Mosonyi, Mihály

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Mosonyi, Mihály

 

(real name, Michael Brand). Born Sept. 2, 1815, in the village of Boldogasszonyfalva, Hungary, presentday Frauenkirchen, Austria; died Oct. 31, 1870, in Pest. Hungarian composer and music critic.

Mosonyi was of German origin, but he was a staunch Hungarian patriot (in 1859 he adopted his Hungarian surname). He studied music independently, consulting with musicians of Poz-sony (Pressburg; present-day Bratislava) and Vienna. In 1842, Mosonyi settled in Pest (which in 1872 became part of Budapest), where he was active in the city’s musical life. He was a member of various committees and choral societies and was one of the founders (1860) and foremost contributor to the first Hungarian music newspaper, Zenészeti Lapok, wherein he polemized in favor of new music in the national style.

Mosonyi made his debut in 1844 with his First Symphony. His early works imitated the German romantic composers; his opera Kaiser Max (1857) had a German libretto. His mature works were written in the national musical style. Along with F. Liszt and F. Erkel, Mosonyi was one of the founders of the Hungarian national school of music.

Mosonyi wrote a number of works based on Hungarian folk music, in which he combined national melodies and rhythms with the style of the German romantic composers. These works include two operas on subjects drawn from Hungarian history, Szép lion (Pretty Helen) (1860) and Almos (1862); cantatas (1860, 1869,1870); works for orchestra, including Funeral Music for the Death of István Széchenyi (1860), Homéd (1860), and Festival Music; and works for piano, including Hungarian Children ’s World (1851) and Studies for Developing the Performance of Hungarian Music (1861).

Mosonyi was one of the first to use verbunkos (a style of Hungarian instrumental music) in operatic and symphonic music. Among his other works are masses, choruses, chamber instrumental ensembles, songs to the words of S. Petőfi and other Hungarian poets, as well as songs with lyrics by N. Lenau and H. Heine. Mosonyi wrote an arrangement of the “Marseillaise” for chorus and orchestra.

REFERENCES

Szabolcsi, B. A. XIX. század magyar romantikus zenéje. Budapest, 1951.
Bonis, F. Mosonyi Mihály. Budapest, 1960.