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Classical Composers A-Z: Zoltan Kodaly

Peter Wintersgill presents a portrait of Zoltan Kodaly, who worked with Bella Bartok for ten years, collecting Hungariaan folk songs which had a great influence on his own compositions.

Born
16th December, 1882, in Kecskemet, Hungary

Father
Railway employee, amateur violinist

Mother
Amateur pianist

Childhood
Brought up in the country, surrounded by folk music.

Adolescence
He went to Budapest Academy of Music at 18 to study with Koessler.

Adult Life
Worked with Bartok for ten years, collecting Hungarian folk songs, which had a great influence on his music.

Among his early works were the symphonic poem Summer Evening (1906), Cello Sonata (1915), as well as other chamber works and songs.

After the choral Psalmus Hungaricus (1923) his fame spread through Europe and North America.

Next came his first opera Harry Janos (1926), a suite from which is a popular orchestral piece. Various dances from different parts of Hungary include the Dances of Galanta (1933), the Peacock Variations (1934) and the Concerto for Orchestra (1940).

Among his other choral works were the Te Deum (1936) and the Missa Brevis (1944), much of which was for children.

He died on the 6th of March, 1967, in Budapest, aged 84.

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