This course will examine the explosive trends toward personal expression and nationalism at the end of the Romantic Era, with special emphasis on the early modern masters who stamped the 20th century with its signature elements. Folk music and nationalist aspirations will be examined in Bela Bartok, Zoltan Kodaly, Leos Janacek, and Bohuslav Martinu.

Syllabus - Early Modern Masters

Week 1: The String Quartet
Bartok: The 6 quartets (1909, 1917, 1927, 1928, 1934, 1939)

Janacek: Kreutzer Sonata (1923), Intimate Letters (1928)

Week 2: Stage Music I
Janacek: Jenufa (1923)

Bartok: Bluebeard’s Castle (1911), The Wooden Prince (1917), The Miraculous Mandarin (1919, orchestrated 1924)

Week 3: Misc. Orchestral Music

Janacek: Sinfonietta (1926)

Bartok: Music for Strings, Percussion & Celesta (1936), Concerto for Orchestra (1943)

Kodaly: Concerto for Orchestra (1942)

Week 4: The Concerto
Bartok: The 3 piano concertos (1926, 1931, 1945), Violin Concerto (1938)

Martinu: A brief overview of his many concertos

Week 5: Choral Music

Janacek: Glagolitic Mass (1926)

Kodaly: Psalmus Hungaricus (1926)

Bartok: Cantata Profana (1930)

Martinu: Opening of the Wells (1955)

Week 6: The Symphony

Kodaly: C Major (1961)

Martinu: The 6 symphonies (1942, 1943, 1944, 1945, 1946, 1951)

Week 7: Piano Music
Works subject to change

Janacek: Overgrown Path (1901), Sonata (1905)

Kodaly: 9 Pieces Op. 3 (1910)

Martinu: Brief selections from Dance Sketches (1933), Etudes and Polkas (1946)

Bartok: 7 Sketches (1911). Etudes (1918), Sonata (1926), Out of Doors (1927), Mikrokosmos (completed 1939)

N.B. Bartok is the main composer for this session.

Week 8: Stage Music II
Martinu: Juliette (1938)

Janacek: Kata Kabanova (1921), The Cunning Little Vixen (1923), From the House of the Dead (1928)

Recommended Books

Bela Bartok (20th Century Composers)
by Kenneth Chalmers

Expressionism in Twentieth-Century Music
by John C Crawford

Béla Bartók and Turn-of-the-Century Budapest
by Judit Frigyesi, Judith Frigyesi

The New Grove Modern Masters (The New Grove Series)
by Vera Lampert

Inside Bluebeard’s Castle: Music and Drama in Bela Bartok’s Opera
by Carl S. Leafstedt

BOHUSLAV MARTINU; THE MAN AND HIS MUSIC
by SAFRANEK MILOS

Bartok and His World
Princeton University Press

The New Grove Turn of the Century Masters: Janacek, Mahler, Strauss, Sibelius (Composer Biography Series)
by Stanley Sadie, John Tyrrell

The Life and Music of Bela Bartok
by Halsey Stevens

Exploring Twentieth-Century Music: Tradition and Innovation
by Arnold Whittall

Janácek: Glagolitic Mass (Cambridge Music Handbooks)
by Paul Wingfield

Janacek: A Composer’s Life
by Mirka Zemanova

Janacek’s Uncollected Essays on Music

by Leos Janacek

Books: Bartok, Janacek, Kodaly, Martinu

These books are optional for further study in the Early Modern Masters.

  • Recordings: Bartok, Janacek, Kodaly, Martinu

For space reasons, this page contains a sample of recordings for most works to be discussed in the class. Many other performances are available on Amazon. To find them, follow the link to the piece you like, and search for the title on Amazon.com.

Note: Items are listed in approximately the order in which they will be discussed.

  • Kodály: Complete Piano Music

    Hungaroton

    Includes the 9 Pieces