By Zoltan Kodaly
Composed in 1930
Kodály, together with Bartok, was a major figure in the collection and analysis of Hungarian folk music. Many of his compositions are in fact based on Hungarian folk tunes of various types.
The “Marosszék Dances” were originally composed for piano and later arranged by Kodály for orchestra; its first performance took place in 1930. The themes contained in this work are based on 17th-century peasant tunes from various Hungarian provinces.
The opening theme, with its oriental-sounding harmonic minor motif, recurs in several forms during the work. The “dance” tunes are varied, lively and charming in tempo and feeling. They feature colorful effects from the wind instruments, unusual rhythms and vivid atmospheric effects.
The piece ends with a rousing coda and flourish from the brasses.