WWUH Radio 91.3 FM

Make a secure online donation to WWUH

University of Hartford

When the University of Hartford was incorporated just over 50 years ago by business and community leaders, they envisioned a center of education and culture for Greater Hartford. At its core, it would be a university for the community created by the community.

The University has come a long way since its humble beginnings on Hartford’s last remaining farm, evolving from a local school for commuters into a comprehensive university that attracts students from throughout the world. Yet it remains true to its original mission of serving as a valued resource for individuals, families, businesses, and communities throughout the Hartford region, offering hundreds of programs that serve the University and its neighbors every day. For over 45 years listener supported WWUH has served an important role in the University's community service mission.

Visit WWUH on Facebook    Follow WWUH on Twitter

Sunday Afternoon at the Opera - Kodály: Hary János

08/10/2014 13:00
08/10/2014 16:30

 

Sunday Afternoon at the Opera host Keith Brown writes:

Way back in late Summer of 1982, I remember broadcasting on two London LPs the complete music for the comic opera Hary János (1926) by Zoltán Kodály (1882-1967). Kodály's orchestral suite derived from the opera is much more frequently performed and recorded.

The complete music was taped in 1968 for Decca/London. Hungarian conductor Isztvan Kértesz came to London to record Kodály's masterpiece, bringing with him a cast of native Hungarian singers. Kértesz led the London Symphony Orchestra and Edinburgh Festival Chorus. The Singspiel-style Hungarian language dialog was omitted altogether.

What makes this British recording so wonderful is its English language narrator, that comic genius of an actor, Peter Ustinov. He also voices the part of Hary János, the bombastic village storyteller. If he sneezes on purpose, it's a signal to his listeners that his story is pure fantasy. You actually hear the sneeze in Kodály's music. Ustinov's audio characterizations of various figures in the stories, especially the drunken Empress Maria Teresia, I say, are still hilarious to listen to today.

A quarter century down the line in opera broadcasting, I again aired the old London LPs on Sunday, July 8, 2007. Since then the 1969 London Hary János has reappeared in compact disc format in a four-CD Decca compilation that includes Kodály's orchestral works and the choral Psalmus Hungaricus (1923). The 2010 Decca reissue is what you will hear today.