Introduction



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17

Regélő, 27 January l839.

18

Julius Fr. von Soden, Ignez de Castro. Ein Trauerspiel, in fünf Aufzügen. Augsburg 1789. = Deutsche Schaubühne, 5. (with two other dramas.)



19 Deutsche Theater in Pest und Ofen 1770–1850, Vol. I, p. 453, No. 2924.

20 Ferenc Kerényi, “Az erdélyi magyar hivatásos színészet kezdetei (1792–1797)” [The Beginnings of Professional Hungarian Acting in Transylvania 1792–1797], in Magyar színháztörténet 1790–1873., p. 91.

21 The first edition is cited in Amadé Németh, A magyar opera története a kezdetektől az Operaház megnyitásáig [The History of Hungarian Opera from the Beginnings to the Opening of the Opera House], (Budapest: Zeneműkiadó, 1987), p. 58.

22 Ferenc Kerényi, “Magyar színészet Pest-Budán (1790–1797)” [Hungarian Acting in Pest-Buda (1790–1797)], in Magyar Színháztörténet 1790–1873, p. 76.

23 Dugonics used a source in which Álmos appeared as the son of Lampert, the younger brother of Ladislaus. Consequently, Álmos’s claim to the throne is branded unlawful from the beginning. However, the sources calling Álmos the brother of Kálmán are greater in number. See Ferenc Makk, A tizenkettedik század története [The History of the Twelfth Century] (Budapest: Pannonica, 2000), p. 9. = Magyar Századok.

24 The historical Álmos later applied for help abroad on several occasions, stirred up an uprising and attempted to make his own son Béla the heir to the throne instead of the childless István. In the end king Kálmán had both of them blinded. Nevertheless, Béla succeeded István on the throne and is recorded in Hungarian history as Béla the Blind. – The Byzantine sub-plot is included in Dugonics’s play, but not in the opera confronted with the expansionist policy of Kálmán on the Balkans, the Emperor of Byzantium Ioannes hoped to take the winds out of the Hungarian king’s sails through marriage and married Kálmán’s sister Piroska who assumed the name Eirene in the Orthodox Church. In the drama she sends Kálmán the second letter which, together with the one from Sicily, finally clears up the intrigue. See Ferenc Makk, op. cit., pp. 32–33.

25 It is an unfounded assertion that the enemy in Bátori Mária is represented by Romanians (Ferenc Kerényi, “A Nemzeti Színház a polgári forradalom előestéjén” [The National Theatre on the Eve of the Bourgeois Revolution], Magyar színháztörténet 1790–1873., 320), even if István happens to arrive to Buda from Dalmatia via Transylvania, more precisely Marosvásárhely.

26 Szepelik, Árvai: “Here comes the usurper with his rampant troops. / Does he not bring with him women of pleasure, / to bury our country’s worries in their luscious groins.” (No. 2 Marcia ongarese trionfale)

27 Cited by Ferenc Makk, op. cit, p. 51.

28 According to recent research this name came into being through misreading. See Ferenc Makk, op. cit, p. 16.

29 The artistic and practical problems of integrating an original locally composed opera into the international repertory are referred to by a review on the première: „Diese ausserordentliche Theilnahme kann dem wakern Kompositeur zu um so grösserem Ruhme gereichen, da man weiss, wie schwierig es ist, mit einer Originaloper, die nicht aus Paris oder Italien kommt, zu reussieren.” (“This extraordinary interest can do all the greater credit to the brave composer as we know how difficult it is to succeed with a genuine opera that does not come from Paris or Italy”.) Der Spiegel, 3 February 1841.

30 Athenaeum, 3 February 1841.

31 Pesther Tageblatt, 12 August 1840.

32 The audience of Bánk bán evidently did not need any particular help when it recognised the opening motif of the Hungarian march from Bátori Mária (No. 2) in one of Petur’s recitatives. They appear there “on the right (national) side” in a dramatic conflict in which oppositions are far more elaborate musically.

33 Athenaeum, 4 January 1842.

34 Honművész, 13 August 1840.

35 See Imre Vahot, “Még egy szózat a magyar színházról” [One More Word on the Hungarian Theatre], Regélő Pesti Divatlap, 28 April 1842; and Vahot Imre válogatott színházi írásai (1840–1848). [Selected Essays on Theatre by Imre Vahot], (Budapest: Magyar Színházi Intézet, 1981), pp. 9–62., esp. pp. 29–31. = Színháztörténeti Könyvtár, 12. (Fascimile of the 1840 edition.) as well as Egressy Gábor válogatott cikkei (1838–1848) [Selected Articles by Gábor Egressy], (Budapest: Magyar Színházi Intézet, 1980), pp. 22–26., esp. p. 25. = Színháztörténeti Könyvtár, 11.

36 “There is no Hungarian musical style yet, or it is just on the point of being created by the good Erkel. ... Once this musical style will be created and will be taken on by other artists, it will lend itself to the writing of all kinds of works just as in the French, Italian and German idioms now.” (Andor Vas [Ferenc Hazucha], “Hangászati levelek” [Musical letters], Életképek, 1844, I/7); “the Hungarian music is practically called to form one of the independent, separate and original branches of the trunk of musical arts...” (Mihály Mosonyi, “A magyar zene” [Hungarian music], Zenészeti Lapok, 3 October 1860); “...Providence points to us, so to say, with its finger that through the artistic evolution of Hungarian music we should establish the fourth world-famous musical manner: the Hungarian idiom (beside the German, Italian and French musical trends and schools).” (Mihály Mosonyi, Zenészeti Lapok I, 17 July 1861, p. 330) – When Erkel wrote commentaries to the numbers of Bánk bán he ranked the Hungarian style with the rest of the national styles in the same sense. See Ferenc Bónis, “Erkel Ferenc a Bánk bánról” [Ferenc Erkel on Bánk bán], Magyar Zenetörténeti Tanulmányok. Írások Erkel Ferencről és a magyar zene korábbi századairól. Ed. Ferenc Bónis, (Budapest: Zeneműkiadó, 1968), pp. 63–73.

37 Pesther Tageblatt, 12 August 1840; Honművész, 13 August 1840. István Barna published both critiques almost in full in the original language and in Hungarian translation as well in his study “Erkel Ferenc első operái az egykorú sajtó tükrében” [Ferenc Erkel’s First Operas in the Light of Contemporary Press Reports], Zenetudományi Tanulmányok II Erkel Ferenc és Bartók Béla emlékére, (Budapest: Akadémiai, 1954), pp. 175–218, esp. p. 176 and pp. 183–186, respectively).

38 „Die Musik hat durch und durch einen national-charakteristischen Anstrich, viele Schönheiten, worunter besonders die Chöre, das Quartett in der Introduction, das erste Finale &c. &c. zu rechnen sind...” (Der Spiegel, 12 August 1840)

39 „Die Ankunft des Herzogs kündigt sich in einem Marsch an, der, von der Banda allein ausgeführt, nicht den Effekt machte, den er hervorgebracht haben würde, wenn das volle Orchester mitgewirkt hätte. – Eine Banda allein gefällt nicht in einem geschlossenem Raum, und ist, wie überhaupt alle Harmoniemusik, mehr für das Freie angewiesen. – Das darauffolgende Duett ist einfach und wirksam.” Pesther Tageblatt, 12 August 1840.

40 In his pioneering study “Az Erkel-kéziratok problémái” [Problems of Erkel’s Manuscripts] László Somfai claims that the German critique refers to the fanfare after the Romanza and not to the Coro. It is improbable, however, that the critic would have left the Coro (No. 5) completely unmentioned while he described a musically insignificant moment of thirteen bars which had already been heard in the opera once, before the Marcia; it is also improbable that the critic would have referred to the short fanfare as “march”. (Zenetudományi Tanulmányok IX. Az opera történetéből, (Budapest: Akadémiai, 1961), pp. 81–158, esp. pp. 104–106.)

41 Honművész, 4 February, 1841.

42 “Dem. Felber, die junge, anmuthige Sängerin, die die Titelparthie in sehr kurzer Zeit studierte, sang mit allem Aufwande ihrer schönen Stimme, und war besonders in den höhern Tonlagen ausgezeichnet.” Der Spiegel, 12 August, 1840. (See also note 38.)

43 See Nemzeti Színházi Zsebkönyv 1842dik évre [Pocketbook of the National Theatre for the year 1842]. Pest, 1842, p. 15.

44 Ibidem, p. 31.

45 Honderű, 23 September, 1843.

46 The flute part of the cadenza survives on a small-sized page of music (probably in Erkel’s handwriting) attached to the part-book of the flute. The entry “Hollósy-Cadenz” in several places of the orchestral indicates that Erkel composed the cadenza for the popular soprano.

47 „Miss Luiza Liebhart will also sing a new aria in the second act written explicitly for her by the composer” – says the playbill of the four performances to be staged “with a new cast and production”. The newspaper Pesti Napló also reports on the new aria: “Miss Luiza Liebhardt distinguished herself in Mária’s role through her singing and acting alike, the highlight of her role was, however, the Hungarian song written by Mr Erkel explicitly for the actress which was received with genuinely enthusiastic thunderous applause by the audience and was repeated by the actress” (26 June, 1852); “She was particularly excellent in the artful aria composed for her which she sang with surprising ease and precision.” (13 July, 1852).

48 The so far unknown and unpublished words of the aria run as follows; “Look upon me oh, merciful heavens / and give me strength in my struggle. / Should I have to perish, Lord God / Be it at your will. / Let your guardian angels protect / My poor innocent children / In this storm / Let him be protected by angels”.

49 Koszorú, first half of 1864, p. 239; Magyar Sajtó, 22 December, 1864, p. 1368.; Magyar Sajtó, 28 March, 1865, p. 302.

50 Hölgyfutár, 3 February, 1858.

51 “Erkel’s ‘Bátori Mária’ is being diligently rehearsed at the National Theatre so that it could go on stage as soon as possible. The eminent composer has carried out a few advantageous changes on his earlier opera, as one hears. In particular, the role of Mme. Hollósy-Lonovics is said to be extremely beautiful and very effective.” Hölgyfutár, 28 January, 1858.

52 “[The audience] warmly acclaimed its favourite actress Mme. Hollósy-Lonovics in the aria of the first act and in the duet sung jointly with Jekelfalussy which, with the brilliant quartet of the first act, can be claimed to be the highlight of the opera.” (Magyar Sajtó, 4 February, 1858) “The duet of the first act (between Mme Hollósy and Jekelfalusy) is one of the most difficult pieces to sing.” (Pesti Napló, 4 February, 1858.) “The audience is moved not only by the larger orchestral and singing ensembles and marches but also by the lyrical sections, for example, the nicely conceived duet between Mária Bátori (Mme. Hollósy) and István (Jekelfalussi).” (Hölgyfutár, 10 March, 1858)

53 Five larger cuts can be reconstructed from the sources. The Con moto section (81–140) was cut very early and was not copied into the common part-book of the cello and double bass made before 1842. (Anton Weindl, cellist of the orchestra, who had it copied, died in 1841.) The passage in question was, however, restored later which is confirmed by the entries “gilt” [valid] of the part-books as well as the entries “Einlage Con Moto” in the later part-books which evidently refer to inserted pages by now lost. In one of the booklets of the second violin (Vl II/1) a note in pencil reading “Harfe” can be found; the pocketbooks of the theatre list a harpist from 1848 on, although she was already engaged at the theatre in 1846 (see Tibor Tallián, “Átváltozások, avagy a Nemzeti Színház operai kottatárának néhány tanulsága” [Metamorphoses or Some Lessons of the Operatic Collection of the National Theatre], Zenetudományi dolgozatok 1999, Budapest: Institute for Musicology of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, 1999, pp. 281–286). The section concerned was definitely performed between 1846 and 1852. The cuts affect ever longer sections: the section from 41 to 80 also fell victim to it, the Con moto was cut again and finally Alla polacca as well (142–204).

54 See Dezső Legány, Erkel Ferenc művei és korabeli történetük [The Works of Ferenc Erkel and their Contemporary History]. (Budapest: Zeneműkiadó, 1975), pp. 29–31.

55 The orchestral parts, the only sources of the dances, do not indicate the name of the composer anywhere. As for the style of the compositions, one cannot be sure whether Erkel can be taken into consideration as the author of every or even one of the dances. Apart from him the names of Ferenc Kirchlehner and József Szerdahelyi emerge as possible contributors: they both performed occasional tasks of composition and instrumentation for the theatre.

56 The entries heading the slow sections (“3mal”, “4mal” [three times, four times] etc.) support the concerns that with their use on stage, the middle section of Hungarian dances is consistently missing and the Lassú [slow] is followed by Friss [fast] without transition. This concern, often heard at the time, was worded by Gergely Czuczor, as follows: “the accompanying music repeats the same verse ten or twelve times, the dance also continues steadily in the same metre. This is the fault of certain recent composers and this habit is adopted by our gypsies as well, although they had never played lassú without czifra [ornamented] afterwards and they alternated these two. Now they play lassú to the point of yawning, then they start playing the fastest sections immediately, and so the dance consists of only two, and not three parts, contrary to the old custom and the proverb [three is the number of dances which is true only if the beginning is slow, the middle ornamented, and the end fast ... Athenaeum, 1843. I, p. 114. See also Bence Szabolcsi, A XIX. század magyar romantikus zenéje [The Hungarian Romantic Music of the 19th Century], (Budapest: Zeneműkiadó, 1951), pp. 74–75.

57 The three partial performances are as follows: on 22 June, 1843 the second act was given (following an extract from Meyerbeer’s Robert le diable), on 22 August the same year a part of the second act was performed in the framework of an operatic medley. On 15 August, 1850 the overture and the “Introduction” were played (see note 59). The data are based on information gathered from contemporary play-bills in the Collection for Theatre History of the National Széchényi Library.

58 István Lakatos, A kolozsvári zenés színpad (1792–1973). Adatok az erdélyi magyar nyelvű színház történetéhez.[The Musical Stage at Kolozsvár (1792–1973). Data on the History of the Hungarian Theatre in Transylvania]. (Bukarest: Kriterion, 1977), p. 46 and 115.

59 Various sources reveal unambiguously that “Introduction” refers to the first three items of the opera. The play-bill of the “Musical and Reciting Academy ” held on 15 August, 1850 – in the first part of which the “overture and the introduction” were produced in costume – mentions the personae appearing in the first three numbers but does not list Mária in the enumeration of actors. Der Spiegel uses the word unambiguously in the above cited critique of 12 August, 1840 (“das Quartett in der Introduction”). It is not impossible that the “Introduction” was played on occasions when “excerpts” from the first act were performed at orchestral concerts on 1 November, 1840; 6 November, 1842; 22 March, 1846; 25 December, 1847 in Pest. See Kálmán D’Isoz (A pest-budai hangászegyesület és nyilvános hangversenyei 1836–1853 [The Music Society of Pest-Buda and its Public Concerts 1836–1853]). Tanulmányok Budapest múltjából III. Offprint. (Budapest: 1934). Kálmán D’Isoz erroneously interpreted the “Introduction” as the overture. – The overture was often performed with the Quartetto; e.g. at the “Academy of Singing, Music and Recitation” at the National Theatre on 16 March, 1856 and, remarkably, at Erkel’s last public appearance, the Philharmonic Concert organised for his eightieth birthday; although on this occasion the two numbers did not succeed each other.

60 The first performance of the overture at the beginning of the opera is solely mentioned in Pesti Hírlap of 13 November, 1841: “The recently composed overture, the sound of choruses and soloists were the best.” (at a performance for Erkel’s benefit). The date 11 November spread widely in the literature is erroneous. No performance of Bátori Mária was given that day; the Tuesday mentioned in the report fell on 9 November.

61 Entries in the orchestral parts of the overture bear witness to following performances: Den 28. März 1844 im Deutschen Theater, Saphiers Akademie für die ungar: Pensionsfond für Künstler (trb I); Pesth, den 1. Jan. 1856 and Arad, 22 Március [March] 1856 (both tr I); Kazinczi százados ünnepe elő estéjén csináltuk 1859 october 27 [we made it on the eve of captain Kazinczi’s feast, on 27 October 1859] (co I); 22 Dezemb. 1859 Pesth, zur Pensionsfond des Nat. Theaters (co II); Pest am 22. Dezember 1863 (tr I, II); la prima volta al 22/7 1870 (trb II); 1883 (cl II); Aufgeführt zum 80. Geburtstagsfeier des Komponisten am 7. Nov. 1890 (trb I); Montag Ludwig 17. 11. 1892 (vl I, 2nd stand); Festvorstellung Szegedin am 20 November 1892 (fg I); Montag Lajos 933 Budapest and Péter Ackermann, on 13 November 1933 im Radio (both double bass); Raj István 1935. VI. 27 (tr I). See also Pesti Divatlap (Pest Fashion Magazine) 21 November, 1844 and further reviews on performances by Dezső Legány (Nagyszombat, 1844, in Erkel Ferenc művei és korabeli történetük, 31 [The Works of Ferenc Erkel and Their Backgrounds, 31]) and Kálmán D’Isoz (March 27, 1899, Budapest, in A Filharmóniai Társaság múltja és jelene, 1853-1903 [The Past and Present of the Philharmonic Society, 1853-1903, ed. Imre Mészáros and Kálmán D’Isoz]

62 The conductor of the Philharmonic Orchestra of Brussels asked the director of Harmónia music publisher of Budapest for Hungarian orchestral works; this is how he must have got into possession of the Bátori-overture. Egyetértés, 3 January, 1882. See Dezső Legány, Erkel Ferenc művei és korabeli történetük [The Works of Ferenc Erkel and their Contemporary History], p. 31.

63 The performance of the overture that day is confirmed by the entry mentioned in the previous note as well as by the actual playbill of Kemény Simon; the data on singing Himnusz emerges from the 3 January 1856 issue of Pesti Napló.

64 After Vörösmarty’s death “the performance of his works becomes a patriotic demonstration when the ladies appear in mourning veils and the actors, used to the chatting tone of social plays, strenuously recite the sonorous verses of Áldozat [Sacrifice] on the stage. Afterwards they produce Áldozat [Sacrifice] annually, first on the anniversary of Vörösmarty’s death, later, on the day of his funeral, and reel it off dutifully.” See Jolán Pukánszky Kádár A Nemzeti Színház százéves története [The One-Hundred-Year History of the National Theatre]. Vol. I. (Budapest: Magyar Történelmi Társulat, 1940), p. 264. The performance of the overture introducing Áldozat on 27 October, 1859 is also mentioned in one of the entries found in the part-books (see note 61) and in the theatre’s Pocketbook of 1860. This performance happened to be the centenary celebration of the birth of Ferenc Kazinczy.

65 Above all in bars 21 (tb), 25–26 (cl), as well as in bars 47 and 49, respectively bars 312 and 314 (picc and fl), bar 80 (vc and cb), as well as bars 97–99 and 201 (co I–II). See the critical notes.

66 An additional score of the overture copied in Nyitra (now Nitra, Slovakia) 1904 and housed at the Music Collection of the Hungarian Radio goes back to the early version. This source is distorted by re-orchestrations resulting from drawing certain wind parts together only one trombone and one bassoon instead of three, resp. two are used so that the part of the first bassoon is generally taken over by the second clarinet or by the first horn (modified accordingly) and the part of the missing trombones is often played by two horns while the only available trombone part is usually identical with the tuba part approved by Erkel. The interventions were probably necessitated by the lack of resources for performances in the country. László Somfai (“Az Erkel-kéziratok problémái” [Problems of Erkel’s Manuscripts], 105, see note 40) mentions the source en passant and attributes the re-orchestration to the change in taste. As press reports testify to a performance in Nagyszombat (now Trnava, Slovakia) in 1844 (see note 61), geographical proximity makes it easily conceivable that the source of this late copy of the score was used for a production in Nagyszombat, i. e. the early version of the overture. – However, the late variant signed by Erkel also shows signs which refer back to the earlier version relying on a reduced number of winds. In this source (RP) the second clarinet part of the slow introduction is Erkel’s later insertion in certain places and these insertions are missing from the score of Nyitra. As a result, it cannot be ruled out that the reduced instrumentation of the copy of Nyitra is not the result of intervention by a foreign hand after all, however inevitable it must have been, but goes back to a source which had been copied out before the above mentioned autograph insertions of RP. In other words when Erkel modified his work in 1845, the earlier version had already gained wide currency in provincial towns, due to the exceptional popularity of the overture.

67 Dezső Legány, Erkel Ferenc művei és korabeli történetük [Ferenc Erkel’s Works and Their Contemporary History], p. 31. and pp. 40–41.

68 For example to the second stanza of Mária’s Romanza (No. 4) (“Már nincs a hon felett ború...” [The country is no longer in danger]) an alternative text is added: “My bosom is seized by flaming despair / torment ravages within, / Ill thoughs are haunting me / Like skeletons arising from graves. / The brave swordsman / is fighting a hundredfold of deaths, / He is prepared to fight / when the nation is in need / Guide him to my arms oh, Lord / Guide him to my arms. / Let him behold his children and wife, / Who is in anguish for him. (7r)





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