During all our musical training, we have both been lucky enough to meet and to benefit from the sound advice and teaching from Eastern countries musicians.
Thanks to these musicians we have been given the keys and the clues necessary to the interpretation of folk music.
Performing this music mustn’t be lapsing into stereotyped « folk music playing» or any other type of altered image by an artificial imagination but on the contrary restoring faithfully its unique and sophisticated character as drawing its inspiration from Hungarian and Czech music.
Here are a few clues given by Devy Erlih to Michaël and Zoltán Tóth to Nicolas.
Some considerations from Devy Erlih about art music inspired by folk inspiration.
My Master Devy Erlih would tell me about folk music that popular music or popular themes should never be confused with music only inspired by folk music, for the composers who are themselves deeply influenced by these songs and dances, turn them into « art-music ».
For us it means, as performers, giving up the wish to reproduce this oral tradition, of this folk music the way it used to be played in country villages, but on the contrary, always replacing it in the global context of a written piece of work.
Zoltán Kodaly’s teaching finds an echo in Zoltán Tóth’s teaching methods.
The teaching I was given by the Hungarian viola player Zoltan Tóth was based on the correlation between spoken language and musical language which was one of the fondamental teaching precept as far as Kodály was concerned who never separated the learning of the mother tongue from the one of our native folk music. We were always invited to speak out in a loud voice all the syllables as well as the onomatopoeias on the different rhythms, on the various rhythmic patterns or on the melodic lines in scores, whatever the period or the composer. He maintained that this type of work was of a paramount importance in the Kodály’s duet.
He would remind us that in this type of music the stressed musical notes always came as an echo to the same stressed syllables in the spoken language.