Composer Zoltán Kodály was one of the world’s first ethnomusicologists. In 1905, he trekked across Hungary to secluded villages to collect folk songs sung by the villagers who lived there. He recorded them on an Edison phonograph, and as a result, preserved an entire culture. He then became fast friends with fellow composer Béla Bartók and shared his methods of song collection with him. The two set out on more musical road trips together, and were lifelong champions of each other’s music.
The influence of Hungarian folk song also made its way into Kodály’s own music. In his Serenade for two violins and viola, he included folk-like melodies underscored by “modern” harmonies. Hear Kodály’s Serenade along with works by Ravel and Beethoven performed by the Orchestra Iowa Chamber Players in this week’s Symphonies of Iowa broadcast. Tune in on Monday, November 6th at 7 p.m. to hear Orchestra Iowa’s “Spring Serenade” concert!