124

We can gather from these notes, brief though they may be, that Liszt believed that
rhapsodic interpretations of tempo were an authentic and integral part of the style hongrois as he
understood it. That he calls for restraint in other music is all the more telling. As a point of fact,

121
Ibid, 56.
122
Ibid.
123
Ibid, 57.
124
Ibid, 133

33
many of the notes regarding tempo attributed to Liszt by Gllerich are emphatic about not
playing too fast, too slow, or breaking the tempo.

34
CHAPTER SIX
Analysis of Mertz Fantaisie Hongroise Op.65, No.1

The Fantaisie Hongroise is written in a similar overall form to Liszts rhapsodies, rather
than that of Brahmss dances. As noted previously, Brahms generally followed the verbunkos
form rather faithfully. Liszt, on the other hand, would add small transition sections,
introductions, and other structural embellishments to the standard patterns of the csrds. One
curious point regarding Mertz and his work is the complete absence of interpretive indications
that overtly call to specific elements of style hongrois. For example, Liszt would commonly use
indications such as lass, friss, or even quasi zimbalo to indicate formal sections that correspond
to the csrds, or as in the last indication, a specific instrumental reference identifying a very
particular compositional technique.125 A few score-writing practices that are since defunct were
employed by Mertz and most shall be discussed in each particular example. One general
designation that warrants clarifying is that Mertz used letters, rather than numbers, to designate
strings when arranging passages in positions that could possibly be interpreted in more than one
way.126
In measures 1-5 (see example 1), Mertz already forcefully establishes the character of the
piece through a combination of devices taken from the standard lexicon of the style hongrois.
The declamatory alla zoppa rhythm is displayed in measure 1 in addition to forceful
establishment of the key of A Minor, coupled with successive dynamic markings of f, sf, sf, ff.
This is reminiscent of the opening of a very popular csrds (ironically by an Italian named
Monti) wherein the full band begins with strong dynamics and declamatory blocked chords
establishing the tonal center and minor mode immediately. The dotted eighth-note followed by
sixteenth note occurring on the fourth beat is also used with great frequency in the style
hongrois. Measure 2 features a solo line, typically a response to the opening chords, imitative of
the gypsy fiddler. Mertz marks this area Quasi Recitativ, slentando. Additionally, he pointedly
separates the eighth-note rhythm into an anacrusis followed by a large leap using repeated notes,
dotted rhythms and fermatas to produce an improvisatory and rhapsodic character. The

125
Bellman, Jonathan. The Style Hongrois in the Music of Western Europe, 108.
126
Mattingly, Stephen. Franz Schuberts Chamber Music with Guitar: A Study of the Guitars Role in Biedermeier
Vienna. Doctoral Dissertation, Florida State University. 2006, 34-43.

35
fingerings indicated by the composer, using the fourth string exclusively for the solo line, also
indicate an instrumentally imitative idea. From measures 3-4, this exact collection of ideas is
repeated; the only substantive difference is the completion of the harmonic progression from
dominant back to tonic. It should also be noted here that the use of dots above notes does not
indicate a staccato articulation. These markings were used to indicate a return to individual
articulation of notes, almost always when a particular passage was flanked by slur markings.
This is consistent with guitarist-composers notational techniques from the nineteenth-century.127
Mertz appears to often use dots to prevent guitarists from slurring fast passages, and the marking
here could also be due to the fact that the passage is also marked con anima. If the particular
notes are both flanked by slurs and are to be played in a staccato fashion, it would be common
for the composer to write the word in addition to using dots.

127
Mertz, Johann Kaspar. Opern Revue, Op.8. See notes by Torosian, 11.

36
Figure 1: Guitar by Johann Scherzer, ca. 1856.128

128
This instrument currently belongs to Matanya Ophee, who speculates that it is possibly the same instrument built
by Scherzer for the purpose of Makaroffs competition mentioned in the memoirs of Makaroff in chapter 2.
http://www.matanyaophee.com/collection/scherzer.html. Accessed 9 June 2012.

37
Example 1: Fantaisie Hongroise Op.65, No.1: mm. 1-4 of violin solo
Imitation
Alla zoppa Alla zoppa

In the next section, measures 5-7 (see example 2), the setting changes somewhat to
something closer to the piano. Marked eroico followed by dolce, the combination of
declamatory chords with more dynamic markings of f, sf, f indicate a more Lisztian approach.
Unfortunately, the modern guitar is not equipped as the Scherzer guitar was with extra
contrabass strings (see fig.1), so it isnt possible to articulate the low D3 as written. One solution
is to cut the D4 from the chord on the downbeat and articulate it in place of the D3. The loss of
grandiosity here is lamentable, but can be made up in some degree by rolling the chord on the
second beat with particular emphasis on the F6. The following repeated note descending line
with dotted rhythms not only employs the same combinatorial techniques of style hongrois as
mentioned above, but also provides a slightly more formalized and perhaps less freely interpreted
link to measure 2 and measure 4. This gives way in measure 7 to a dramatic crescendo built of
insistent chords with an E3 pedal leading to another use of repeated notes and dotted rhythms in
a cadential fashion.

38
Example 2: mm. 5 -7

The following poco piu mosso begins the first significantly insistent forward motion of
the piece, with a pulsing eighth-note rhythm on static sixths. Instrumentally, this section is also
imitative of a pianistic setting, wherein one hand (presumably the right, in this instance) would
articulate the static harmony while the other contrasts with a moving line. If we guitarists could
just articulate another harmonic idea below the moving bass here, it would be a perfect
counterfeit for Liszt, but alas, no such luck. Devices of the style hongrois here include
ornamental triplets in measure 9 and another alla zoppa in measure 10 (see example 3).129 The
chromaticism that occurs in measure 13 is one that is quite typical of Mertz. There are several
instances in pieces such as the Elegy and throughout the Bardenklnge that Mertz employs a
brief chromatic interruption leading into a cadence. This use of chromaticism is also common in
style hongrois, though a more typical example will be seen in measure 43 (see example 11).

129
Bellman, Jonathan. The Style Hongrois in the Music of Western Europe, 116.

39
Example 3: mm. 8-13
Decorative triplets Alla zoppa

Beginning in measure 14 (see example 4), we are introduced to another character and
tempo change with the section marked Brillante. Here Mertz uses a short-tremolo articulation,
using a p,m,i pattern, rather than the more commonly used p,a,m,i.130 This was common amongst
nineteenth century guitarists, possibly introduced to Vienna and made popular by the methods of
virtuosos such as Giuliani.131 A longer version of tremolo employed by Mertz, and Dubez in the
Fantaisie sur des motifs hongroise, would commonly use p,m,i,a,m,i. The use of p,m,i is
particularly idiosyncratic and is also (at the correct tempo) evocative of the tremolando used by
the Cimbalom, the dulcimer-like instrument common to gypsy bands. Following the rapid
tremolo, we are introduced to a series of alla zoppa figurations that are interrupted by anapests in
measures 15 and 17. Finally after the third iteration of the tremolo figuration, a complete series
of uninterrupted alla zoppa figures leads to next cadential section.

130
Letters indicate instruction for the right hand. P=thumb, i=index, m=middle, a=ring finger.
131
Mattingly, Stephen. Franz Schuberts Chamber Music with Guitar: A Study of the Guitars Role in Biedermeier
Vienna, 38.

40
Interrupted alla zoppa, anapests,
Example 4: mm. 14-20. followed by complete alla zoppa
Cimbalom imitation

Series of alla zoppa

Beginning in measure 22 (see example 5), a departure from stylistic elements from the
lexicon of style hongrois takes place and instead Mertz delves into his virtuoso wheelhouse for
an extended section of harp-like arpeggios preparing for a half-cadence before the first main
theme is introduced. While mostly unremarkable, there is one particular aspect of this section
which draws the attention of any guitarist fluid in typical nineteenth-century figurations. This
occurs at measure 22. This passage, which simply takes arpeggiated E-Major and A-Minor
triads and moves them across an octave, would be arranged in a completely different manner by
Giuliani, Legnani, or any other prominent guitarist of the era. One can look to Carcassis 25
Studies, Op. 60, No. 20 to see how typically these figures would be solved on the guitar.132 At
such a point in the register of the guitar, with frequent shifts to lower positions, it would be
common practice to use the first string to accommodate the third and fifth of the triad. Here,
however, Mertz specifies that the hand must shift further than normal and play the triad across
three strings, rather than two. It is unlikely that this was chosen due to a musically pure

132
Carcassi, Matteo. 25 Melodic and Progressive Studies, Op. 60. Edited by Paul Henry (Milwaukee: Hal Leonard
Publishing Corporation. 1993), 36. Originally published in 1836. See No. 20 for common fingering solutions that
comprised shifting between lower positions using p,i,m,a and higher positions continuing the arpeggio across only
two strings.

41
motivation on the part of Mertz. It is more likely the consequence of achieving a desired effect,
rather than following a musically consistent pattern. When examining other works of Mertz,
such as Romanze from Bardenklnge, Op.13, there is a lengthy set of figures during the
introduction marked imitation del arpa.133

Example 5:. Bardenklnge, Op.13, No. 2, Romanze. mm. 1-2.

It could be the case here that, without stating it directly, Mertz intends to achieve the
same effect here. Certainly, it could also be an attempted imitation of the sonority of the piano.
A third possibility is a virtuosic showcase with a more visually engaging technical device.
Whatever the cause, it is an interesting diversion from common practice. Another unfortunate
side note is that once again, the modern instrument cannot support the actual pitch values of the
volante section at the end of the passage and beginning after the first fermata, it becomes
necessary to transpose all pitches up by an octave.

133
Mertz, Johann Kaspar. Bardenklnge, Op. 13, Romanze. (Vienna, Chez Charles Haslinger. 1840s). Used with
permission from the Boije collection, Statens musikbibliotek - The Music Library of Sweden.

42
Example 6: Fantaisie Hongroise. mm. 22-28. Imitation of harp arpeggio arrangement

Thus concludes the introduction. The next major section changes to an Adagio Maestoso
and modulates to the parallel major. The melodic material here is very clearly an instrumental
imitation of verbunkos song, as yet unidentified. The section is replete with characteristic
gestures of the style hongrois. Beginning in measure 30 (see example 7), a series of dotted
parallel sixths are displayed as the phrase approaches its first ornamental turn and imitation of
out of tune violins in measure 35 (see example 8)with a double stop glissando (so the glissando
ought to be a touch labored, rather unlike modern conventions guitarist use to produce
portamentos). The use of thirds and sixths here is typical of a vocal imitation technique.134 In the
score, there is a rit placed under the rearticulated fifths during the second beat; however this is
most likely intended to be executed during the glissando, not afterwards as implied by the score.
This would be characteristic of gypsy tendencies during a lass improvisation. For an
entertaining reference, one can find a multiplicity of performance recordings of the famous
Csrds by Vittorio Monti (1868-1922), dating from 1904, online. While this piece was not
written during the height of the verbunkos style and cannot be considered authentic, it has
become fiercely popular and it does draw on many of the typical style hongrois gestures. This
section is again filled with expressive markings, dynamics that seem only to include the upper
134
Bellman, Jonathan. The Style Hongrois in the Music of Western Europe, 110.

43
reaches of the instruments capability and at once juxtapose a firmer sense of rhythmic integrity
while digging in to rhapsodic indulgence shortly thereafter. Unfortunately, another contrabass D
must be omitted on the modern instrument, due to range, in measures 30 and 34 in addition to
contrabass As in measures 29 and 33.

Example 7: mm. 29-34


Dotted rhythms and parallel
3rds/6ths

Example 8: mm. 35 with out of tune glissando.

Following this gesture is a cadence, ornamented by thirty-second notes (see example 9).
This section is similar in nature to many cadences in Hungarian Dance No. 5 by Brahms that use
a running sixteenth-note figure. It contains a turn used as a staple for the bokz, but does not
couple the turn with the most typical rhythm consisting of a dotted-eight to sixteenth-note figure.
Since Mertz was one of the early composers to advocate playing guitar with nails on the right-
hand, the designation of using the second and fourth strings here for the cadence more than likely

44
represents a concerted attempt at directing the player to articulate the cadence in an exaggerated
or rhapsodic fashion. His instruction also produces a warmer sound than would occur if the
musician were to play the cadence in the standard position (fifth in this case).

Example 9: mm. 36

Melodic turn similar to bokz

The next section, beginning at measure 37 (see example 10), shows the first unprepared
change of harmony in the piece. It would be too much to call this section a modulation, as the
key of A-Major is quickly reasserted with only a two-measure sojourn into foreign territory.
Nonetheless a sharp change of color (by virtue of contrast from the dulce created by Mertzs in
the preceding cadence to a much brighter sound in measure 37), dynamic, and striking C-sharp
Major chord contribute to another technique representative of the style hongrois, that of an
unprepared modulation or temporary shift in harmony.135 This quickly gives way to a
sequencing tremolando (again using p,m,i) imitative of a cimbalom in dialogue with other
instruments. An identical passage, begun this time on a B-Major chord, gives way to an E-Major
preparation for a return to the theme from the beginning of the adagio maestoso. In each of these
cases, the implied dominant (C# Major and B Major, respectively) is emphasized more than the
resolution (F# minor, and E Major). This is also typical of the style hongrois.136

135
Balacon, Maira. Style Hongrois Features in Brahms's Hungarian Dances: A Musical Construction of a
Fictionalized Gypsy "Other, 58
136
Ibid, 59.

45
Decorative triplets set in thirds,
Example 10: mm. 37-38. imitative of cimbalom

The return to the theme of this section is punctuated by a slightly more ornamented
approach, using crying chromatically shifting thirds and sixths (marked con dolore) rather than
the dotted rhythm and diatonic movement shown before (mm. 42-43, see example 11). Along
with this, an arpeggio ornamentation that is again reminiscent of the harp imitation that Mertz
favors marks the preparation for the cadence. The use of the sixth-string E to begin a slightly
unorthodox voicing of an A-Major chord at the beginning of measure 43 is possibly taken from
the style hongrois, but the use of such voicing can also be observed in the works of Mauro
Giuliani and Luigi Legnani, among others, and was used to fill out the guitars sound at the
expense of conventional harmonic practice. Since Giuliani in particular was known to have
visited and performed in Vienna, Mertzs use of the technique could easily have been derived
from Italian sources.

Example 11: mm. 40-43

Crying chromaticism

46
In the second ending (mm. 45, see example 12), Mertz shows us that he is not drawing on
the altogether rough-and-tumble world of gypsy-inspired practice exclusively. After unprepared
harmonic shifts and a rather unrefined use of chord voicing and melodramatic chromaticism, the
ear is presented a gift of a pedal tone modulation to F-Major. Again, he indicates to use the
second and fourth strings, rather than the more conventional use of first and third strings. This
not only affords consistency of tone color, but also allows for the left hand to occupy a common
position for the modulation itself.

Example 12: mm. 43-45.


Harp-like ornament.

As stated previously, this piece is not constructed in a form strictly imitative of the
original csrds, such as in Brahms, but in a more complicated structure more appropriately
comparable to Liszt. This might seem a laughable statement, considering the title of the piece;
however, there is one aspect of the form and the material that is rather interesting in this regard.
Within the greater fantasy scheme, there are indications that a traditional lass-friss structure is
conceived. My belief is that the lass begins at the F-Major section in measure 46 (see example
13). This section is the most openly rhapsodic and improvisatory, harkening to the spirited
gypsy performance practices. The tempo is rather slow, the slowest in fact of the entire piece,
and is much less rhythmically driven than any section preceding or following this area.
Although there are rhythmic gestures that are indicative of the style hongrois on display
previously, the multiplicity of them inserted into such a short space combined with other gestures
creates an overall impression of improvisation.
Whilst the propensity for dotted rhythm and accents on weaker beats can be identified as
style hongrois traits, a significant series of rhythmic gestures beginning occurs from measure 46-
49. This begins with an accented short-long in measure 47, a choriambus leading to an anapest

47
begins at measure 48, followed by an alla zoppa rhythm moving into the F-Major cadence in
measure. 49.

Example 13: mm. 46-49.


Alla zoppa
Accented short-long Choriambus Anapest

Following this begins a more emphatic section, commencing with another alla zoppa and
choriambus in measure 50 (see example 14) adding a leap imitative of the gypsy violinist. The
following measure opens with the same alla zoppa, slightly ornamented and another choriambus
before giving way to a restatement of the first idea, this time ornamented with running thirty-
second-notes in the middle register. Another arpeggio makes an appearance as an ornament to
close measure 53. When compared to the earlier adagio maestoso, it is clear that although much
has changed, the methods Mertz employs to intensify reiterations in both sections are either
similar in nature (filling out textures with ornamental runs or chromaticisms) or identical (in the
case of ornamental arpeggios). In this manner the highly sectional nature of the piece is
overcome by an integrity and flow that demonstrates the maturity of Mertz more than that of the
style hongrois.

Example 14: mm. 50-55.

Alla zoppa Choriambus Choriambus Running 32nd note fragment

Choriambus Anapest Alla zoppa

48
The next section (mm. 56-60, see example 15) is essentially a transition between the
lass and the friss. Mertz uses a combination of diminished chords, pulsing triplets and running
thirty-second notes to build intensity. The running notes themselves are a point of connection
between the lass and the friss. In the lugubre section, Mertz uses similar runs featuring accented
dissonances and repeated notes mostly as ornamentation. The same ideas will feature
prominently in the upcoming scherzando. Mertz finishes the buildup off with another
instrumentally imitative leap and half cadence.

Example 15: mm. 56-60 Running 32nd note fragment

The friss commences with a curious gesture. A very typical gesture is the spondee, two
accented long rhythmic values. If Mertz were to copy the typical setting of the opening rhythm
of a friss, then the Allegro vivace would have placed chords on beats one and two in measure 61
(see example 16) and used a dotted quarter-note on the down beat of measure 62. Mertz choses
instead to syncopate the gesture, creating an imbalance that leaves the second of the chords with
a short articulation. Brahmss shows both ideas in his dances nos. 4 and 5. In Hungarian Dance
No. 5 during the second phrase of the A section, he uses the traditionally set spondee. However,
in the opening of Hungarian Dance No. 4, he uses the exact setting as shown here by Mertz, but
with a more colorful cimbalom tremolando rumbling around underneath137, as compared with

137
Balacon, Maira. Style Hongrois features in Brahmss Hungarian Dances, 71-72.

49
Mertzs more commonplace bass line.138 This creates a rhythmic impetus when contrasted to the
bass line and prepares for the anapests in measures 63 and 64 in a more energetic fashion.

Example 16: mm. 61-68 Syncopated setting of a spondee Anapests

Mirrored setting of
spondee

Anapest

The scherzando commences in measure 69 (see example 17) begins the repeated running
sixteenth-note figure that has been foreshadowed in the lugubre. It bears a strong resemblance to
a section of the palots from Ferenc Erkels opera Hunyadi Lszl, which is also derived from
verbunkos dances.139 The alternation of driving runs and anapests creates an upbeat dance
rhythm that typifies the style. Again, it warrants mentioning that the dots on the score are
indications only that the pitches are not to be slurred, unless noted by staccato. No further
articulation is designated by the presence of these symbols. The nature of the dance would allow
for a variety of interpretations with regards to the flexibility of the tempo. Most players choose
to execute no change in tempo between the Allegro vivace and the scherzando. While this is
sometimes the case with gypsy bands, or even pianists playing Brahms, there is also room for a
sudden deceleration followed by a dramatic accelerando, such as is often executed by pianists
during Liszts Hungarian Rhapsody No.2 as the friss begins in earnest. This idea is recounted by
Srosi when discussing the development of the verbunkos. It was not unusual for the tempo of
the piece to speed up ever gradually through to the end. The palots is an upper-class brother of
the csrds, with the only point of significant difference between the two lying in the fact that

138
For a contrast of Brahmss subtle alteration of the original rhythm (in addition to harmonic changes), a
comparison is described by Elizabeth Loparits in her dissertation. She shows both the original source folk songs as
well as Brahmss arrangements. Hungarian Gypsy Style in the Lisztian Spirit, 78-83.
139
Dubez, Johann. Fantasy on Hungarian Themes. Notes by Matanya Ophee.

50
the palots was a courtly dance and the csrds was typically played in the village taverns (the
word csrda translates to village inn). The choice to quote Erkel here is likely a deliberate
attempt to tap into popular sentiment. The operas of Erkel became symbolic to the populace and
were simply embraced by the revolutionary spirit of 1848, and subsequently they were hijacked
by it. In 1848, attending a concert of music or opera composed by a Hungarian national could
just as often mean attending a political action meeting. It was common for the audience to
interrupt concerts and demand a gypsy band take the stage to play national songs, most
especially the songs of Erkel and the Rkczy March.140 Erkel is considered the father figure of
national Hungarian opera, writing operas based upon heroic icons of the country such as Bnk
Bn and Hunyadi Lszl.141 While it is not known that Mertz actually witnessed such things (or
even that he was ever in Pest-Buda during this volatile period), the revolution of 1848 could not
have escaped his notice.

Example 17: mm. 69-76

Running 16th note motive from the


palots in Erkels Hunyadi Lszl

Anapests
Anapest

A quick interruption at measure 77 (see example 18) takes us to C-Major and darts
immediately through another sequence to secondary dominants to a half cadence before the
repeat of the friss. Each change in direction is commenced with an anapest and the half-cadence
gives our last alla zoppa of the piece.

140
Lajosi, Krisztina Katalin. Opera and Nineteenth-Century Nation Building. Doctoral Dissertation: University of
Amsterdam , 2008, 171.
141
Kaldy, Julius. History of Hungarian Music (New York: Haskell House Publishers Ltd, 1969), 36.

51
Example 18: mm. 77-84. Alla zoppa
Anapest

Beginning at the section marked con brio in measure 99 (see example 19), the piece
alternates between less overt nods to the style hongrois and virtuosic displays of technique. The
con brio uses a running sixteenth-note pattern that is melodically patterned in a similar way to
the running fragments that have been used to a greater or lesser extent throughout the piece.
Placed within this are interesting accents that are initially placed on weak beats at a rate of once
every two beats. The rhythmic frequency of the accents is then increased to once every beat and
the accents are moved to weaker subdivisions of the beat.

Example 19: mm. 99-103

The brillante section at measure 99 (see example 20) departs from the overt gestures of
style hongrois, but features a technically demanding set of arpeggios that pass through a number
of secondary dominants before changing pattern and ascending in a fashion very typically
displayed by Mertz; similar to the introduction to both this piece and his Elegy for guitar. It is
clear from cases such as these and from observing exercises from his method that arpeggios were
a particular strength of his. For the first time, Mertz uses a four-note tremolo pattern in measures
116-119, giving way to a series of octaves, simply more typical virtuosity and very likely an
attempt to imitate Liszt in a manner reminiscent of the Transcendental tudes and Hungarian
Rhapsodies. He was not alone in this offense, the groundwork being laid years before by Italians

52
such as Giuliani and Legnani. More secondary chords followed by still more arpeggios finally
yield to a closing idea.

Example 20: mm. 104-132.


28 measures of virtuosity

The closing idea (mm. 133-141, see example 21) is one very characteristic of the csrds.
Mertz uses the same base of running sixteenths again in a melodically similar fashion to the
instances smattered across the piece. He closes with the remark sempre cresc. e accel. il tempo.
Though not written, it is probably in ones best interest to lower both the tempo and dynamic
level in keeping with executing this idea. If the player had decided to use an accelerando during
the scherzando, then not only will there be pragmatic rewards for this gesture, but also a logical
symmetry. The final stylistic gesture before the final declamatory cadence is one last violin leap.

53
If anyone has been paying attention to this point, it is hopefully manifest that the manner in
which this leap should be executed must be virtuosic and rhythmic, not an evenly measured
glissando, as is normally heard (or at least here, lest we miss the note!).

Example 21: mm. 133-141.

Closing Ideas Regarding Interpretation and Performance Implications

The music of style hongrois represents an interesting departure from the normal
performance conventions of the classical musician. With regards to interpretation, speaking very
generally, much of the performed music of the day is falls into one of two interpretive categories:
1) a conservative orthodoxy in which one tries as much as possible to deliver a faithful rendition
of what is written. 2) music in which there is an accepted (and usually very broad) latitude
handed to the performer. Music for guitar is especially subject to these two groups. This is
chiefly for two reasons: first, a large amount of repertoire comes in the manner of transcription,
leading to a heightened awareness that we are playing with someone elses toys and should be
mindful; secondly, a large amount of repertoire that is of higher quality for the guitar was written
by non-guitarists, leading to a large number of pragmatic fixes. This leads to an overabundance
of both editing scores without merit and changing performance habits to make sure that
performers are not overcome by technical issues. While a certain degree of both habits listed
above are healthy and reflective of an astute performer, it can also lead to a sort of
institutionalized bi-polar manner of interpretation.
The music of style hongrois delivers a dose of both interpretational paradigms at once.
Those gestures that are directly taken from the lexicon of the style hongrois (to borrow a phrase

54
from Jonathan Bellman) should be performed with the utmost attention to authenticity.142
Playing passages that are imitative of gypsy band instruments without any idea as to their
identity will erode their purpose. Guitarists can use changes of color and articulation to help
those imitative sections stand apart. This clarity and recognition is also easily helpful for
rhythmic gestures. It is important to maintain rhythmic consistency when gestures of style
hongrois are being employed. For example, the most often used rhythmic gestures used by
Mertz are the alla zoppa and anapest. Without recognizing these gestures and performing them
with clarity, the perception of exoticism will be greatly reduced. However, it is just as important
to bring as much musically appropriate and relevant creativity to these musics as possible.
Simply performing the written pitches and rhythms with only cursory attention to the
improvisatory, rhapsodic practice of the gypsies that performed this music will render it stale.
While generally not the performance practice in the modern era, this music cries out for
improvisation and addition. For a prominent example of a modern performer who accomplished
this, the treatise by Elisabeth Loparits concerning the improvisational style of the gypsy pianist
George Cziffra provides an enlightening discussion of interpretation of style hongrois in the
twentieth-century. The odd instrumental leap or cadential addition of a bokz (for some reason
completely absent in Mertz, at least in its traditional figuration) would not be an act of
desecration. There are prominent examples of repertoire that have been subject to additions that
have been controversial. In recent years, the Segovia edition of the Bach Chaconne received a
great deal of criticism from modern-day guitarists due to its lack of authenticity when compared
with the original score. This owes to the fact that many ideas from Busonis own transcription
make an appearance in Segovias work. While the merits of additions such as Segovias can be
argued with merit both by those for and against his perspective, the style hongrois is a musical
context that almost requires input from beyond the confines of the written score. To add
elements of rubato, exaggerated dotting of rhythms, or even original cadenza-type passages
where appropriate would not interfere with, but simply enhance the authenticity that musicians
from the late twentieth-century onwards strive for.
From a guitarists perspective, it helps to gain an understanding of Mertzs technique (as
seen through his written method), the instrument that the piece was written for, and to inform
ones interpretation, rather than try to copy those practices of the nineteenth-century that are now

142
Bellman, Jonathan. Towards a lexicon for the Style Hongrois, 214.

55
rendered obsolete. It is preposterous to argue that modern guitarists, playing on essentially
Spanish instruments, with Segovia-inspired nails, performance habits, and nylon strings should
imitate the habits of Mertz or anyone else from that time. There is as yet no information on what
shape or condition Mertz kept his fingernails in, so even though one can purchase a Scherzer
copy and string it with imitation gut, there is as yet not enough information available to
authentically perform the music of Mertz. It is then left to us to do the best we can with the tools
at our disposal. If some choose to execute his music on a Scherzer guitar, then it should be for
an aesthetic and pragmatic reason (chiefly achieved through different construction of the body
and extended range). Indeed, Matanya Ophee makes a compelling argument towards the modern
player for the case that one cannot gain a true appreciation or form a valid opinion of Mertzs
work without attempting it on a Scherzer.143 However, when traditional players (that is to say,
people playing on guitars owing their design principally to the templates of Antonio de Torres)
take such music into their repertoire, it is equally important that they endeavor to inform their
approach and produce as musically convincing a product as possible. Many players have studied
the Fantaisie Hongroise, but few have yet applied a thorough knowledge of the style hongrois to
their interpretive endeavors. Since the style draws upon such a richly constructed exoticism, the
number of compelling approaches to this music is limitless.
Some examples from the piece merit discussion. Mertz provides a number of interpretive
markings on the score; accordingly the examples pointed out do not contain specific instruction
for suggested performance practices. In measures 16, 17, 19-20 (see example 4) the interrupted
alla zoppas and anapests are difficult to perform with rhythmic integrity, but it if any extra time
is taken the rhythmically charged gestures will become eroded. A change of color and character
is appropriate here too, as it follows a section imitative of cimbalom (mm. 14, 16, 18
respectively), while the alla zoppas are indicating a gypsy band tutti.
In measure 23 and 24(see example 6), the open Es that follow the arpeggiated triads in
twelfth position should be played while keeping the left hand in place, rather than shifting early.
This will allow overtones to last longer, enabling the harp-like imitation to be more effective. In
measure 28 (see example 6), an opportunity is provided for a cadenza-like improvisation. The
use of dotted rhythms and repeated pitches would certainly provide a starting point derived from
material used by Mertz throughout the fantasy.

143
Ophee, Stempnik on Mertz. Soundboard Vol. XVIII, No.1, 80.

56
In measure 35 (see example 8), equal emphasis notes of the double-stop and glissando
would be useful in a humorous way to more imitate the out of tune gypsy fiddler.
Measures 61-76 (see example 16) also provide an opportunity to insert some performance
habits typical to the csrds. The transition to a faster tempo can be accomplished in three ways.
The most conventional way (for the modern musician) is to essentially follow the score and
change tempo abruptly. Another possibility would be to increase speed gradually throughout the
Allegro Vivace. Still another possibility is to draw an abrupt halt between the Allegro Vivace and
the Scherzando, leaving the gradual accelerando until the Scherzando itself.
Similarly, the close of the piece (mm. 133-141, see example 21) provides an opportunity
to mirror the same manner of accelerando as was used in measures 61-76. Since the inspiration
for the idea is a dance, it can be executed well by exaggerating the accelerando itself, beginning
at an extremely slow speed and moving to established tempo of the Scherzando, or even beyond,
given the dramatic close of the piece.

57
CHAPTER SEVEN
Overview of Extant Guitar Works in the Style Hongrois

While works in the style hongrois are certainly not common for guitar, a body of such
repertoire does exist. Select pieces of repertoire that are significant and that can be viewed and
analyzed in much the same fashion as has been the Fantaisie Hongroise in this document merit
brief discussion.
Johann Dubez, a student of Mertz and virtuoso performer, wrote two primary pieces that
focus on the style hongrois. The first, Fantaisie sur des motifs hongroise, is a long form virtuoso
piece that owes heavily to Mertzs own work. Included in this work are arrangements of the
Rkczy March and a csrds which includes a variant of the scherzando from Mertzs fantasy.
These segments are represented in Appendix B of this document. The original Diabelli
publication is represented here, housed in the Boije collection at the Music Library of Sweden. 144
Matanya Ophees edition contains several corrections and adaptations for a modern six-string
instrument. Another work, unpublished, also housed in the Boije collection is Dubezs Quatre
pieces pour la guitare. These pieces are not all taken from the style hongrois, however there is
another arrangement of same Erkel palots as already remarked upon in the Fantaisie
Hongroise. There is also another arrangement of the Rkczy March.
Another composer who wrote a work in the style hongrois was Raphael Dressler (1784-
1835), a professional flutist who lived and worked in Vienna. His duo, Variationen ber ein
ungarisches Thema, op. 25, written for flute and guitar was published in 1815. While the
guitarist to whom the piece was dedicated to is unknown, he was known to have dedicated works
to the guitarist Teodore Gaude.145 The piece showcases many of the typical aspects of style
hongrois, however the arrangement is very much a one-sided affair, with the guitar mostly
relegated to simple chordal accompaniments, with the occasional gesture thrown in.
Nevertheless, it is a work that has only recently come to light and is an important contribution to
our knowledge of chamber music in the style hongrois using guitar. The only significant piece

144
Dubez, Johann. Fantaisie sur des motifs hongroise. (Vienna: Chez A. Diabelli, 1853).
145
Dressler, Raphael. Variationen ber ein ungarisches Thema, op.25. Notes by Andreas Grn, translated by Alan
Ross (Vienna: Artaria 1815. Republished, Frankfurt: Zimmerman Publishing, 2003), 16

58
performed to date has been the Schubert arrangement of Matiegkas Notturno, Op. 21
(Schuberts Quartetto, D. 96) which contains a trio marked Zingarra for the third movement.146
A small collection of works that are all written in style hongrois was published in 1960
by the Hungarian publishing company Editio Musica Budapest, edited by Ferenc Borodszky.
Although entitled Magyar Zene Gitrra a XIX. Szzad els felbl, (Hungarian Music for Guitar
From the First Half of the 19th Century), all are drawn from the verbunkos. With permission, I
have attached two of the most significant pieces in appendixes C and D. One is actually
attributed to Mertz himself, entitled Hazai Virgok (Flowers of my Homeland). Most of the
works we know of Mertz today are those published by Haslinger in the 1840s and subsequently
archived in the Boije collection, housed at the Music Library of Sweden. Interestingly, this work
is not among those collected by Boije and thus is far removed from the mainstream of the
Mertz repertoire. Another interesting part of the collection is an unattributed transcription of the
Rkczy March. While not identical to Dubezs arrangement in his own fantasy, this seems to
owe much to that work. Other adaptations of prominent composers of verbunkos music are also
featured, such as Rzsavlgyi and Kossovits, and a few pieces owe their attributed inspiration to
the most famous of all gypsy violinists in the style, Jnos Bihari.147 It bears mentioning that of
those names mentioned, only Bihari was a gypsy performer, all the rest being middle-class
Hungarian composers of verbunkos.148 While many of these works are rather short and vary both
in difficulty and quality, they provide an excellent opportunity for a developing guitarist to
experience the style hongrois without having to undertake a virtuoso piece such as the Dubez or
Mertz fantasies. These can also be thought of as excellent stylistic and pedagogical preludes to
studying the Fantaisie Hongroise.

A Note on Sources

One goal of research undertaken during the preparation of this document was to identify
specific verbunkos source material used in Mertzs Fantaisie Hongroise. To the extent that I was
able to identify the scherzando section as being based on the palots from the opera Hunyadi

146
Mattingly, Stephen. Franz Schuberts Chamber Music with Guitar: A Study of the Guitars Role in Biedermeier
Vienna, 85-87.
147
Borodszky, Ferenc. Magyar Zene Gitrra a XIX. Szzad els felbl. (Budapest: Editio Musica Budapest, 1960),
53-55.
148
Handrigan, Nancy. On the Hungarian in Works of Brahms: A Critical Study. Doctoral dissertation, McMaster
University. 1995, 49-53.

59
Lszl by Ferenc Erkel, this goal was accomplished. However, both the A-major adagio
maestoso and the F-major lugubre sections are both quite clearly based on verbunkos sources.
While it should be conceded that this is possibly original material conceived by Mertz and set in
a manner typical of the verbunkos, the predilection shown by Mertz towards using verbunkos has
been shown by recent scholarly research. It is therefore unlikely that the aforementioned
sections are the result of entirely original work.
Certain undertakings into cataloging the folk music of Hungary have been famously
accomplished by Bartk and Kodly. Since their original work, a formidable two volume work
has been penned by Lajos Vargyas cataloging Hungarian folk ballads tracing texts, tunes, and
themes of Hungary and placing them within the greater European Ballad tradition. These works
are all invaluable when studying the material that is described usually as peasant music.
However, the works of the verbunkos have not been addressed until much more recent scholarly
research. At the time of this writing, the best work to date in cataloging these tunes has been
accomplished by Gza Papp. Though he has published several papers on the subject, the most
complete and most recent work produced is The Manuscript Mementoes of the Verbunkos:
Thematic Catalog from the Collection of the Music Department of the National Szchenyi
Library. This work is by no means the last word on the subject, but is a valuable scholarly first
step to fill that contributes greatly to the knowledge base for the style hongrois . Papp identifies
a number of tunes that appear in works of Mertz, including Hazai Virgok (see Appendix D).149
Until a more complete thematic catalog of verbunkos source material becomes available,
further discussion on this subject remains a matter of conjecture. From the early twentieth-
century onward, there appears to have been a generally encouraged neglect in studying this
music at the scholarly level. This is most likely in reaction to the misconceptions that were
particularly promoted by Liszt and also due to a following and interest in peasant music
developed by Bartk and Kodly. Scholars such as Szabolcsi and Srosi completed scholarly
research that was either centered on, or made mention of, gypsies and music. However, these
writings generally approach the subject from a historical perspective and do not attempt to
develop any catalog or lexicon. Given the influence of foreign sources in the nineteenth-century,
Magyar sources dating back to the seventeenth and eighteenth-centuries, and the performance-
based influence of the gypsies, it becomes necessary to possess scholarly work that covers all

149
Papp, Gza. A Verbunkos Kziratos Emlkei. (Budapest. MTA Zenetudomnyi Intzet Budapest. 1999), 39.

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three areas before a truly complete analysis can be maintained. This is most pertinent when
identifying source tunes. It is a matter of relative ease, however, to identify stylistic gestures,
passages, and intentions. This is thanks to a large and ever-increasing body of recent work
addressing the creation of a lexicon, historical development of style hongrois and its
predecessors, and analysis.

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APPENDIX A
J.K. Mertz: Fantaisie Hongroise, Op. 65 No.1

62
63
64
65
66
APPENDIX B
Johann Dubez: Fantaisie sur des motifs Hongroise. (excerpts)

67
Rkczy March.

68
Csrds, lassan.

69
Palots

70
APPENDIX C
Rkczy March

71
APPENDIX D
J.K. Mertz: Hazai Virgom

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APPENDIX E: PERMISSIONS
Mnika Farkas Farkas@emb.hu Jun
4

Dear Andrew Stroud,

thank you for your letter.


Editio Musica Budapest give you the permission to public extracts from "Magyar zene gitrra" by F.
Brodszky, in your doctoral treatise.
This permission is without any licence fee, but your publication can not be for sales.

Best wishes
Monika Farkas

Monika Farkas
Copyright Manager
Universal Music Publishing
Editio Musica Budapest Ltd.

tel: (36-1) 23 61 100


fax: (36-1) 23 61 101
e-mail: farkas@emb.hu
www.emb.hu
www.umusicpub.com
http://universalmusicpublishingclassical.com

>>> Andrew Stroud 2012. 06. 03. 22:35 >>>


To Whom it May Concern,
My name is Andrew Stroud. I am a doctoral candidate at Florida State University in the
United States. I am currently writing my doctoral treatise on the subject of style
hongrois (verbunkos) in the guitar works of J.K. Mertz.

73
I would like to include reproductions of an edition of guitar music in this style:
Magyar Zene Gitrra a XIX. szzad els felbl
Edited by Ferenc Brodszky, published in 1960.

Some pieces would be reproduced in their entirety as part of an appendix of music in


the style hongrois, with excerpts reproduced within a chapter of analysis. The use of
these scores in the treatise will be strictly academic and no profit will be generated by
their use. I would greatly appreciate your permission to include them in my work.

Thanks,
Andrew Stroud

_______________________________________________________________________
Ezt az e-mailt virus- es SPAM-szuresnek vetettuk ala a filter:mail MessageLabs rendszerrel. Tovabbi
informacio: http://www.filtermax.hu

74
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78
BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH
Andrew Stroud began studying the classical guitar with his father while living in Corsham,
England. By the time he left the U.K. for the United States at the age of 10, Stroud had already
given his first public recitals (in Corsham and Swindon).

His teachers have included composer Thomas Coffey, renowned performer Stephen Robinson,
French virtuoso Judicael Perroy, and Bruce Holzman. He holds a Bachelor of Music degree
from Stetson University and a Master of Music degree from Florida State University. Stroud
was awarded three consecutive graduate teaching assistantships, and is currently a Doctoral
candidate in Guitar Performance. He has performed in the master classes of Oscar Ghiglia, the
Assad Duo, Paul Galbraith, Roland Dyens, Eduardo Fernandez, Paco Pena, Lorenzo Micheli,
Matteo Mela, the Los Angeles Guitar Quartet and many other world renowned musicians.

Andrew has won accolades at many international competitions including the Columbus State
Guitar Symposium, Guitare Lachine Competition, Rosario Competition, Schadt String
Competition, the Dr. Luis Sigall Competition, Guitar Foundation of America Competition, and
the Christopher Parkening International Competition.

As a soloist, Andrew has enjoyed performing in a wide array of venues. Among them are the
Festival Mediterreano della Chitarra in Italy, featured solo performances in West Palm Beachs
Gala Concert and a performance at the Veteran World Fencing Championships Gala. As a
Chamber Musician, he has performed in diverse roles ranging from orchestral music to opera.
He has been featured on local and national broadcasts on television and NPR. In 2009, Andrew
made his South American debut, giving master classes and concerts in Chile. He was recently
invited as featured soloist for Canciones, a series of concerts celebrating Floridas Spanish
heritage, performing in the historic Cathedral Basilica in St. Augustine, amongst other venues.

In 2007, Andrew and fellow guitarist Adam Larison formed Duo 220. The duo has performed in
venues across the U.S. and U.K. They have been coached by Bruce Holzman and Sergio Assad,
Grammy award winning composer and member of the iconic Assad duo. Duo 220 is committed

79
to creating innovative programs, performing works ranging from Baroque to contemporary,
highlighting music that falls outside of the mainstream repertoire.

Among his other endeavors have been lectures, master-classes and teaching. Stroud has been a
faculty member of Stetson Universitys Community School for the Arts, Tallahassee Community
College, Chipola College, and as a guest of schools throughout Florida. He has published and
recorded for the Hands on Teaching method, and has authored articles published in Soundboard
magazine. He currently serves on faculty of Thomas University, Gulf Coast State College, and
Wallace Community College. He also serves as a director for the Seven Hills Guitar Series.

80