Happy Birthday Zoltán Kodály!
Kodály was born in Kecskemét, Hungary, on December 16, 1882. Although born into a musical family, his early interests were towards literary studies. As his father was a railway official, the Kodály family had a rather peripatetic existence: from 1884 until 1891 they lived in Galánta (later to be immortalized in the orchestral dances Kodály based on folk music from the area), then moving to Nagyszombat (now Trnava, Slovakia), where Zoltán studied violin and piano and sang in the cathedral choir – an early introduction to the importance of choral singing. He explored the scores in the cathedral music library, and taught himself the cello to make up the numbers for his father’s domestic quartet-evenings. From a young age he was already composing: in 1897 the school orchestra played an overture of his, to be followed by a Mass for chorus and orchestra a year later.