Zoltán Kodály (1882–1967) stands as one of Hungary's most revered and influential composers, ethnomusicologists, and music educators of the 20th century. Born on December 16, 1882, in Kecskemét, Hungary, Kodály's life and work were deeply intertwined with his passion for Hungarian folk music and his dedication to music education. Kodály's early exposure to music came from his family, particularly his mother, who played the piano and sang. He began his formal music education at the Budapest Academy of Music in 1900, studying composition with Hans Koessler. Kodály's interest in ethnomusicology was sparked during his travels through rural Hungary, where he collected and transcribed folk songs. This experience laid the foundation for his lifelong commitment to integrating folk music into classical compositions.
Zoltán Kodály - Psalmus Hungaricus Op. 13 Psalmus Hungaricus, Op. 13, is a choral work for tenor, chorus and orchestra by Zoltán Kodály, composed in 1923. The Psalmus was commissioned to celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of the unification of Buda, Pest and Óbuda for a gala performance on 19 November 1923 along with the Dance Suite by Béla Bartók, and the Festival Overture by Ernő Dohnányi, who conducted the concert. The work's first performance outside Hungary took place under Volkmar Andreae in Zürich on 18 June 1926. This marked a turning point in the international recognition of Kodály as a composer, beyond his renown as an ethnomusicologist and music educator. The text is based on the gloss of Psalm 55, "Give ear to my prayer, oh God", by 16th-century poet, preacher, and translator Mihály Vég [hu]. Uncommonly, Kodály chose a sacred text to mark a secular occasion; the libretto's passages of despair and call to God provide opportunities for the composer to address Hungary's tragic past and disastrous post-Trianon Treaty predicament, when it lost over 70% of its national territory. The music reflects the nation's crisis during and after World War I (the partition of the historical Hungary), and the text draws a parallel between the sorrows of King David and the suffering of the Magyars in Ottoman Hungary. Thus, the Psalmus Hungaricus encompasses two and a half millennia of political distress. For more: http://www.melhoresmusicasclassicas.blogspot.com