The Benedictine Archabbey of Pannonhalma sits on a hilltop overlooking the Lesser Hungarian Plain
. Its huge white front and red-tiled roof is visible for miles, and its historical and cultural importance are recognised by its designation as a UNESCO World Heritage site.
This territory was created as a buffer between the Germanic empire, the Magyar tribes occupying the Hungarian plain
and the ever troublesome Slavic princedoms in the Balkans.
Outside Budapest we were taken by traditional horse-drawn carriage to a ranch on the puszta, a steppe on Europe's largest grassland, the Great Hungarian Plain
, for a riding display by herdsmen and a glass of local apricot schnapps, barack palinka.
An aggressive General Nikolai Yudevich Ivanov was unrelenting in his counterattacks; he sought the dreaded invasion of the Hungarian plain
The Russians were ready to meet the Habsburg forces in the Carpathians and General Nikolai Ivanov, the commander of the front, had plans for an offensive that would use the Carpathian mountain passes to break out towards the Great Hungarian Plain
and capture Budapest, thus forcing his opponent to drop out of the war.
Kecskemet is a fine old market town in the centre of the Great Hungarian Plain
, 80 kilometres south of Budapest.
Winter's grey clouds have finally retreated eastwards across the Great Hungarian Plain
, leaving the Danube sparkling in the sun as it slides under the city's Chain Bridge.
It is a masterful study, drawing on the author's knowledge of Hungarian poetry, literary, and musical representations of the puszta, or Great Hungarian Plain
, and the influence of Dohnanyi as antecedents for some of Bartok's most distinctive musical structures.
A foreword from Eszter Banffy from the Archaeological Institute of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences and the editor's introduction describe the background to the undertaking: the original aims were to seek explanations for the transition to agriculture in the Hungarian plain
and thus bridge the gap between the Mesolithic and the Neolithic in the study area.
The strength of musical observations and linkages is much more compelling in chapter 3, in which Schneider marches resolutely through Hungarian cultural history beginning with national poet Sandor Petofi (1823-1849) and Mihaly Mosonyi identifying literary and sonic images of the Great Hungarian Plain
. In one example after the other, including Erkel's Bank ban, composers use an abstraction of the slow, rhythmically free style that begins the verbunkos to evoke the eerie silence of the night, so that by the time we reach Bartok's "night music," the reader hears the connection with a sense of "of course"--despite Bartok's formal and tonal distance from earlier examples of this topos.
In addition to the two large regions under investigation since 2000, we commenced similar investigations in the sandy grasslands of the Small Hungarian Plain
(Kisalfold, part of the Ferto-Hansag National Park--coordinates 0o of the central site of the study area (Gonyu) Lat.