Schola Cantorum Budapestiensis, Tamás Bubnó, János Mezei, György Philipp Zsolt Serei, Péter Zombola: Hungarian Contemporary Vespers
Singing together the Evening Offie – the Vespers – was a part of the celebration of the feastdays for the priests and for their congregations ever since the early centuries of Christianity. The heyday of this compositional practice came with the “concert-Vespers” of Viennese classicism (for example the Vespers of W. A. Mozart). Later this practice was abandoned, yet the possibility of enriching the recitative style of the ancient Gregorian chants with movements composed in the musical language of the present still exists. Two Hungarian composers representing two modern generations, Zsolt Serei and Péter Zombola, reached back to this tradition and composed two Vespers cycles.
Schola Cantorum Budapestiensis
Artistic directors: Tamás Bubnó and János Mezei
Conducted by: Tamás Bubnó, János Mezei, György Philipp
Soloists: György Philipp, Márk Bubnó, Tamás Bubnó
Levente Horváth Márton - organ
About the album
Recorded by Zoltán Osváth at the German Speaking Reformed Parish Church, Hold utca, Budapest on 8-11 January, 2007
Mixed and mastered by Zoltán Osváth
Music publisher: Hungarian Church Music Society
Artwork: László Huszár / Greenroom
Producer: László Gőz
Label manager: Tamás Bognár
Supported by the National Cultural Fund of Hungary and the Central Bank of Hungary
Philip Reed - Choir & Organ **** (en)
Attilio Piovano - Il Corriere Musicale (it)
Lukasz Kaczmarek - Muzyka21 **** (pl)
Robert Kolář - Hudobny Zivot (sk)
Fittler Katalin - Gramofon **** (hu)
Sinkovics Ferenc - Magyar Hírlap (hu)
Lehotka Ildikó - Papiruszportal.hu (hu)
Czékus Mihály - HFP online (hu)
Sipos Róbert - Kultifilter (hu)
Zsolt Serei: Sunday Vespers
Péter Zombola: Vesperae per annum
The album is available in digital form at our retail partners
As well as being released by BMC, these two cycles were published in sheet music form by the Magyar Egyházzenei Társaság (Hungarian Church Music Society) in the Church Music Booklets series (III/31, available at egyhazzene.hu).
I have known Tamás Bubnó and János Mezei, the leaders of the Schola Cantorum Budapestiensis, since I was a youngster. I knew about the founding of their special school, and I knew how strongly they were attached to the singing of the mass and the offices. So I was prepared to meet their request to compose choral pieces for the per annum Vespers. It was an interesting task to compose pieces of different lengths and characters and adjust them to the dominant musical environment of Gregorian chant. Becoming familiar with this incredibly rich and nuanced musical culture gave me the impulse to compose melodies in the Gregorian style. On the other hand this task was similar to any other compositional task: I had to use the possibilities given by a text and a structure, and to shape them, to incorporate them into a unique sonic reality. The question still remains, whether the essential musical message of these works can be perceived by those who live with this music as performers or listeners.
I first came into contact with the Schola Cantorum Budapestiensis and its leaders, Tamás Bubnó and János Mezei when I started my studies at the Liszt Academy of Music. I attended their services at church and the concerts they organized, and it was not long before I had the idea of composing choral pieces for liturgical use. The choir movement initiated by Kodály and Bárdos promoted a certain kind of musical language, and did not rouse my interest. But the sound of Gregorian chant attracted me to vocal genres, and still retains my fascination. At the beginning I made a few random trials, but after a while I decided to compose a larger, more complex work. This is how the idea of composing a whole Vespers cycle came. I worked on the piece for three years, and the premiere was conducted by György Philipp in 2006, after which a recording soon followed. The Vespers proved to be the starting point for all my larger sacred works composed since then (Missa sine nomine, Requiem, Passio) so it has exerted a decisive influence on my oeuvre over the past ten years.
Translated by Lőrinc Bubnó