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Peacock Variations (arr Morita)

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Zoltán Kodály

Zoltán Kodály (arr. Kazuhiro Morita)

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General Info

Year: 1939 /
Duration: c. 26:30
Difficulty: VI (see Ratings for explanation)
Publisher: Boosey & Hawkes
Cost: Score and Parts - Rental


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None discovered thus far.

Program Notes

The Hungarian composer Zoltán Kodály (1882-1967) based almost all his works on traditional Hungarian folk music, as did his contemporary and compatriot Béla Bartók. His Peacock Variations (1939) are based on the melody of one of the oldest Hungarian traditional songs Felszállott a Páva, which means peacock in Hungarian, and consists of numerous variations on the main theme.

-Program Note from publisher

In 1938 the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra in Amsterdam, Netherlands, commissioned Kodály to compose a work for its 50th anniversary. The result would become one of Kodály's most well-known orchestral works: Variations on a Hungarian Folk Song, popularly referred to as the Peacock Variations. It was premiered on November 23rd, 1939, with William Mengelberg conducting.

Kodály, much like fellow Hungarian Bartók, incorporated folk melodies in hopes of the promotion and preservation of his beloved culture. The thematic inspiration of the work is the Hungarian folk song Fly, Peacock, Fly. “Variations,” Kodály once stated, “are the most natural development of folk music.” Thus the famous indigenous melody is developed throughout the work in a variety of orchestrations and tempi. However, by virtue of the folk melody’s mutability, these changes occur naturally over time and at times without the notice of the listener. Within a largely pentatonic context, small chromaticisms dot the variations. These are calculated inclusions rather than random ornamentation, representing common performance practices of the original vocal source material. The text of the original folk song refers to the peacock as a metaphor for freedom from tyranny; the text calls forth for the Hungarian soul to be freed from servitude. The Finale of the work includes a triumphant rendition of the folk song in the midst of two heavily syncopated treatments of the famous melody. While the work is rooted in strong tradition, it is uniquely bohemian, rhythmically and harmonically.

This wind ensemble setting of the work has been carefully transcribed at the adept hands of Japanese composer/arranger Kazuhiro Monta.

- Program Notes by Joseph Sheehan for the Marcus High School Wind Symphony


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State Ratings

None discovered thus far.


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