Music Is the Means of Presence

Interview with Miklós Dolinszky

The launch of the formal jazz education in the decade after the first world war in Europe was the sign of starting to recognise jazz as a full-fledged performing art despite fierce battles fought with the representatives of the classical music tradition. The fact, that jazz was easily fitted into the objective, hard and dry sound of Neue Sachlichkeit, contributed largely to the integration of jazz. Its proclaimers mostly viewed its ability to improve the sense of rhythm beneficial in music education. The head of the first jazz department was a Hungarian musician, Mátyás Seiber. Prior to his emigration from Frankfurt in 1933 he published a textbook of percussion instruments apart of his own compositions, and a number of essays on jazz thereby contributing to the approximation of the jazz tradition and the classical one. In his writings he enlightened the close relation of the pre-modern performance practice (renaissance diminution praxis; baroque basso continuo) and jazz, thus underlining the shared vernacular roots of the classical and the jazz tradition, worthy of a student of Kodály. His planned co-operation with Adorno never really took off. After the second world war, jazz has left behind its bonds to dance music and took a position nearer to contempoary classical music. Thereby the former trend could be reversed: now jazz had the option of orienting itself towards contemporary music. Despite the emergence of a number of outstanding works, a synthesis based on a new communal language of jazz and classical music has not come into being. Improvisation has only partially been incorporated into classical music education, whereas its creative potential could never be realised as just one of the canonized subjects taught.

Released: Replika 101–102, 119–124.
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