Kodály Zoltán: Letters in English, french, german, italian, latin - A Kodály Archívum kiadványai (Budapest, 2002)

Just listen to a person speaking, and you will come to know them better and better - this could be our motto when studying Zoltán Kodály’s foreign correspondence. Though we know quite a lot about Kodály’s life, his works, his ideas, his humanity, the letters included in the present volume still provide a number of novelties, throwing light on various details. With the help of these letters, we can get a better inside view of Kodály’s, the composer’s workroom (through his manifestations about his works), of his activity as a folk musician (through the ideas expressed by him about the real value of folk art), of his everyday routine, his philoso­­phy of life. The recording of Zoltán Kodály’s letters became possible thanks to Mrs. Kodály’s, his widowed wife’s assistance. The number of letters in foreign languages that we know of is about 1100. In the search for these, besides several libraries and archives in Hungary and abroad, the letter collection of the Kodály Archives proved very helpful, for they contain not only the letters addressed to Kodály, but some of the composer’s sketches, his drafts, and copies of his letters as well. A great number of the letters included in our volume have come out for the first time in lit­eral conformity with the original manuscript. Most letters are addressed to Kodály’s partners of the profession, to musical organisations, to representatives of firms (e.g., publishers), but one can also find other correspondents in the volume. We are launching forth our book in the hope that in its wake further Kodály letters will come to light from the archives of the German, English, French, Italian, and Ame­rican libraries or possibly from the stocks of private collectors.

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