— Cultural Sources of Newness

Cultural newness starts at home

Taking a break from formulating the conclusions to a chapter I am writing about artists’ reflections on artistic interventions yesterday evening, I went to a concert. The program was 17th and 18th century folk music from Slovakia and Hungary. A good break from work and thoughts of newness, I expected. Instead I found evidence that cultural newness starts at home.

 

Hauskonzert Trio Dulci Chordae September 29 2013

Hauskonzert Trio Dulci Chordae September 29 2013

The concert was hosted by a family that maintains the beautiful tradition of Hauskonzerte in Berlin. The three young musicians of the Trio Dulci Chordae (Dea Szücs, Enikö Ginzery and Gabriella Strümpel) each played older and newer versions of their instruments. Enikö explained how the salterio

Enikö Ginzery explains the saltiero

Enikö Ginzery explains the saltiero

had preceded the cimbalom. Unlike the plucking mechanism of the harpsichord, on these instruments the strings are struck. It was the pianoforte’s shift away from the plucking mechanism that paved the way to the modern day piano.

Cimbalom

Cimbalom

The trio played Hungarian dances that might well have inspired Joseph Haydn’s compositions, and from which Johannes Brahms seems to have quoted in his string sextet (opus 36).

And, most significantly, they illustrated how they continue to improvise richly and freshly today on the folk music themes that are centuries old.

 

Trio Dulci Chordae performing at the Strümpel home September 29 2013

Trio Dulci Chordae performing at the Strümpel home September 29 2013

As I was leaving, a young man excitedly told me that after experiencing this concert he had decided to host a Hauskonzert in his home in October, would I like to come? Of course! I will need another break from work on another article, and will be ready to discover yet more cultural sources of newness.