About this Recording
8.550954 - HUNGARY Csardas: Hungarian Gypsy Music

Ferenc Santa's Gypsy Band
Popular Hungarian gypsy music owes much of its form to earlier aristocratic encouragement. In particular the csárdás, which makes use of folk elements, provided entertainment for the nobility, among whom it was supposed that the csádás, which derives its name from the word csádás, a country inn, was danced on Sunday afternoons at such inns by the peasantry. The dance was introduced to polite society in the late 1830s, notably, it is said, by Count Béla Wenckheim, who coined the name. The csádás is similar in form to the verbunkos or recruiting-dance, with its slow opening section and rapid second section, and has come to epitomize Hungarian gypsy music.

It was Liszt who, in the heyday of musical nationalism, seized on the csádás as a source for his Hungarian Rhapsodies, wrongly supposing this to be an example of real Hungarian folk-music, rather than the hybrid form that it was. It was left to Bartók and Kodály in a later generation to collect and classify the true folk-music of Hungary and neighbouring regions, distinguishing this from the form of popular music provided by the gypsy bands.

The bands themselves have a long history, whether providing music for the Esterházy family at their great palace of Esterháza in the time of Haydn or for later generations in less distinguished surroundings. Basic instrumentation continues very largely the traditions of the eighteenth century, with a solo violin carrying the improvisatory melodic burden, accompanied by a second violin or viola, double bass and cimbalom, with the additional use of the tárogató, an instrument similar in timbre to the clarinet, which sometimes replaces it. The tárogató has a long association with Hungarian nationalism and was at one time banned by the Austrian authorities for that very reason.

The music of Ferenc santa and his gypsy band includes examples of the csádás with the famous use of the form by the Italian violinist Vittorio Monti (1868 -1922), who made his later career in Paris. Also included is Skylark by the Romanian violinist and Carl Flesch pupil Grigoraş Dinicu (1889 -1949), who arranged a number of popular Romanian melodies and is well remembered for his famous Hora Staccato, using the traditional dance-form, also coupled here with a traditional doïna, a popular improvisatory form. In addition to the prominent solo violin, the gypsy band also provides variety in solos for the cimbalom, with reminiscences of material used by Kodály in his Háry János, and for the characteristic tárogató.

Ferenc Sánta
Ferenc Sánta was born in Kaposvár in 1945. He was trained at the Music 1968, and thereafter played in different symphony orchestras. He established his own gypsy orchestra in 1973. From 1974 his orchestra has performed in several countries and is a virtuoso gypsy violin player. He has made several recordings.

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