This week, Dr. Anita Klujber introduces a discussion of the afterlife of myth in Béla Bartók’s Cantata Profana.
Bartók’s Cantata Profana (1930), an intriguing piece of modern music, demonstrates the concept of afterlife both in its theme and in its own afterlife. Reflecting its own genesis, the piece is rooted in the “clear spring” of myth. Bartók based the libretto on Romanian and Hungarian mythic sources that can be traced to folk rituals performed at the winter solstice. The complex musical context of Cantata Profana contains echoes of canonic pieces of music, reaffirming their afterlife, while, at the same time, deconstructing basic elements of traditional musical grammar. Bartók’s work itself has a proliferating afterlife as it continues to evoke ekphrastic responses in poetry and visual art. In this session, we will discuss the libretto and some of the archetypal musical elements of the Cantata. In preparation for this session, a comparative perspective is encouraged to awaken resonances with images and ideas discussed in previous sessions including Pan, Merlin, and the San shaman.
Myth Reading Group: Thursday 3 March
12:00-1.30pm Room 3.318
Poster and texts:
Additional reading and references: