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Changes in the social-political framework of artistic life

In the sixteenth century, two basic factors determined artistic life in Hungary. One was the Turkish occupation of the country, which after the battle of Mohács in 1526 divided the country into two parts, then, with the fall of Buda in 1541, into three. In the 1540s, the most important centres of art were completely destroyed and ceased to function thereafter. The capital city of Buda was lost, and so was Esztergom, the ecclesiastical centre, Székesfehérvár, the coronation and burial centre of the Hungarian kings, as well as the bishopric centres of Pécs, Veszprém, Vác, Eger, and, for short a time at the end of the century, even Győr. Artistic life that had flourished for centuries now suddenly came to a halt, and the surviving parts could not carry on the integrating role of those which had been destroyed. The political and ecclesiastical centre was transferred to Pozsony (Bratislava) and Nagyszombat (Trnava, Slovakia), while the Habsburg royal seat itself had always been outside the country, in Vienna and Prague. The traditional artistic spheres were best preserved in the newly formed duchy in Transylvania, but even there new structures were formed only by the second half of the century, with Gyulafehérvár (Alba Iulia, Romania) as the centre. The other crucial factor in the formation of artistic life was the spread of Protestantism. Many of the new religious movements that turned against Catholicism were iconoclasts, and much of the medieval art that survived the various wars was eventually destroyed by them. Such was the fate, for example, of the interior decoration and furnishings of the cathedrals of Várad (Oradea, Romania) and Gyulafehérvár. (In Lutheran churches, on the other hand, many works of art were preserved.) Numerous genres of art that had flourished for centuries, such as panel painting, wooden sculpture, and manuscript illumination, disappeared by the end of the first third of the century.

Major stylistic trends in art

The art of Hungary between the battle of Mohács (1526) and the recapture of Buda (1686) falls into the time period of the Renaissance and the Baroque (besides the latest phase of the Gothic), and to these two terms in scholarly literature recently a third, Mannerism has also been added. However, these terms, generally used to denote the major stylistic trends of sixteenth- and seventeenth-century European art, can be applied to local artistic products in Hungary only to a limited extent. The Renaissance is present in its pure and high quality form only during the Matthias- and Jagello-period, and even then primarily only in imported works of art. At that time, the Late Renaissance in Italy was already characterised by parallel tendencies of classicism and Mannerism, but high quality works of this period in painting and sculpture were never produced in Hungary, and the dominant military character of architecture - however up-to-date - has prevented it from becoming a major stylistic force. Changes in art were best demonstrated in the ornamentation of new works of art: the all'antica decoration of the quattrocento and the early cinquecento is replaced by Beschlägwerk-, Rollwerk-, later Knorpelwerk- and acanthus motifs. The appearance in Hungary of the Baroque style, born around 1600 in Italy, poses even more problems. The high artistic level that characterised the imported all'antica art in the time of King Matthias (Mátyás) was missing here: not even the works of the most outstanding painters and sculptors reached Hungary. Baroque motifs appeared here in the second third of the seventeenth century, in art commissioned by the Roman Catholic Church and the aristocracy loyal to the royal court, but did not become widespread until the eighteenth century. Especially in the genres of the grand art a strong conservatism was prevalent. Only in Transylvania did the Renaissance tradition firmly live on into the seventeenth century.

The frameworks of artistic life: courts and patrons

Humanistic patronage

In the decades following the battle of Mohács, Pozsony (Bratislava) became the most important centre of artistic life in Royal Hungary. The best educated humanists of the country lived and worked here, and they had close ties with the royal court in Vienna, since many of them were in the service of the Habsburg administration. The most important gathering place of these educated prelates and their circles was the house and garden - with its famous linden tree that inspired numerous poets - of István Radéczy, Bishop of Eger and royal governor. The group included Miklós Istvánffy, the historiographer, Nicasius Ellebodius, the Greek philologist, György Purkircher, the physician, Carolus Clusius, the famous botanist, Zakariás Mossóczy, the jurist, Boldizsár Batthyány, and others. Their portraits were executed by the Dalmatian engraver Martino Rota, who came to Hungary at the invitation of Antal Verancsics. He engraved the coat of arms and the portrait of Radéczy himself, who had a famous collection of antiquities and medals. In the cathedral of Pozsony they jointly erected a tomb for their mutual friend Nicasius Ellebodius (d. 1577), which carried an epitaph by Istvánffy and was decorated with the relief of the two-faced Janus, the guardian of the gate of death. Many other members in this group had collections of antique medals and also collected inscriptions of Roman monuments. Few original works of arts have survived from their collections; their visual artistic culture has been best documented by written sources.

Miklós Oláh

Miklós Oláh was one of the most prominent personalities of mid-sixteenth-century Hungary. After the battle of Mohács, he accompanied the widow of Louis II to the Low Countries, then, after many years, he returned to his home country to become Bishop of Zagreb, then Archbishop of Esztergom and Royal Governor. He was an erudite humanist, and a good friend of Erasmus of Rotterdam. He wrote works in Latin on Attila and on Hungary. His portrait by Hans Sebold Lautensack from 1558 depicts him as a true humanist, with a book in his hand. It was he who helped the chapter and the archiepiscopate (together with the treasury) to flee from Esztergom and settle in Nagyszombat (Trnava, Slovakia). He maintained palaces in Vienna, Pozsony (Bratislava), and Nagyszombat, the splendid interior decorations of which - including in particular a large number of tapestries - was recorded in the will of the archbishop. He was very fond of gardens; his most famous was the Nicoletum in Vienna. His artistic patronage forms an important part of the history of art in Hungary. He had the litterae armales which he received from King Ferdinand I in 1548 decorated with uniquely sumptuous miniature decorations, in which he included his own portrait along with those of his relatives and of rulers of Hungary (thereby expressing his loyalty to the Habsburg dynasty). The library of Oláh, partly collected during his stay in the Low Countries, also had great fame; it even included an eleventh-century Evangelistarium. He provided for the decoration of his books as well. His printed pontifical received an ornamental binding, its woodcuts were hand-coloured, and his coat of arms was included in the decoration. He also planned to have the unfinished miniatures of a famous late-medieval codex, the so-called Bakócz Gradual completed (1557). The tombstone of Oláh, an exceptionally fine work of red marble with inscribed bronze plaques, stands in the church of St. Nicholas in Nagyszombat.

Pál Bornemisza

Pál Bornemisza, the Bishop of Nyitra (Nitra, Slovakia), had a significant political role in sixteenth-century Hungary. He received more and more advanced positions within the Habsburg administration; and became Royal Governor at the peak of his career. He was the first art collector in Hungary about whom not only dry data documenting his activities have survived, but his passion for collecting has also been well documented. In collecting, he was driven by his pious attitude: he attempted to save everything he could from the lost ecclesiastical treasures. The liturgical objects that he purchased or redeemed he had repaired, reconstructed and kept for his own use until in his last will he had them returned to those four churches where he had served as a prelate during his long life. Many objects of the collegiate church of Óbuda, and of the bishoprics of Veszprém, Gyulafehérvár (Alba Iulia), and Nyitra are known to posterity only from his will. Some pieces of his collection have survived to this day; for example, his mitre in the cathedral of Győr and two chalices in Nyitra. The Angevin-period mitre used to be in the possession of the church of Veszprém, but Bornemisza had its pearl decoration renewed in Late Renaissance style (1550). One of the chalices had been decorated by antique gold coins at the beginning of the sixteenth century, and it was perhaps this unique trait that made the bishop keep the piece for himself. This work is one of the earliest examples of the so-called "dishes with pagan coins" that later became so common in Hungary.

Demeter Náprágyi

Demeter Náprágyi (d. 1619) had mainly an ecclesiastical career, with little role in the political life of the country. He was a respected, educated man, who had been schooled in Vienna. He became Bishop of Gyulafehérvár (Alba Iulia, Romania) in 1597, from where he fled in 1600, taking with him part of the ducal library of Transylvania, which was thus saved from destruction. Náprágyi also acquired the head reliquary of St. Ladislas, originally preserved in the cathedral of Várad (Oradea), whose crown had been lost in the meantime. To replace it, he had a new crown made in Prague, richly decorated with gems, which is seen on the reliquary to this day. In his last will, the bishop left a number of Flemish tapestries to the cathedral of Győr. One of them was probably the one, depicting the Nativity, which is preserved in the Museum of Applied Arts today. This enormous tapestry was probably made in Brussels around 1520, and came into Náprágyi's hands from one of his predecessors. The Nativity tapestry is the sole surviving example of the numerous tapestries mentioned in sixteenth-century inventories. Náprágyi's red marble tombstone decorated with his coat of arms is found in the cathedral of Győr.

The ducal court of Transylvania in the time of the Báthorys

The ducal court in Gyulafehérvár (Alba Iulia) was formed during the reign of Queen Isabella, who was forced to leave Buda for Transylvania (d. 1599), along with her son János Zsigmond (d. 1571). This Transylvanian town continued to be the centre of courtly life during the reign of the Báthorys, until the end of the century. Very little is known about the art patronage of János Zsigmond. Duke István Báthory, who acceded to the throne in 1571, and continued the construction of the castles started by his predecessor in Szamosújvár (Gherla) and Várad (Oradea). His ecclesiastical building activities in Gyulafehérvár and Kolozsvár (Cluj) were related to the settlement of the Jesuit order in Transylvania. Although he also became King of Poland in 1576, he maintained close ties with Transylvania. During this time, artistic ties between Poland and Hungary were especially close: Transylvanian masters worked in Cracow, while it was through the court of Cracow that Italian architects or Italian works of art - such as the miniature wax portrait of King István Báthory - found their way into Transylvania. Báthory had a library's worth of books purchased for his nephews Zsigmond and András (the later dukes), and had the volumes bound in splendid bindings. An especially imposing work was the tomb (1584-85) he ordered for his brother Kristóf Báthory (d. 1584) from Willem van den Blocke, a master of Dutch origin active in Gdansk. This representative work, erected in the Jesuit church of Gyulafehérvár, became the example to follow for many seventeenth-century ducal monuments. After the death of the Polish king in 1586, the Transylvanian court remained an important artistic centre, and became even more resplendent during the reign of Zsigmond Báthory, who oriented himself towards the Habsburg court. This period, however, is known to us mainly from written documents, since nearly everything was destroyed during the disorder that followed the deposition of the duke.

Ferenc Nádasdy

Ferenc Nádasdy was one of the most significant patrons of art in seventeenth-century Hungary. As perhaps the wealthiest aristocrat of the country, he held powerful positions and became Judge Royal at the zenith of his career. His patronage was influenced not only by his wealth and position but also by the fact that he often visited Italy and Germany, and even attended the universities of Padua and Siena. He was a patron of literature, publishing books and setting up a printing press on his estate. In 1664 he issued the Mausoleum, a collection of portraits of rulers that defined the tradition of ruler portraiture for centuries. He also erected impressive buildings, the most outstanding ecclesiastical ones including the Servite friary and church in Lorettom and the Augustinian friary and church in Léka (Lockenhaus, Austria, the burial place of the Nádasdy family). His two family residences in Sárvár and Sopronkeresztúr were also built in a grand manner; the decoration of the main hall in Sárvár with battle scenes from the Turkish wars is especially outstanding. Written documents testify to his wide-ranging contacts with numerous artists, among them the painters Jan Thomas and Benjamin Block, and the architect Carlo Carlone, who were all among the most eminent artists active in seventeenth-century Hungary. Nádasdy also possessed a remarkable art collection of paintings, medals, metalwork, and an extensive library. He had not only engravings but even printing plates and a printing press for engravings in his possession. He employed a private goldsmith in Augsburg, and goldsmiths' works were also the most valuable pieces in his collection (this was of course partly due to the inherent value of precious metals). After his disgrace and death in 1671, his wealth was confiscated, thus we know virtually nothing about his collection. A cart studded with pearls and gems and crowned by the ivory figure of Bacchus sitting on a barrel - a masterpiece of the Drentwett family of Augsburg and now in the Museum of Applied Arts - comes almost certainly from among his treasures.

Pál Esterházy

The art patronage of Pál Esterházy (1635-1713) was characterised not only by his generosity worthy of a prince but also by his ambitions. From the very beginning he was aware of the fact that his patronage of the arts bespoke his high social position. His unfailing loyalty to the Habsburg house secured him ever higher positions: he was the palatine of the country for a long time, then he received the Order of the Golden Fleece and later the ducal title as well. The first representative object he commissioned was a large ornamental, gilded silver plate with a pitcher shaped like an equestrian statuette, commemorating the heroic death of his brother László Esterházy, who fell in the battle of Vezekény fighting against the Turks. This enormous goldsmith's work was the product of the workshop of Philipp Jakob Drentwett in Augsburg. In addition to this Esterházy later commissioned works of applied arts to celebrate memorable events: on receiving the ducal title he ordered a 1.5 meter long elephant's tusk decorated with carved reliefs of scenes from Ovid's Metamorphoses. He rebuilt his family residence in Kismarton (Eisenstadt, Austria), creating the first Baroque château in Hungary. As a deeply religious person, he supported the construction of many ecclesiastical monuments. In the church of Mariazell he had a new altar made for the venerated statue; in 1695 he began a new church for the Franciscans in Boldogasszony (Frauenkirche, Austria); and in 1699 he had the vaulting of the nave of the Jesuit church of Nagyszombat (Trnava, Slovakia), founded by his father, decorated with frescos and stucco decoration. Both the church of Boldogasszony and the frescos in Nagyszombat are early examples of the majestic Baroque style that fully impregnated the art of Hungary in the eighteenth century. Pál Esterházy also used art to directly promote the importance of his family: he included his own and his father's portrait among the busts of Hungarian leaders portrayed on the main facade of his château in Kismarton, while in 1700 he issued all the portraits of the Esterházys in the lengthy Tropheum. The duke himself was involved in artistic activities: he composed music and wrote literary works.

The Art of the Book

Book illumination

As the Middle Ages came to a close, the production of new, representative volumes of illuminated books also ceased. As book printing became widespread, hand written books became less and less frequent, and the making of representative codices slowly went out of fashion. The old manuscripts came to be appreciated in a different way: they were incorporated in humanists' libraries, or, if they had miniature decoration or valuable bindings, into art collections. Newly created illuminated books were rather rare in the time period following the battle of Mohács. In their style of decoration two tendencies can be discerned. One is characterised by the repetition of the motifs of fifteenth-century Italian Renaissance art, on a rather provincial level, as can be seen on the miniatures of the Kriza-codex, which contains Hungarian prayers (1532). Here Renaissance vases, cornucopias, and laurel wreaths are placed in the axes of the marginalia symmetrically composed of flowers and tendrils. The other stylistic tendency employs Late Renaissance ornamentation. Examples for this are the additions to the Bakócz Gradual in 1557, where a rolled cartoon was placed in the centre of the composition, enclosing the coat of arms of Miklós Oláh. A similarly advanced, oriental arabesque motif decorates the title page of the breviary of János Liszthy, Bishop of Győr, painted in the 1570s. An unusual example of the survival of book illumination can be found in the missal of Ferenc Perényi, Bishop of Várad, who fell in the battle of Mohács: the subsequent owners of this codex had it decorated with new miniatures. By the seventeenth century, however, the art of book illumination had disappeared forever.

Book printing and binding

Though already invented by the fifteenth century, book printing in Hungary on a large scale did not begin until the second third of the sixteenth. The new books, which were published in large numbers and reached a much wider audience, were decorated by woodcuts instead of expensive miniatures. The printing blocks of these woodcuts belonged just as much to the equipment of the printing press as did the printing letters themselves, and they were used without any alteration over and over in many editions, some of them for decades. Initials and end decoration were inserted even into the simpler volumes, but costly books usually included figural decoration as well. The title pages were especially lavishly decorated; in fact, this was usually the only page to be decorated at all. The artistic level of these woodcuts was rather modest in most Hungarian books; their motifs nevertheless popularised the ornamental elements of the Late Renaissance and Mannerism. The taste of the audience may also have been influenced by the decoration of the growing number of imported books. With the decline in the use of richly illuminated late medieval representative codices, also the splendid book bindings became less frequent. The backs of the costliest books were covered with coloured velvet and supplied with silver clasps. Most of the books, however, had only a simple binding for everyday use, often of leather with impressed, and sometimes with gilded decoration. Their style followed German Renaissance bindings made with rollers and stamping plates, such as the products of the workshop working with the printing press of Heltai in Kolozsvár (Cluj, Romania). These show biblical heroes and antique profile portraits among tendrils, while the centre is filled by a larger figural decoration, sometimes a portrait of the great leaders of the Reformation, Luther and Melanchton.

The fate of the Corvina library

The Corvina library, one of the most notable achievements of King Matthias, had already suffered much damage and diminished in size by the time of the battle of Mohács. The surviving pieces were seized by the army of Suleiman, and most were taken to Constantinople. However, in the sixteenth century some volumes had already been brought back to Hungary: Antal Verancsics, for example, acquired two Corvina volumes, a Horace and a Thomas Aquinas (today kept in London and Vienna, respectively), during his stay there as an envoy. Volumes from the Corvina library were by that time very much appreciated in any library: an inscription over the entrance of the court library of Vienna proudly - and justifiably - declared that the collection was based on Corvina volumes, and the municipal library of Brassó (Brasov, Romania) enjoyed similar fame in the sixteenth century. Until the seventeenth century, in any case, it was generally thought that the majority of the Corvina volumes had remained in Buda, guarded by the Turks. According to János Szalárdi, Gábor Bethlen (according to other sources, György Rákóczi I) made attempts to acquire from the pashas of Buda and the Sublime Porte the library of King Matthias for the Protestant school of Gyulafehérvár (Alba Iulia). Only after the visit of Mihály Apafi I to Buda did the Dukes of Transylvania give up hope of ever receiving the books. Finally, at the end of the nineteenth century several Corvinas found their way back to Buda from Constantinople, but even recently a new volume, the so-called Antiphonal of Istanbul, was found in the library of the Serai.


Monumental painting in the two courts

Time has decimated the surviving paintings from the Late Renaissance and Baroque art of the royal and Transylvanian ducal courts. The series of paintings that were commissioned from the Venetian Giulio Licinio by King Ferdinand I for the chapel of the castle of Pozsony (Bratislava, Slovakia) were destroyed. (Licinio previously worked with Paolo Veronese on the decoration of the Doge palace.) The paintings in the chapel of Pozsony were in all likelihood inserted into richly gilded stucco frames, according to the custom of the period. The original richness of the whole decoration is implied by a surviving section in what was probably a balcony of the castle. The stucco worker who collaborated with Licinio worked in the most modern ornamental style: the frames with classical mouldings are filled with finely painted tendrils and slender figures, while in the centre of the lavishly decorated ceiling puttos hold up the coat of arms of King Ferdinand I. The monumental cycles of murals commissioned by the dukes of Transylvania are known to us from written sources only. János Zsigmond had the ducal palace of Gyulafehérvár (Alba Iulia) decorated with scenes of battles and sieges as well as with emblems. The great hall of the castle of Fogaras (Fagarao) received a similar decoration of emblems probably when the castle was in the possession of the Báthory family. The fresco decorations of the residences of later, seventeenth-century Transylvanian dukes (Gábor Bethlen, György Rákóczi I) are also known from descriptions only. The paintings that were created for the castle of Pozsony on the order of King Ferdinand III were also destroyed, but have survived in the form of reproduced prints. This series, painted between 1638-43 by Paul Juvenel, included secular allegories and emblems glorifying Ferdinand II. The king was represented as a supernatural hero between his contemporaries and antique mythological figures. The main purpose of the commissioner with this representation was the propagation of the beneficial nature of the Habsburg rule, a probable reason why this grandiose cycle had little direct influence on Hungarian art.

The humanistic portrait

A new genre of art evolving in Hungary in the second half of the sixteenth century was that of the independent portrait. Despite the existence of this form of art, hardly any painted portraits have survived from the sixteenth century. One example is that of Chancellor János Liszthi, who had his likeness painted in Prague by a Flemish painter. Liszthi had close ties with Hugo Blotius, the keeper of the imperial library, who - following the example of the Como collection of the famous humanist and history writer Paolo Giovio - compiled a series of portraits of famous men, the so-called Musaeum Blotianum, which also included the portraits of Hungarian nobles. The visual appearance of the portraits was influenced by the change in the attitude of the commissioners. This is well illustrated in the portrait engravings executed by Martino Rota, an artist invited to Hungary from Italy by Antal Verancsics. Rota depicted János Balassa, the royal doorkeeper, in arms, in the tradition of chivalrous iconography, but his other, roughly contemporary engravings of Hungarian nobles reflect a very different, much more "court-oriented" mentality. He portrayed Miklós Istvánffy, the historiographer, in front of a curtain, in brocade clothes that in spite of their simplicity demonstrate his high standing. The portrait of István Fejérkövy, Bishop of Nyitra (Nitra, Slovakia), was composed in a similar way, although his tomb stone in Nyitra followed the most conventional type. The most beautiful portrait Rota ever made was of Zakariás Mossóczy, the famous jurist. He portrayed him as a real humanist, according to the tradition of the noblest portraiture of great men of letters, sitting before his bookstand by his table which is littered with writing tools. We know from descriptions that in the library room of Mossóczy, in the archiepiscopal palace of Nyitra, several portraits were hung on the walls between the bookstands.

Ancestors' galleries

In the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, the Hungarian aristocrats who built magnificent residences also gathered imposing collections of portraits of themselves and their ancestors, in order to immortalise their illustrious families. These life-size portraits formed an important part of the artistic representation in their castles. Among the surviving series, those of the Esterházy family are the most imposing - most of their pieces are still preserved in the château at Fraknó (Forchtenau, Austria), - but such ancestors' galleries have been left after the Nádasdy, Batthyány, Forgách, Csáky and other families as well, even if sometimes only fragmentarily. The painters of these series were often local artists of modest talents who followed the traditional compositions of sixteenth-century courtly portraiture: their figures have rigid postures and stand in a symbolical space, as is exemplified by the portraits of Tamás Nádasdy and his wife Orsolya Kanizsai. At the same time, portraits of high quality were also created, such as the portrait painted in Vienna of Éva Forgách, the wife of István Csáky (1638) or the portraits of Pál Esterházy and his wife Orsolya Esterházy by Benjamin Block, who worked for Hungarian clients in the middle of the century. Block also portrayed Ferenc Nádasdy and his wife, who insisted on the traditional portrayal of their figures, even though the rooms in which they stand were carefully painted, with a view opening through the windows. The traditional view lived on for a long time, but by the second half of the century some details began to loosen the strict tradition. In the portraits of Péter Zrínyi (1650-60) and Kristóf Batthyány (?) (mid-seventeenth century) the background was given more emphasis: the dynamic battle scenes in the back illustrate the bravery of the depicted persons. The half-length portrait of the poet Miklós Zrínyi by Jan Thomas, a disciple of Rubens, shows a close observation of subtle psychological feeling.

Historical battle scenes

A new, very influential genre of Baroque painting was that of the monumental historical battle scene. Because of the constant Turkish wars, this type of subject matter was especially topical in Hungary, the only region in which this genre is traceable. The first surviving series of battle scenes decorates the ceiling of the great hall of the castle of Sárvár. Its commissioner was Ferenc Nádasdy, Judge Royal (iudex curiae regis) and one of the wealthiest aristocrats of the country; the painter has been identified as Hans Rudolf Miller of Vienna. The painted scenes are unified by an extravagantly rich stucco frame. The central scene depicts the battle of Sziszek (Sisak, Croatia); the surrounding smaller compositions, the sieges of the castles of Pápa, Győr, Tata, Buda, and Kanizsa. The representation of Turkish wars was found in many other aristocrats' residences in Western Hungary: in the castle of Miklós Zrínyi in Csáktornya (Cakovec, Slovenia), in the château of Ádám Batthyány in Rohonc (Rechnitz, Austria), and in the Pozsony (Bratislava, Slovakia) palace of György Lippay, Archbishop of Esztergom. This subject matter even appeared in the ecclesiastical art of the period. In the Patrona Hungariae altar of the Jesuit church of Győr (1642), Hungarian saints raise shields depicting the Blessed Virgin to fend off the arrows of the Turks. In the high altarpiece of the church of Árpás (1666-67), Hungary is protected by the robe of the Madonna of the Misericordia, and with the Pope and the Emperor who kneel on the ground the leading aristocrats of the time are also portrayed: Ferenc Wesselényi, the count palatine, Ferenc Nádasdy, the Judge Royal, Péter Zrínyi, ban (viceroy, banus) of Croatia, György Szelepcsényi, Archbishop of Esztergom, and György Szécsényi, the Bishop of Győr and the probable commissioner of the painting. These representations express in the language of art the most essential need of the period, the necessity to fight the Turkish enemy.

Reproductive graphics: portraiture

Engravings became one of the most influential media in the Hungarian art of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Their proliferation was also influenced by the Counter Reformation movement (since these pictures could be distributed easily and in large numbers), but the most significant engravings were secular works, especially portraits. Among them, the first important work was the portrait series of 1652 by Elias Widemann. Widemann published in Vienna a full volume of bust portraits of altogether a hundred Hungarian nobles. These depictions served for a long time as models for the portrait series that decorated Hungarian châteaux and country residences. Even more influential was the edition of a work called Mausoleum in 1664 in Nuremberg, which contained the full-figure portrayals of the Hungarian rulers from the tribal leaders all the way down to King Ferdinand IV. These portraits set the canon of ruler portraiture in Hungary until the nineteenth century; and many versions of them in oil painting and fresco were found in the various châteaux. By copying the ruler portraits of the Mausoleum, the Hungarian nobility connected the history of their own families with that of the country. This tendency is most conspicuous in the ancestors' gallery of the Batthyánys: the portraits of Ádám and Kristóf Battyhány are closely modelled on those of the Hungarian rulers, as if forming a part of them. At the end of the century, the Esterházys issued their own, independent series of prints depicting their family members. This work, the Tropheum, was published in 1700 by the palatine Pál Esterházy. Many of its prints, as well as its overall structure, very closely follow the Mausoleum.


By the second third of the sixteenth century, the most important genres of late medieval ecclesiastical painting had disappeared from art. Winged altarpieces and grand fresco cycles in churches often fell victim to Protestant iconoclasm. Among the various branches of Protestantism, Lutheran churches were the only ones to preserve medieval masterpieces of art, and it was also in their circles that the art of altarpieces was reborn at the end of the sixteenth century. A rare, high quality example of this rebirth is the former high altarpiece of the chapel of the castle of Árva (Orava, Slovakia), today in the church of Necpál (Necpaly, Slovakia), which has a painting with a crowded composition in the centre that expounds the doctrine of salvation in a complicated, Mannerist visual language. Its commissioner was the palatine György Thurzó, the most important patron of the Lutherans in Hungary. The altarpiece of the Holy Cross in the collegiate church of Szepeshely (Spisšká Kapitula, Slovakia), also from the early seventeenth century, is a good example of how the structure of the medieval altarpiece lived on: the wings are still there, as well as the predella and the crowning decoration, but the wings are immovable, and the whole ornamentation is in the style of Mannerism. During the rest of the seventeenth century, monumental altarpieces were built, with complex structures and crowded with statues. Some typical examples are the altarpiece of the Thököly castle chapel in Késmárk (Kezmarok, Slovakia) (1657), the high altarpiece of the Roman Catholic church in Rohonc (Rechnitz, Austria) (1679), and the altarpiece of the Franciscan church in Németújvár (Güssing, Austria) (1647-48). The situation was different in Transylvania where besides "modern" seventeenth-century altarpieces such as that of Segesvár (Sighisoara, Romania) the late medieval altarpiece-type was to be found until the end of the seventeenth century. The altarpiece of the Lutheran church of Szentágota (Agnita, Romania) from 1650 even has moveable wings, while the structure and ornamentation of the winged altarpiece of Csíkdelne (Delnita, Romania), from 1675, is so conservative that it appears contemporary with sixteenth-century Renaissance altarpieces, such as the one from Csíkménaság (Armaoeni, Romania), dated 1543.

Epitaphs and funerary paintings

One of the most significant genres of funerary art in seventeenth-century Hungary is that of the epitaph hung on the walls of churches. Epitaphs were made of painted and gilded wood, and had multilevel architectonic structures. In the centre, framed by columns and entablatures, there was a painting, relief, or statues depicting a biblical scene, surrounded by rich ornamentation. At the bottom, an inscribed plaque was placed to commemorate the virtues of the deceased, who himself was often depicted kneeling in the company of his family. The structure of epitaphs followed that of altarpieces, on a smaller scale, and the same artists were often occupied with the execution of both. Epitaphs were especially popular in Protestant circles. Although originally they were widespread in the whole country, few series have survived until the present day, and these are to be found mainly in the church of St. James in Lőcse (Levoea, Slovakia), in Bártfa (Bardejov, Slovakia) and the Lutheran church of Csetnek (Štítnik, Slovakia). In Csetnek, the frames of the epitaph of Tóbiás Geletník (1630s) and of the Razík-epitaph (after 1677) clearly show the forty years' of difference between them: the former has a linear structure and its ornamentation is close to Mannerism, while the latter is more dynamic with its emphasised central part, depicting the Crucifixion, and its ornamental motifs are also much more modern. Another type of funerary art was that of funerary coats of arms, which were also hung on the walls of churches but had purely heraldic ornamentation. Their frames were inscribed all around, and decorated with woodcarvings of weapons and banners (for example, the funerary coats of arms of the members of the Esterházy family in Nagyszombat/Trnava, Slovakia). Another seventeenth-century genre, related both to the cult of the dead and to portrait painting, was the portrait of the deceased lying in state. Such works may have once hung in castle chapels (for example, the portraits of György Thurzó and Erzsébet Czobor in the castle of Árva/Orava, Slovakia), but could also form part of a castrum doloris (such as the castrum doloris of László Esterházy, 1652). The depiction of the dead was associated with the stoic ideal of contented death in Late Renaissance literature. In the portraits, the background was often presented in a decorative and abstract way, but the figures themselves - especially the portraits - were pictured realistically. The nicest examples were painted of the members of the Illésházy family: of Gáspár Illésházy, Gábor Illésházy and his wife Ilona Thurzó (all in the collection of the Hungarian National Museum).


Funerary monuments in Royal Hungary

The funerary monument became one of the most important sculptural genres after the middle of the sixteenth century. In the territory of Royal Hungary, there were especially many types of funerary monuments. The traditional, simplest type of tombstone, with coats of arms and inscriptions, was still used, though with modern decoration (such as the tombstones in the Orbán tower in Kassa/Košice, Slovakia), and so was the tomb with a gisant figure (for example, the tombs of Gáspár Serédy in Pozsonyszentgyörgy/Jur pri Bratislave, Slovakia and of György Serédy in Bártfa/Bardejov, Slovakia). New types of funerary monuments also appeared. In Pozsony (Bratislava, Slovakia) and its environs (as well as in the somewhat more distant Selmecbánya/Banská Štiavnica, Slovakia), a whole series of carved stone Renaissance epitaphs attached to the wall have survived from the last third of the sixteenth century. In the centre of these pieces is a relief, flanked by the ornamental frames, usually depicting the Crucifixion, with the deceased and his family kneeling at the foot of the cross. In the background, the Heavenly Jerusalem and inscribed plaques can be seen. Some examples are the epitaphs of Jacobus Mordax in Pozsonyszentgyörgy, of Anna Erdődy and Wolfgang Kögl in the cathedral of Pozsony, all of which were probably imported from Vienna. Another new type of funerary monument, the most representative of all, was the wall monument. In these works, the centre of the several meter high, richly elaborated architectonic stone frame is occupied by the full-figure statue of the deceased. Such monuments were made both for prelates and important secular people. Among the earliest must have been the one made for Miklós Oláh, Archbishop of Esztergom, in Nagyszombat (Trnava, Slovakia), and for János Rueber, Captain of Upper Hungary, in Kassa. Occasionally, the various types were mixed: the grand wall monument of János Chereody frames an enormous epitaph in which the Archbishop is portrayed kneeling in front of the Crucified (Nagyszombat, St. Nicholas).

The figural tombstones of Royal Hungary are of three distinct types according to the political orientation and social standing of the deceased. The traditional, medieval composition was best preserved in prelates' tombstones. The tombstones of Ferenc Újlaki, Bishop of Győr, in Pozsony (1555), of János Kuthassy, Archbishop of Esztergom, in Nagyszombat (1601), and of Márton Hetési Pethe in Szepeshely (Spisšká Kapitula, Slovakia) all portray the prelates frontally, with hierarchic rigidity, in their full attire. The aristocratic tombstones were much more diverse. Also some of these preserved, or even consciously renewed, the traditional forms: the seventeenth-century tombstones of the Thurzós in Lőcse (Levoea, Slovakia) imitate the hundred years earlier tombstones of the Szapolyais in Szepeshely. On some tombstones, the figures were represented in Hungarian festive costumes (for example, the funerary monument of Ferenc Révai in Túrócszentmárton/Martin, Slovakia, 1553), while more frequently they were shown in the attire of the Renaissance military leader, holding a staff in their hands. The first example of this latter type is the Rueber-monument in the cathedral of Kassa (Košice, Slovakia): the marble figure of the deceased once stood as an independent statue in the central niche. Among several others, the tomb of György Drugeth, Judge Royal, also exemplifies this "court-oriented" figure- and tomb monument-type (in Nagyszombat, 1620). The richest example of this type was, however, planned for the hero of Győr, Miklós Pálffy, to be erected in the sanctuary of the cathedral of Pozsony. A model was made for the monument in the workshop of Paul Mayr of Augsburg, of which at least the central figure came to be executed (today in the Franciscan church of Pozsony). Although the design was spectacular, the overall execution in Mannerist style must have seemed so strange to contemporary Hungarian taste that in the end a far more modest monument was erected for Pálffy in the cathedral.

Funerary monuments in Transylvania

In Transylvania, similar types of Late Renaissance tombstones were erected as in Royal Hungary. Here the traditional tombstone with coats of arms and inscriptions was the most popular (for example, the Mikola tombstones in Szamosfalva/Someoeni and the tombstone of Balázs Tötöri in Tötör/Tioltiur), but there were also tombs, stone epitaphs, and wall monuments. Representative funerary monuments were erected in the cathedral of Gyulafehérvár (Alba Iulia), the burial place of the dukes. Most of these have been destroyed, except for the tombs of the Zápolyas: the tombs of Queen Isabella and of János Zsigmond. These are enormous sarcophagi carved out of white marble, with life-size gisant figures of the deceased on the top. They were not produced by local masters, nor were the later ducal funerary monuments: Kristóf Báthory's was brought to Transylvania from Gdansk, those of Gábor Bethlen and his first wife, and of György Rákóczi and Zsigmond Rákóczi, from Cracow. The crowded Mannerist decoration of the Zápolya tombs appears on other Transylvanian funerary monuments as well, for example, on the tomb of Zsófia Patócsi (once in Küküllővár/Cetatea de Balta). The Saxon funerary monuments, whose monumental series survive in Berethalom (Biertan) and Nagyszeben (Sibiu), have a separate history in the development of Transylvanian funerary art. These figural tombstones of bishops, judges, and burghers are directly rooted in the sculptural traditions of the German Late Renaissance. The most beautiful, intact seventeenth-century Transylvanian tomb was carved for György Apafi of Almakerék (Malîncrav) in 1635 by Elias Nicolai, an outstanding Saxon sculptor active in Nagyszeben. The figure of the deceased, dressed in armour, lies on the cover of the tomb among grapevines. The sides are decorated by symbolic figures and inscribed plaques. Among the grapevines, Death himself appears as a skeleton with an hourglass in his hand. It is the allegorical representations and the frequent biblical citations that make this work a typical Protestant product. The artist signed this excellent work on its front side, at a very prominent location.


Burgher houses in Kolozsvár (Cluj, Romania)

For the sixteenth- and seventeenth-century constructions that were being carried out all over the country, the more elaborate carved stones were not prepared on site but in the stone carving workshops of the larger towns. From the workshop the stones were transported over large distances, sometimes even from one end of the country to another, or abroad. The towns where the stone carvings were made, of course, used them themselves. Such stone carving activity existed in Pécs and its environs before 1526, but after the battle of Mohács it was in Transylvania, namely in Kolozsvár (Cluj), that the activity and the stylistic development of such urban workshops can be traced on sixteenth-century burgher houses. These houses usually had an L-shaped ground-plan. Behind their gates in the facade, an elongated wing reached far into the back, parallel with the narrow courtyard. Unfortunately, many of them were demolished or altered in the nineteenth century, but their Renaissance door- and window-frames were at least preserved in museums. The most notable Renaissance building of the town was the so-called Wolphard-Kakas house. Adorján Wolphard, the parish priest and learned humanist (the publisher of the works of Janus Pannonius) had this house on the main square altered in Renaissance style between 1534-44. The main facade of the two-storey house had two windows and the entrance gate on the ground floor, and three windows on the upper one. The well-proportioned frames were decorated by Wolphard's coat of arms and Latin sententiae. The doors were framed by Corinthian pilasters and richly moulded entablatures. An especially beautiful part of the house was the so-called Zodiac room, named after its corbels decorated with the signs of the Zodiac, which was already planned by István Wolphard, a former student at the Wittemberg university, but finished only under the subsequent owner, István Kakas. The building came into the possession of István Kakas, the prothonotarius of the duke, in the last third of the century. The door and window frames on the courtyard wing, decorated with his coat of arms, have Doric friezes and rusticated pilasters, representing the more severe, tectonic formal language of the Late Renaissance.

The architecture of Royal Hungary: the Transdanubian region

The most significant, still standing Late Renaissance castle of the Transdanubian region is that of Sárvár, which in this period was for long time the seat of the Nádasdy family. This pentagonal fortress with Italian bastions was constructed in the middle of the sixteenth century. At the same time was built, within the fortified walls, the castle building itself, whose pentagonal complex received its final form between 1588-1615. The pentagonal ground-plan is unique in the Transdanubian region; more typical were the rectangular châteaux built around a central, arcaded courtyard, and fortified with towers on their four corners. The earliest example of this latter type is the château of Egervár, which was built around an inner court and fortified with corner towers in the second half of the sixteenth century, when it was owned by Kristóf Nádasdy. The layout of the now ruined castle of Kanizsa was similar. It was planned some time before 1572 by Pietro Ferrabosco, an architect in the service of the royal court. The most beautiful, still standing example is the enormous château of Sopronkeresztúr, which was begun in the 1560s but received its final form, with the splendid, arcaded courtyard, only during its construction by Tamás Nádasdy, the Judge Royal. The spacious chapel in one of the corner towers, with retardataire Gothic tracery in its windows, was also built at this time. (It was not at all rare, to use the Gothic style in Hungary in the ecclesiastical art of the period.) The symmetric layout of these châteaux followed Late Renaissance Italian examples; their exterior decoration was, however, excessively puritan: the walls were plain and undivided, decorated only by the entrance gate, framed by rusticated pilasters (for example, in Sárvár and Léka/Lockenhaus, Austria). The architects, when known at all, were masters from Northern Italy who worked in the Habsburg territories, north of the Alps.

The architecture of Royal Hungary: Upper Hungary

Renaissance architecture in Upper Hungary was much more diverse, depending on the proximity of the various parts to the Austrian, Moravian, Polish or Transylvanian regions. The facades of buildings were also characterised here by large, undivided plains, with a crenellation on the top and quoins on the corners. The courtyards were surrounded by arcades resting on columns or pillars. This arrangement remained the same throughout the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, even though the decoration and the architectural details changed. Castle architecture was also the most dominant in this region; both new fortresses were built (in Komárom/Komarno and Érsekújvár/Nové Zámky) and old castles modernised (Árva/Orava, Trencsény/Trencín). From the end of the sixteenth century, residential castles were also often laid out symmetrically. The late-sixteenth-century château of the Thurzós in Nagybiccse (Bytea) also had a rectangular ground-plan, sturdy round towers on the corners, and an arcade surrounding its inner courtyard. The arcade was a very common motif, often found on aristocratic residences and burghers' town houses, and even occurring as an exterior feature on seventeenth-century facades (for example, in Alsómicsinye/Dolná Mitiná).

The "crenellated Renaissance"

For a long time, a special stylistic feature of Late Renaissance Hungarian architecture was known as the "crenellated Renaissance in Upper Hungary." This category needs to be revised today: the "crenellated Renaissance" did not originate in Hungarian architecture, and it was universal in the Eastern European region. In the upper part of Royal Hungary, however, it was indeed very frequently used for the ornamentation of buildings. The various forms of crenellations were usually placed over the main entablature of buildings, occasionally with an intervening attic storey. The crenellation as an emphasised decorative architectonic motif was widespread in sixteenth and seventeenth-century architecture in Central Europe, and is of Northern Italian origin. It was equally used on churches, public and private urban buildings, and residential castles. It seems that in the Szepes and Sáros regions a local variant developed that originated directly from the work of the numerous Italian masters working in Hungary. The contemporary Hungarian name for this decoration (olaszfok, "Italian grades") also refers to this direct relationship. The forms of the decorative crenellation were very diverse; sometimes it was reduced to a blind arcade or appeared only in the pattern of the plastering, as in Hédervár. It often occurred together with the sgraffito technique, where the sgraffito patterns were usually purely ornamental (as in Késmárk/Kesmarok), but occasionally, as on the facade of the Berthóty château in Frics (Fricovce), the decoration included human figures as well. The decorative crenellation can also be found in Transylvania, although it spread there only during the reign of Gábor Bethlen, under the influence of ducal constructions. The "Italian grades" appeared first on the ducal palace of Gyulafehérvár (Alba Iulia), but the other ducal palaces in Várad (Oradea), Alvinc (Vinţu de Jos), Balázsfalva (Blaj), etc., also had a crenellation over the main entablature. Although this motif was still sometimes used in Transylvania in the eighteenth century, it never became as popular there as in Upper Hungary.

The castle of Sárospatak

Péter Perényi, who like many other lords kept changing allegiance between the two rival kings after the battle of Mohács, abandoned his family castle in Siklós because of the imminent Turkish threat and settled in the east, in Sárospatak. From the mid-1530s on, he built the so-called Red Tower in the south-east part of the town. This stout, strong building - in fact a residence tower - had several storeys with vaulted rooms in them. In the great hall, the fireplaces and the richly moulded door and window frames, decorated with garlands and crowned by lunettes carrying the Perényi coat of arms, count among the highest quality Renaissance carvings in Hungary in the period following the battle of Mohács. Still in the first half of the sixteenth century, new palace wings were attached to the tower; some stone carvings from them carry the dates 1540 and 1542. The complex was significantly enlarged in the seventeenth century, when it was owned by the Rákóczi family. At this time, the palace wings were extended further, and the so-called Lórántffy loggia was built, an exterior staircase with arcades resting on columns, leading up to the tower. The interior decoration of the Red Tower itself was renewed at the same time, of which the most beautiful part was the recently restored tiled room. The walls of this representative chamber - an audience room - were covered from top to bottom with oriental tiles. (There were similar rooms in the ducal palace of Gyulafehérvár.) Wooden ceilings, tapestries with gold thread, and magnificent furniture made the whole castle comfortable to live in. The interior decoration is known to us from an inventory only, after a fire destroyed everything in the castle in 1703. Only the rich painted vaulting of the corner room of the east wing, the so-called "Sub rosa" oriel, testifies to the original splendour of the palace of Zsuzsa Lórántffy.

The castle of Győr

Castles were by far the most important buildings of sixteenth-century Hungary; the dominant genre of architecture being military. For many decades, enormous modern fortresses were built along the border of the territories under Turkish occupation. These buildings followed the principles of the great Italian sixteenth-century architects, Vignola and Serlio, and were in fact executed after the plans of Italian architects and according to the intentions of the Habsburg court. The most important fortress defending the military road to Vienna was the castle of Győr; therefore, King Ferdinand I gave orders already in 1537 for the fortification of this castle. Consequently, a new, modern fortification system that enclosed both the castle and the town was constructed. The series of bastions around the town were built after the design of Pietro Ferrabosco in the 1550s, and was altered several times before the end of the century. The work was directed by the Italian architects of the Office of Military Architecture. Within the walls, fortified by Italian bastions, the town itself was laid out on a geometrical ground-plan with a grid system of streets, according to the architectural principles of the Renaissance. The Viennese Gate, finished in 1568, was a monumental edifice with high quality architectural details. Its entrance was framed by rusticated pilasters, and there were enormous coats of arms, made of stone above its powerful entablature. The Fehérvári Gate, on the other hand, had no decoration other than some rusticated pilasters. These gates were the first examples in Hungary of a type of gate that later turned up on numerous castles and châteaux in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries (in Sárvár and Németújvár/Güssing, Austria). The fortress of Győr was still unfinished when the town was captured by the Turks in 1594. Although the town was recaptured four years later, the bastions and the fortified walls received their final form only in the seventeenth century. There were other symmetrically laid out fortresses in Komárom, Kanizsa, Érsekújvár (Nové Zámky, Slovakia), Tata, and elsewhere in the territory of Royal Hungary.

The castle of Várad (Oradea, Romania)

Várad, a bishopric seat on the edge of the Great Plains, became a gateway to Transylvania after the advance of the Turks. The modernisation of the medieval fortress was begun under the reign of János Zsigmond. Instead of the earlier, asymmetrical wall system which also incorporated the cathedral, a new, pentagonal fortification was planned with large bastions with corner projections on each corner. The architect of the castle was in all likelihood Giulio Cesare Baldigara, who designed fortresses not only for the Duke of Transylvania, but also for the Habsburg court. The construction was continued from 1571 under István Báthory (who as Polish king sent his Italian architects, first Domenico Ridolfini, then Simone Genga, to Várad from Cracow), but the fortress was still unfinished at the end of the century. It was finally Gábor Bethlen who had the fortification completed. He also had an enormous pentagonal palace building (consisting of five wings with five corner towers) planned to be built on the site of the ruins of the medieval cathedral and the archiepiscopal palace, the type of symmetrically laid out building with which sixteenth-century Italian architects were preoccupied. The finished parts of this new building were lavishly decorated; the activity of numerous painters and sculptors has been documented here. Today a single surviving room with stucco decoration testifies to Gábor Bethlen's ambitious artistic programme. Real and imaginary animals - elephants, leopards, griffins, unicorns - represent the "abundance of the whole world," as Pál Háportoni Forró, the history writer of the duke, put it in his writings about the castle of Várad. During the time of György Rákóczi I, the inner castle was also more or less finished by 1660. In the same year, after a siege of two months, Várad fell to the Turks.

The constructions of Gábor Bethlen

The short reign of just over one and half decades of Gábor Bethlen was characterised by feverish building activities. János Szalárdi saw clearly the reason behind this: "Duke Gábor Bethlen... had at his seat in Fejérvár and in his castles at Radnót, Alvinc, Balázsfalva, Fogaras and Várad such grand, new, splendid houses erected ...and founded such magnificent buildings... which would promise him immortality." The duke paid special attention to his seat Gyulafehérvár (Alba Iulia). He enlarged the ducal palace that had been made uninhabitable by the political turmoil at the turn of the century, arranging the building complex around the three courts that are still distinguishable today. He intended to turn the indefensible castle into a huge fortification, of which two bastions were completed during his reign. He also renovated the cathedral and the water supply system, and had various ideas for an overall rearrangement of the town. He provided a new building for the Collegium Academicum, his "Protestant university." In other parts of Transylvania, too, he had several castles and châteaux constructed; the interior decoration of these enormous buildings was characterised by extravagant wealth. In his building activities, Bethlen was also motivated by political ambitions: he realised that his artistic representation had to match these ambitions. On the basis of written sources, we can form a clear idea of the luxury of the ducal court. Not only goldsmiths from Kolozsvár (Cluj) worked regularly for Bethlen, but he also imported valuable goldsmith's works from abroad, for example, from Vienna. He spent unheard of amounts on tapestries; for the series representing the story of Alexander the Great, for example, he paid 16,000 tallers. He had luxurious objects sought and purchased for him everywhere from Venice to Constantinople.

Symmetrically laid out buildings with corner towers in Transylvania

The series of symmetrically laid out castles and châteaux with corner towers form a peculiar group within Transylvanian Renaissance architecture. Chronologically the first of these is the château of Alvinc (Vinţu de Jos), planned for Gábor Bethlen, which was laid out on a ground plan of a hexagon inscribed into a oval. However, the building was never completed in this form. Construction was started before 1617, but work was still in progress in the 1630s, when János Mezobándi Egerházi executed its coffered ceilings. The rectangular château with four corner towers in Radnót (Iernut) was built between 1617-21 by Simon Péchi, the major patron of the Sabbatarians, then construction was continued by the duke himself. In Várad (Oradea), work on the pentagonal ducal palace in the middle of the fortress, with five corner towers, began after 1618. In Csíkszereda (Miercurea-Ciuc), the castle of Ferenc Mikó was laid out on a rectangular plan and built with four Italian bastions after 1613. The Lónyay château in Aranyosmedgyes (Medieou Aurit) was also rectangular, with four strong corner towers. This building was finished, according to an inscription on the gate, in 1630. All of the above mentioned buildings were constructed during the reign of Gábor Bethlen. The most monumental examples of this type were built for the duke himself; the others, for the members of his court. Simon Péchi was Bethlen's chancellor until he fell from the duke's favour and the predecessor of Ferenc Mikó as the captain of Csík-Gyergyó-Kászonszék region. Zsigmond Lónyai was the count (ispán, comes parochialis) of Kraszna county. These symmetrically laid out buildings are not the inventions of local, Transylvanian architecture; rather, their appearance can be explained by the presence of one of the Italian architects working in Transylvania, Giacomo Resti, from the Como region.

The architecture of Transylvania in the seventeenth century

The reign of György Rákóczi I was as much characterised by extensive building projects as his predecessor's had been. The course of his constructions can be fairly well traced on the basis of contemporary documents, which also mention the numerous names of the architects involved. Before his election as Duke of Transylvania, Rákóczi built on his family estates in Hungary, mainly in Sárospatak. After 1630, he erected new buildings in Gyulafehérvár (Alba Iulia) and Fogaras (Fagarao). In the beginning, Giacomo Resti, the architect of Gábor Bethlen, worked for him, but he soon left for Royal Hungary, and for a number of years we have no indications of an Italian master working in Transylvania. There were, however, a number of local masters working on various buildings, such as "the lame mason, Anthony" from Dés, the "architect Master Matthias," or Gábor Haller, who had been trained abroad. There were few trained architects in Transylvania and there were therefore continuous attempts to tempt masters from abroad. The Gothic vaulting of the church in Farkas street in Kolozsvár (Cluj) was rebuilt, in the absence of local masters, by masons from Kurland. Not until some time before 1648 did another Italian master, the Venetian Agostino Serena, arrive in Transylvania. His activities there, however, cannot be connected to any newly erected building. When in 1660 the Turks ravaged Transylvania, a great period came to an end. The last monumental Late Renaissance château, in Bethlenszentmiklós (Sînmiclaus), was built after this event. Its architect was the landholder Miklós Bethlen himself, the famous writer of memoirs, who learned the art of architecture when travelling in Europe. His rectangular château, with corner towers, merges Venetian reminiscences with the local architectural traditions. Its two-storey, arcaded back facade, opening onto the Kisküküllő river, make this building the most representative seventeenth-century residence in Transylvania.

Residential castles in seventeenth-century Hungary

The commissioners of Baroque art in Royal Hungary, especially in the western parts, were predominantly the Hungarian aristocrats who were loyal to the court. The most notable among them were, primarily, the Esterházy as well as the Batthyány, Nádasdy, Zrínyi, and Pálffy families. The interiors of their residential castles were especially decorated in the new style, while the exteriors preserved their fortified character because of the constant threat of war. Inside, the representative series of rooms and the castle chapel often had a rich stucco decoration, as can be seen in the still standing castle of the Pálffys in Vöröskő (Cervený Kamen, Slovakia). Here the great hall was notable not only because of its location but also due to its sheer size. In its richly painted decoration historical scenes also appear (similarly to the Turkish battle scenes in Sárvár). In many of these residences, a sala terrena, a kind of cooling room, was included at the lowest level, imitating a natural cave and richly decorated with marine iconography. In the Pálffy castle, this room has also survived intact, with the frescos of Carpoforo Tencala decorating its ceiling. The first new type of residence that also resembled a palace in its exterior appearance was the Esterházy château in Kismarton (Eisenstadt, Austria). The original, rectangular medieval castle with four corner towers was used as a core to be surrounded by a series of rooms, both from inside and outside. In its overall volume, the building preserved much of that of the old castle (the hidden corner towers were, for example, originally emphasised by onion domes above them), but the facade itself, with its giant pilasters rising through two storeys, the series of pedimented windows, and the monumental main entablature, received a unified Baroque character. Within the building an enormous, two-storey high festive hall was included. Its ceiling was decorated by Carpoforo Tencala with a representative fresco cycle depicting the glorification of the Esterházy family.

The Jesuit church in Nagyszombat (Trnava, Slovakia)

The Baroque style appeared in the visual arts in Hungary in the second quarter of the seventeenth century. At that time, the stylistic elements of the Late Renaissance were still present, especially in Transylvania, and the new style achieved hegemony only at the beginning of the eighteenth century. The first commissioners of Baroque art were the Catholic Church, the royal court, and the nobility loyal to the court who had reconverted to Catholicism. Its most important patrons were the Jesuits. Traditionally, the beginning of Baroque art in Hungary is considered to be 1629, the year in which the construction of the Jesuit church was begun in Nagyszombat, the ecclesiastical centre of the country. The patron of the construction was the palatine, Miklós Esterházy. The design, by an anonymous Italian master, followed that of the Jesuit church in Vienna, and, through this church, the home church of the order, the Il Gesu in Rome. The enormous, spacious nave of the church was covered by a barrel vault, and had a row of chapels on each side. While the ground-plan is obviously of Roman origin, the facades and the exterior were formed in the artistic formal language of the territories north of the Alps. Such a feature is the two towers on the main facade or the powerful entablatures that break trough the harmonic relationship of the classical orders. The church in Nagyszombat became an example to follow for other Jesuit churches all over the country: the churches in Győr (1634-41), Trencsén (Trencín, Slovakia) (1653-57) and Kassa (Košice, Slovakia) (1653-57) were all modelled on this prototype. The high quality interior decoration of the church of Nagyszombat was also much copied, especially the enormous high altar covering the whole wall of the sanctuary, with its outstanding altarpiece (The Baptism of Christ, 1640) and larger than life-size statues, as well as the rich stucco decoration of the chapels (1655).

The applied arts

The legacy of the applied arts of the period, especially of the seventeenth century, is unparalleled in its richness. Although many significant works of furniture, textile, and ceramics survive, the most outstanding pieces, which can also be considered paradigmatic for the totality of the minor arts, are those of goldsmiths' work. The majority of the most representative pieces were ordered by West-Hungarian aristocrats and prelates from the great European Late Renaissance and Baroque centres of metalcrafts, such as Nuremberg and Augsburg. The Nádasdy, Batthyány, and Esterházy families commissioned work regularly from the goldsmiths of Augsburg, while the large cross of Márton Hetési Pethe, Archbishop of Kalocsa, is a work from Ulm (preserved in the Cathedral Treasury of Győr). In the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, however, the local goldsmiths' guilds were also very active and produced first quality work. The pitcher of Antal Losonczi (1548), measuring over a meter in height, is a masterpiece even by European standards, as is the enamelled golden chalice (1640) by István Brózer, a goldsmith of Kolozsvár (Cluj, Romania). Sebestyén Hann, an outstanding goldsmith in the last third of the seventeenth century, was the member of one of the most important goldsmiths' guilds in Nagyszeben (Sibiu, Romania). His plates and table decorations show the influence of the Augsburg workshops. The most beautiful collection of goldsmiths' works from the period is preserved in the Esterházy treasury. The various sixteenth- and seventeenth-century decorative dishes and jewellery (pendants and necklaces) in this aristocratic collection, the only one to have come down to us relatively intact, represent goldsmiths' works from nearly all of Europe, and mirror, on a smaller scale, the diverse artistic culture which generally characterised the Hungarian aristocratic courts in this period.


The Music of the Hungarian Royal Court and the Principality of Transylvania

Music in Europe was universally an integral part of court life, and in this way almost inseparable from the everyday life of the reigning courts. There was music on state holidays (coronations, inauguration of princes, weddings, funerals, celebrations of political occurrences, the reception of envoys) and also at church ceremonies. The records speak of carnival dances as well as music to accompany dinners and other meals, music for dancing to follow meals and music for entertainment in the royal residence.

Hungary was no exception to setting a high value on musical life. Numerous sources testify to the incidence of music in the post-1542 Hungarian royal courts, and to the music of the Principality of Transylvania that developed after the occupation of Buda in 1542. The documents are, however, often few in number and show gaps chiefly because the pre-1655 court documents (household bills, notes and accounts of the royal courts, royal and aristocratic correspondence) were destroyed in the Turkish Wars as were the scores and lists of music. Despite the often scant sources, it may be easily established that there was no Magyar monarch who did not retain at least some musicians in his service, or from whose reign no documents mentioning music have come down. Even the strictly Calvinist rulers of Transylvania (György Rákóczi, Mihály Apafi) of the 17th century employed musicians - sometimes quite a few of them.

The desire to keep in contact with foreign countries and abreast of the European music life of the period was present and put in motion a fundamentally unified process despite the rather sharp political changes and relapses that were going on.

A good many sources demonstrate the aspiration of Hungarian rulers to take on excellent foreign musicians whenever possible. The distribution of these foreign musicians according to the countries of their origins show an orientation toward the important music centers west or south of Hungary. These musicians came chiefly from countries and regions near Hungary - from the southern parts of Germany, from Austria and Silesia, from Northern Italy (chiefly the Venetian Republic), and from Poland. There is evidence that German (Silesian) musicians, and a couple of Italians from the times of John I of Szapolya and Isabel, established their presence in the courts of Wladislas II, Louis II and his queen Marie /Maria of Habsburg/. Although Transylvania was politically dependent on the Ottoman Empire, no trace survived in the Principality of Turkish music or Turkish musicians. In the courts of the Transylvanian princes (János Zsigmond, Zsigmond Báthory, Gábor Báthory, and Gábor Bethlen), Italian musicians appeared with just about the same frequency as did Germans, Silesians or Poles.

Until the end of the reign of Gábor Bethlen in Transylvania, there was nothing to indicate that Hungarian court music was particularly backward in comparison to other parts of Europe. However, starting with the 1630s and the reign of György Rákóczi, the music of the Hungarian courts began to fall behind at a faster rate and eventually took an entirely different course. From the middle of the century, the general - in fact almost exclusive - practice was to employ local musicians (Hungarians, Transylvanian Saxons and Romanians), and by that time the music life of the Transylvanian court showed a wide split from contemporaneous European music.

The number of musicians playing in the court ensembles remained unrecorded. Although some of the Magyar rulers had apparently only a few musicians, the full number of their instrumentalists was in some cases close to thirty, a fairly high figure according to the international standards of the times. There is no doubt about the fact that the court ensembles were not of a random composition: there are documents to show that the Hungarian rulers regularly sought out suitable singers and instrumentalists both at home and abroad. Their concern also extended to the education of young musicians. They enquired about talented new blood chiefly in the towns, and sometimes even imported replacements from abroad.

The court ensembles should not be regarded as accidental groups of musicians collected just for the duration of some event. Many of them, including the imported performers, served for long years - sometimes for decades - in the same place. There is a regrettable lack of information about most of these musicians. Often not even their full name is known, and there are no data about their careers. Still, it has been established about some of them that before they were offered employment in Hungary, they had been active in such major centres of music as Rome, Ferrara, Mantua, Munich, Vienna and Graz. The ruling courts suited the sorts of performers they employed to the different kinds of music they wanted to hear. Of course, this was the general practice all over Europe.

The capellas played a special role in Catholic courts. The cantors, under the direction of the choir leader priests, performed chiefly at Mass, but it became a general practice for them as early as in the 1400s to perform, together with choir-boys from schools, on other occasions, such as feasts and festivities as well. Most of the cantors - as demonstrated by the frequent modification of the word by the Latin adjective musicus - were trained musicians. In the case of the Calvinist princes of Transylvania, the records speak of only a single court cantor and a few apprentice cantors who did not take part in secular events.

Only the courts of Wladislas II, Louis II and the latter's queen, Marie, have gone on record for their choirs set up to perform polyphonic church and secular madrigals after the 1500s. It is interesting that Louis and his queen had separate singers - just as Matthias and Beatrix did in an earlier period. In the courts that existed after the disastrous Battle of Mohács in 1526, there may have been singers in the service of Zsigmond Báthory. There are data hinting at the existence of such performers in the second decade of Gábor Bethlen's reign (from 1624 onward). The few German and Italian singers in the employ of the Calvinist Bethlen performed obviously outside of the liturgy.

The magister capellae directed the musicians in the employ of the court. As this Latin term or its German equivalent are but infrequently used in Hungarian sources, the head of the musical performers is - with the exception of several cases - impossible to identify. Thomas Stoltzer, the famous Silesian composer who was Queen Marie's musician from 1522 to 1526, is known today principally for his Noli Emulari, a work composed on the Queen's order, and passed down to posterity.

The trumpeters and the drummers attached to them were always a distinct unit of the musicians performing in royal courts. Their numbers were more or less constant: the king, and the reigning prince of Transylvania, generally had from five to nine trumpeters in the 16th century; and later their number increased to about eight or twelve. They were joined by one or two kettle drummers and in some cases several infantry drummers. Not only the ruler had his trumpeters, the Queen, and later the wife of the reigning prince of Transylvania also had theirs. These signalling instruments were considered essential requisites in court. Gábor Bethlen wrote for posterity: We cannot go about without the fanfare of drums and trumpets.

Transylvanian sources of the 17th century present the kettle drum as a symbol of power on a par with the flag. In the age of the Rákóczis and Mihály Apafi it was often called the State Drum - and the kettle-drummer the State Drummer. Trumpet and drum signals directed the armies - as well as the daily routine in the courts. They were used to indicate the passage of time and the arrival of delegations. They warned of the approach of danger and hailed rulers of peaceful intent when they arrived with their entourages.

In the courts of Gábor Bethlen and George Rákóczi I, there were also three or four German and Polish trumpeters in addition to the local ones. According to contemporaneous German practice, they probably played polyphonic music as an ensemble.

Less clear is the role of the woodwind players (then called pipers or Turkish pipers). Similar to the infantry drummers, they must have been connected with the troops in service at the court, and obviously had a role in issuing commands to the forces. In addition they played music for dancing, too. Starting with the mid-17th century, Transylvanian documents even refer to bagpipes.

Another group of court musicians - the sources call them simply musicians - played secular music to enhance the dignity of certain occasions or for entertainment. This group contained the largest number of non-Hungarians, and included the players of keyboard instruments, plucked instruments, strings and of lutes. (There are data referring to the latter from the court of King János Szapolyai (John of Szapolya). This group reflects the most closely how the personality of different sovereigns prompted them to listen to different types of music. Only music-loving monarchs like Zsigmond Báthory or Gábor Bethlen employed such musicians in significant numbers.

Probably because of the popularity of keyboard instruments, their players - whom the sources call organists or virginalists regardless of the actual instrument they played - were integral to the court ensembles in Hungary. They certainly performed liturgical music as well, though providing secular performances was their main responsibility.

Because of the practical utilisation and great popularity of the instrument in the period, lute-players figured in the annals of history, up to the reign of Prince George Rákóczi I in the 1630s, in most of the courts - sometimes with several performers at the same time.

Bálint Bakfark (1526/1530-1576), perhaps the finest lute player of the period, was the only Hungarian musician able to rise to the top in his times. He descended from a Brassó (today Brasov, Romania) family, and studied in the court of King John already as a child, probably from 1536 onward. His music master was an Italian whose name is not on record, and Bakfark remained devoted to the style of music he had been taught. The Italian influence is detectable even in his later works written after 1549 when he was already engaged abroad.

It is considerably more difficult to create a reliable image of the string players, especially as the term violinist generally used to denote them renders the identification of the instrument or instruments they played very difficult. Hungarian sources (especially those of the 17th century) mention strings of various types and sizes, for instance, small violin, large violin, Bassgeige, violone, and viola da gamba, which may have been all in use in the reigning courts of the period.

It is more than likely that most of the court musicians played several instruments, always picking the one necessary at the moment. Probably, instrumentalists also sang when required, in some cases in several voices, as singing was an integral part of musical performances during the period.

At coronations, the inauguration of reigning princes, weddings in the royal family, visits by dignitaries, and other important events, court musicians were joined by auxiliaries borrowed from the upper nobility or from the townships. It was also customary to invite a good number of foreign musicians. For György Rákóczi's wedding in 1643, for instance, a complete ensemble arrived from Vienna. High-ranking persons visiting Hungary were often accompanied by their musicians, joining their masters, of course, only on the scene.

Itinerant musicians or performers passing through on a long journey, rarely missed calling at the courts on their way. It is on record, for instance, that Queen Isabel was visited by Sebestyén Tinódi-Lantos, that eminent Hungarian chronicler of long-past and contemporaneous occurrences, who summarized in his Transylvanian History what he had seen and heard at the court in Transylvania.

The kind of music actually heard and listened to at the courts is, however, far less well known in contrast to the multitude of data available on the role of musicians and events associated with the performance of music.

Missing are the scores of music used in the courts. Only one or two early religious reference books containing a few scores have survived, nor has anyone gained access to lists of court music. Likewise, there are no data on scores musicians may have owned, although some of them certainly acquired such auxiliary material. Hard to find are any reports on the music heard or reviews of the performances given in Hungarian royal or princely courts. Identifiable instances of liturgic music presented as part of the religious services constitute the only exception. The Gregorian melodies sung in a single voice at Catholic castles were a regular part of Mass. In the case of the Protestant reigning princes of Transylvania, psalms and other songs sung by Protestant congregations performed a similar role. The song of grace Te Deum Laudamus regularly sung throughout Europe was also often heard at major state and political events or at great festivities in Hungary.

In regard to works of music, one usually does not merely ask what was heard, but is equally interested in the answer given to the question what kind of performers the interpreters were, what their performance was like. Obviously the possibilities varied from performance to performance. In ideal cases probably every part or voice of a given vocal work was sung, but obviously such renderings were rarely possible. The musicians of old, however, did not regard this kind of curtailment as a handicap: they were used to much greater freedom in the treatment of compositions than is given today. The works were only a starting point from which the variation they intended to play was developed. Vocal scores were, for instance, often replaced with instruments, nor was it in any way unusual to omit one voice or several voices from a given performance. The radical abbreviation of the works was also common practice, and a lot of compositions were otherwise transformed or transcribed. There is reason to believe that music was often transcribed to a single-keyboard or plucked instrument.

Several Hungarian kings and reigning princes were themselves qualified in the use of instruments. Although their education had focused above all on Government, areas of political orientation, and military affairs, they could have ill afforded neglecting the subjects of general culture, music included. Louis II, Zsigmond Báthory and Andrew Báthory were, for instance, noted for their love of music. János Zsigmond is reputed to have played the flute to perfection, and a contemporaneous master is alleged to have described him excellent both as a vocalist and instrumentalist. In 1561 a visitor calling on him in some political matter gratified him with the gift of a fine lute.

About Zsigmond Báthory an Italian musician in his employ wrote that the Prince played several instruments and composed works that vied with music written by the finest composers. In fact even musicians serving other masters presented Báthory with dedications of their works. The Kapellmeister of the imperial court Philip de Monte dedicated a volume of his madrigals (Decimosettimo Libro de Madrigali, Venice 1595) to Báthory. Girolamo Diruta went further: he not only dedicated his organ school to the Transylvanian ruler, but entitled an original work Il Transilvano in honour of the Prince.

András Báthory, a cousin of Zsigmond's, played the virginal, and in 1584 Palestrina himself, that giant of Renaissance music, dedicated to him a publication and a work included in it. Some of the queens and prince consorts hailing from countries outside of Hungary (e.g., Marie Krisztierna, and Catherine of Brandenburg) are also on record as music lovers and skilled instrumentalists.

From 1527 on, the court of the kings of the Habsburg Dynasty who ruled part of Hungary used to stay the most frequently in Vienna or Prague. Consequently the Habsburg musicians did not play an important part in the music life of Hungary. The King and his court including the royal ensemble appeared, however, in Hungary for any coronation in Pozsony (today Bratislava, Slovakia) and to attend some sessions of the Diet regularly meeting in that town. On these occasions, the musicians played to the deputies of the upper nobility and established contacts with their musicians. There are a variety of documents to testify to the contacts between the court musicians of the Habsburgs and other Viennese performers with the Hungarian aristocracy, principally with members of the Nádasdy, Batthyány and Esterházy families.

Besides Krakow and Venice, especially Vienna and Prague, the seats of the Habsburg kings of Hungary, played major roles in supplying the courts in Hungary with music. The reigning princes of Transylvania often invited musicians from Vienna or had their agents seek out suitable musicians there. Concrete data indicate that they had some of their instruments and violin and viola strings - largely German or Italian products - purchased in Vienna or Prague.

Music in the Life of the Nobility

Music was a natural accompaniment to everyday events in the courts and residences of the Hungarian aristocracy. Music and dancing concluded not only the great weddings and other parties - where the provision of music was usually a lavish affair - but was performed even at intimate dinners. The 17th century palace, castle and mansion inventories often refer to the ornamental wooden galleries in the biggest hall of the building where the musicians were seated on festive occasions as the dancing palace or dance house. The men and women of the nobility not only found delight in the performances of the musicians, but many of them were themselves skilled in the use of an instrument.

Music in the courts of the magnates was not so strictly regulated as at royal and princely courts where it was a mandatory part of life. The variety in the number of musicians employed depended primarily on the personal wishes - modest or ambitious - of family members. There were no set rules according to one's rank in the hierarchy of the nobility on the standard of music provided, the number of musicians employed or the composition of the ensembles at any party. Apart from the mention of trumpeters and drummers, the sources do not contain any data about musicians in the courts of rich peers enjoying great power through the posts of national importance they filled (e.g. being in the service of Palatine Tamás Nádasdy and his son Ferenc, or of the Batthyánys, before the end of the 16th century). There were no church musicians in residence with the nobility - except for a few families of the upper nobility such as the Nádasdys, the Batthyánys, Esterházys, and Thökölys in the 17th century.

Apparently the nobility, the leading aristocrats included, employed just the number and quality of musicians the occasion demanded. Miklós Esterházy's account in 1627 demonstrates this: We were guests in the ignominious company of a great many drums and trumpets, and there was likewise an abundance of tambourine-playing Turkish singers, Gypsy violinists, and the kind of dulcimer players who are no better than pub-loafers.

Musicians belonged to the middle strata of the court people. Some violin players and pipers not only received regular annuities, but were sometimes even deemed worthy of endowments of a house or a piece of land. Nor should Sebestyén Tinódi-Lantos, who had served for a long time at the court of Bálint Török, be regarded as poor as he was fond of claiming in his poems: after all, he managed to purchase a valuable house in the 1550s in Kassa (today Kosice, Slovakia). Ambrus Lantos Görcsöni and his family were granted nobility in 1557 through the intermediation of Gáspár Homonnay-Drugeth. King Ferdinand conferred a coat of arms and peerage on Tinódi - probably owing to the musician's patrons among the aristocracy.

The performers at the distinguished residences were not exclusively locals. Foreigners appeared in the ranks of string, plucked-instrument, and keyboard players just as frequently as among the trumpeters, and were even employed as ensemble directors. Foreigners were employed not only by magnate families living close to the western frontiers, but also in the courts of the aristocracy in districts free of Turkish rule. German-Austrian and Italian musicians prevailed, but there were also Poles and South-Slavs. Probably not everyone who is denoted as Hungarian in the sources was actually Magyar. Probably only families of the lower nobility employed exclusively locals as they had no more than a couple or so musicians and could not pick and choose.

Some aristocrats in the parts of the country close to the Turkish-occupied areas employed musicians, tambourine players, or singers with tambourines or lutes. Some of them were apparently captives. There is no doubt that Turkish music did affect the upper nobility who came into contact with the Turks.

Some evidence for this is provided by the Turkish song marks used in the poems of Bálint Balassi and also by a letter dating from 1596 by György Zrinyi in which he writes in glowing terms about his Turkish tambour player by the name of Bajazet: More beautiful than whose playing I had never heard and, I believe, nowhere else on this earth of ours would anyone hear better.

A contemporaneous entry in a diary (1687) mentions a Court Comedy (probably an oratorio) performed at János Pálffi's palace in honour of the imperial victory over the enemy - in all probability at the recapture of Buda in 1686. The same historical turning point was celebrated in a Mass written by the Italian composer Matteo Simonelli.

On the other hand, it is well-nigh impossible to present a more or less reliable picture of the kind of music performed by local musicians, not to mention works originally written here in Hungary in the 16th and 17th centuries.

It is about the bards that the sources provide the most information. The Cronica written by Tinódi who spent long years in the service of aristocrats, and published in Kolozsvár in 1554, has, for instance, preserved some of the bard's melodies with the words attached. (His song about the Battle of Egervár is still remembered in Transylvania as a folk melody though with different words.) Apart from Tinódi's works, the melodies of a good many verse-chronicles by other authors have been preserved elsewhere.

Travelling - an everyday affair for aristocrats - usually involved the enjoyment of music, too. The 16th-century accounts of the Nádasdy family refer to student bards and village musicians as well as municipal trumpeters from the towns of Kolozsvár, Nagyszeben and Szászsebes, and the trumpeters, lute players and violinists of other noble families. There are also data on lute and other plucked-instrument players from Vienna; Viennese musicians and Polish performers visiting the imperial capital, and about the tower musicians of the city and St. Stephan's Cathedral. At the Pozsony diets (1554, 1561, 1569, 1572), in addition to the tower musicians from the town and the pipers of the Castle, the King's trumpeters, discantors, singers, violin players, and the frequently mentioned Italian violinists entertained the Palatine and his son.

In those days, Vienna offered the delights of music primarily to those who frequented the Habsburg court, such as national officials. (The Esterházys preserved the librettos of several 17th-century operas performed in the court of the Habsburgs.) Those who travelled on diplomatic missions, and the Hungarian students of the nobility who studied at foreign universities and colleges, also had access to plenty of musical experience. There are diaries, letters, accounts and other papers to testify to their presence at festivities in Vienna, Germany, Venice and Rome. Some of them had the chance to attend operatic performances in Vienna or Italy, and many took music and dancing lessons abroad.

At home, these students turned the skills they had acquired abroad to good use. As a number of sources reveal, the everyday life of aristocratic courts was enhanced by the amateur concerts of family members and other householders. Young people who had not had the chance to stay abroad for any length of time, had the alternative of applying to municipal musicians or receiving instruction from court musicians, relatives, or members of the court who had already acquired some skill in playing music. Johannes Wohlmuth, the organ player in Sopron, for instance, gave Clavir (piano or clavichord) lessons to Pál Esterházy's two sons. Apparently, the nobility had some predilection for individual solo performances. Chamber music, instrumental performances in small or larger ensembles, were hardly in vogue at the time. The immense lists and accounts of the castles, palaces and mansions - in which the material referring to music has not yet been properly researched - mention, apart from drums and trumpets, chiefly keyboard instruments (clavichords, pairs of virginals, small wind-blown organs) and plucked instruments (mostly lutes, and in some cases lyres, perhaps harps). Strings figure infrequently (although violins are referred to in the documents); and, except for trumpets, winds hardly appear in the inventories. The instruments - sometimes including valuable ornamental pieces - must have chiefly served the private pleasure of family members.

Church music

When the Turks occupied the Roman Catholic centre of Esztergom in 1543, the Archbishopric and the Collegiate Church together with the school were resettled in Nagyszombat. Although earlier the running of the Esztergom cathedral was regarded as a model for the churches and dioceses of the country, the general deterioration and the inevitable reduction of the staff that accompanied the onslaught of Turkish occupation in the mid-16th century, hampered music life in the church. These negative processes were accelerated by the spread of the Reformation, which was beginning to affect the Court in Buda and some of the towns of Upper Hungary as early as the 1520s and 1530s.

By the 1570s, the religious affiliation of the population showed a sharply altered pattern. The Catholic majority was maintained only in the neighbourhood of Nagyszombat (today Trnava, Slovakia), Pozsony (today Bratislava, Slovakia), Győr, and among the Székelys of Transylvania.

Until the Peace Treaty of Vienna in 1606, Protestants were considerably restricted in the practice of their religion. At the time of the Thirty Years' War, however, Protestants from Silesia, Bohemia, and Austria were already seeking asylum in Hungary. These religious refugees included such significant church musicians as Samuel Capricornicu and Andreas Rauch.

Gregorian songs and Strophic Folksinging in Hungarian in the Protestant congregations

In consequence of the Turkish occupation and the partition of Hungary, the country's musical centres moved to peripherial districts. Folk singing, Gregorian songs, and strophic singing in Hungarian began to flourish in the rendering of Protestant congregations almost simultaneously with the emergence of the Reformation and soon manifested itself in printed songbooks. The earliest document of the new repertory following the cancios of the late Middle Ages consisted of songs associated with Luther (the István Gálszécsi collection from 1536, known only in fragments). This was interesting because Reformation-period singing in Germany did not have a significant influence upon the choral material of Hungarian reformed congregations, affecting them even less than Czech-Hussite singing did. It was the tenets and liturgy of the Reformation that helped to develop the special genres of the new treasury of folk songs, the psalms and graces that precede and follow the sermon, and also the catechistic songs.

The printed hymn books of the 16th century designed for the use of congregations contained every type of song, and were edited in an arrangement that indicated the genre and the holy day for which each was intended. This was the case with the 1560 and 1574 songbooks by Gál Huszár including melodies by early Protestant composers as contemporaneously recorded; the songbooks from the Hungarian town of Debrecen from the 1560s; and the songbook edited by György Gönczi-Kovács from 1590.

As a result of the Lutheran Reformation, medieval Latin Gregorian chants became widely applied and translated into the mother tongue in about the mid-16th century. The Hungarian repertory of the Gregorian chants was passed down in graduals in manuscript or printed form, and maintained its hold firmly in both the Lutheran and Helvetian branches of the Reformation. From this period derive the two earliest complete sources, namely, Márton Kálmáncsehi's 1560 compilation printed as an appendix to Gál Huszár's 1560 collection: Reggeli éneklések (Morning Songs, Debrecen 1561), and the first part of Huszár's 1574 songbook. Each of the two books focus on one form of two types of religious services: Holy Mass and chant. The issue of The Old Gradual (Az Öreg Gradual, 1636) in the Principality of Transylvania, was by then an obsolete attempt at saving the choral material of the Reformed Church in a unified form. The joint aims of puritanism and the introduction of the Geneva psalm book (Psalterium Ungaricum. Hungarian translation by Albert Szenci-Molnár, Herborn 1607; first Hungarian edition with scores: Lőcse 1652) hastened the fall into neglect in the 17th century of the medieval Gregorian heritage and of the verse-songs of such early-Reformation-period composers as Gál Huszár, András Batizi, Gergely Szegedi, András Szkárosi-Horváth, and Péter Bornemisza.

Gregorian Chants and Strophic Folksinging in the Catholic Church

The Nagyszombat Synod of 1629 put an end to the continued cultivation of the Latin Gregorian chants when it decided in favor of introducing the Roman rite as recommended by the Trident Synod (Tridentinum). In Hungary, only the Franciscan Order had traditions that helped to preserve the customs and melodic versions of the Roman Gregorian chant. Available sources verify that the Zagreb bishopric, which had been saved from Turkish occupation, remained attached to its own liturgic traditions in its music. The Paulian Order on the other hand made arduous efforts to adjust the old melodic traditions from the Archbishopric of Esztergom to the Roman rites. Gregorian chants were losing ground in most of the Catholic churches in Hungary, a process that was accelerated by the new approach and organization of the humanist schools of the Jesuits.

At the same time, the use of the mother tongue and of strophic folksongs began to gain emphasis in the choral practice of the Catholic churches, especially in small towns and villages. The 1560 Synod of Nagyszombat made compulsory the submission of church songs to official approval. Catholic folk-singing received a new impetus during Counter Reformation. In order to make up for the lag of two centuries in comparison to the Protestants, two synods (those of 1629 and 1638, both at Nagyszombat) proposed the publication of a songbook. A compilation including scores was published under the title Cantus Catholici as edited in 1651 by the Jesuit Benedek Szőlősy (1609-1656). The book sampled the oldest Catholic song repertory and the heritage passed down in manuscripts as well as the outstanding contributions of Hungarian Baroque poetry (e.g., the works of Canon Mátyás Nyéki-Vörös /1575-1654/). Later editions provided reference material for folk-singing for some hundred-and-fifty years. A similar role was played by Psalms and Funeral Songs (Soltári és halottas énekek, 1693).

Position of Polyphonic Music

The major Catholic and Lutheran municipal churches attributed special importance to the practice of vocal and instrumental music in several voice parts. Townships advocated the close integration of church and school, and served as patrons of church music, though this patronage was influenced by denominational differences and fluctuations of the majority religion. Towards the end of the period, there were special endowments supported by church dignitaries (e.g., György Széchényi's foundations - 1684, 1695) to maintain the choirs and musicians of Catholic churches. As confirmed by the rules and regulations of the school in Nagyszombat issued by Archbishop Miklós Oláh and also by the known rules of German Lutheran town schools, performances of vocal music, and particularly the rehearsals of liturgic works sung in several parts, had an important role in school instruction.

St. Martin's Church belonging to the associated chapters of several Orders in the city of Pozsony kept up choral practice in several voice parts according to the liturgy (see Vesperale, Anna Hannsen Schuman Codex, 1571, containing 200 motets in imitation-Low-Countries style). As to the surviving mementos of such music, valuable are the collections of the Lutheran towns in Counties Szepes and Sáros in then Upper Hungary. The 16th century items of the Bártfa Collection show the quick adaptation of the motets of German Reformation. The Lőcse collection - largely of the 17th century - shows evidence of the study of religious music styles - chiefly through the works of Italian and German composers - over some one-hundred years. The assortment has also preserved some works by local and regional composers such as Samuel Capricornus, Johann Kusser, Sameue Marckfelner, Johann Schimbracky, Andreas Neoman, and Zacharius Zarewutius.

In addition to the manuscripts and the printed sheets of the period, there is access to surviving Hungarian compositions, the collections of scores from the Pozsony Lutheran Church (1651, 1652, 1657), the Lutheran Church of Eperjes (1661), and the German Lutheran school of Brassó (1575-1630), all proving that the major works of early Baroque religious music (Claudio Monteverdi, Alessandro Grandi, Samuel Scheidt, Johann Hermann Schein, Heinrich Schütz, and Andreas Hammerschmidt ) and their methods of composition (concertato motets accompanied with a continuo in just a few voice parts, and motets with several choirs) reached Hungary. As opposed to German anthologies of analogous character, the kind of polyphony or its absence did not vary with the individual denominations. The homophonous though polyphonic choral practices - the same melodic line to the accompaniment of several voice parts - with German, Latin, Czech, or Hungarian words of the musical material of the Protestant churches in the northern region, are recorded in the choral books of Leibitz or Liubica from the 1680s a well as in the Eperjes Gradual of 1635-1652.

Religious Orders

From the turn of the 16th century into the 17th, the Jesuits conducted regular singing and music lessons in an increasing number of municipal schools (starting in 1561 at Nagyszombat, and also in Győr and Kassa). With the aim of organising high-standard choral and instrumental ensembles in the churches and performing polyphonic music on important religious holidays, they sought to make their own arrangements independently of the municipal leadership. Although according to the 1659 stipulations of the Nagyszombat chapter of the Marist rule, the performance for Mass of polyphonic and instrumental music and the use of the organ were permitted only on important holidays.

The Missa franciscana spread widely in the course of the 17th century. Organo Missale (1667) by Joannes Kaioni, a Franciscan monk from Transylvania, Missale Choralisticum by Valerian Dubelovicz (MS, 1673), of Szombathely; and Liber Sacrorum Choralium (1691) by Edmund Benyovicz (Beovi) from Nagyszombat serve as the earliest known sources of typically Franciscan-style Masses and litanies, antiphones and other pieces. The repertory encompassed compositions based on Gregorian melodies of strophic structure, or resembling the Baroque Concertato. Four compositions for Mass have come down by Frantisek Vogler (1623-1688), a man of Moravian descent working between 1649 and 1654 as an organist of the Franciscans in Pozsony. Some works of Joannes Kaioni (Codex Caioni, 1634-1671; Sacri Concentus, 1669; and Cantionale Catholicum, 1676) provide an important key to the musical culture of the Transylvanian Franciscans, their close contacts with the Upper Hungary of the times, and to the influence they had on Transylvanian choral music.

Music in the Cities and Towns of Hungary

Hungarian towns had a widely varied music life in the period of the Turkish conquest in the 16th and 17th centuries. There were religious, and also legal and political reasons for the differences. The Catholic and Lutheran towns began to use polyphony in their church and school music somewhat later than the rest of Europe. At the same time, the Reformed-Church (Calvinist) and Unitarian settlements insisted on strictly single-voice performances without recourse to instruments, and strove to limit the use of festive music for entertainment even when addressed to the general population.

Music life was rich and varied in the free royal towns. These largely German-Protestant - generally Lutheran - settlements had their own organists, choirmasters and tower musicians, each producing music of a high standard in church and at town festivities with the participation of schoolboys who had regular choral practice. The city councils strove to employ well-trained musicians. In addition to the locally trained young people intended for replacement, successful performers from other parts of the country as well as a significant number of non-Hungarians were employed. The foreigners came largely from the near-by Austrian, South-German and Silesian territories, and sometimes from yet further afield. The changes caused by the Counter Reformation gaining impetus in the 17th century forced many to leave their homeland or place of work, and the opportunities to perform in Hungary were therefore welcomed.

The tower musicians (tower warden and his men) originally had the duty of keeping watch and producing widely audible signals, but with the passage of time their activity shifted to the field of music. According to the evidence of a good many sources, these musicians were proficient in the use of various instruments. The lists from 17th-century Transylvania (Segesvár - 1627, 1643, 1644; Nagyszeben - 1631) mention chiefly winds (trumpet, pozan, pommer, Schalmei, zink, bassoon, Blockflöte) , but made references to strings as well.

Today it seems clear that the tower musicians were not only skilled in producing the simple conventional signals or fanfares, but also commanded an extensive knowledge of music, many of them even being able to read scores. These were skills necessary for their work in the churches, involving the performance of high-quality music, which in turn was part of their job in the royal towns.

The proficiency in music of tower musicians is verified by the decrees and decisions of several cities. The people of Sopron, for instance, made mention of their practice of playing music in several voice parts. The contract for one of the tower musicians in Sopron (1549) prescribed that distinguished visitors to the town should be welcomed with music in four voice parts. Another tower musician emphasized in an application for a position (1599) that he provided five-part music instead of the usual four. In 1601 the Sopron Council decided that fine motets and madrigals should be performed on Sundays and other holidays as well as during the week.

The city of Pozsony supplied its own evidence for the tower musicians' skill in reading music when it purchased new motets for them to replace the outdated Josquin and Senfl works, in 1569. The list from Besztercebánya (1683) left in his will by Matthias Fabri, Instrumentalist Musicus, refers to several works of music originating from that town. Old trumpet scores were found in the legacy (1672) of Andreas Schwartz, trumpeter in the employ of the Transylvanian town of Beszterce. The Codex Vietoris from the 1670s preserved fanfares for two trumpets, and features scores written according to the tabulator (rule table) then used for organs, a system whose writing and reading required special skills.

A large number of sources verify that musicians active in different towns maintained contact with each other. They certainly exchanged the pieces to which they had access. This must be the explanation for the striking similarities between the Hungarian collections compiled in different places. Of course, frequent travel also helped to widen contacts. The town musicians often performed even at royal courts.

Local musicians were expected to provide table music for high-ranking personages visiting in the city, ranging from the Monarch and the Palatine, down to princes and others. These occasions benefited the musicians as they were paid extra fees for the special performances. There is recorded evidence of this practice. The accounts of the Polish Prince Zsigmond for the years 1500-1505 mention fees paid out to musicians in Buda, Esztergom and Nyitra. The records of the travel expenses of Palatine Tamás Nádasdy include such payments. The household accounts of Mihály Apafi, reigning prince of Transylvania, mention sums reserved for the organ-player from Segesvár and various musicians from Nagyszeben.

It was largely up to the town councils to supply the necessary scores. Not much is known, however, about the methods of acquisition. Printed matter may have been imported from abroad, but it is also possible that the prints came from local merchants. Instances of a town purchasing the scores from the legacy of certain citizens are also on record. The town of Bártfa, for example, bought three printed volumes bound together from the local schoolmaster. Some of the scores derived from presents. It was a custom for out-of-town musicians, chiefly foreigners, but also locals, to send gifts of printed or manuscript music to the local council, a gesture which may have suggested the expectation that it would not remain unrequited.

Of course, the town musicians - the users - were the most active in enlarging the stock of recorded music. The organists and choirmasters copied virtually everything within their reach, and some collections of scores are known to have been compiled by a town scribe who appreciated music. Some of these manuscripts in scores or in tabulatur form for the organ have come down to us as did the collection at Lőcse (today, Levoca Slovakia) and the Codex Vietoris.

The town, church and school libraries of the 16th and 17th centuries (Bártfa, Lőcse), the collections known from contemporaneous lists (Besztercebánya, Brassó, Eperjes, Körmöcbánya, Pozsony), and some individual manuscripts that have come down to posterity - for instance, the Anna Hannsen Schuman Codex, as well as fragments accidentally found at various places - add up to a tremendous store of music, most of it from the European repertory. The collections reveal the names of numerous musicians, including Josquin des Prez, Giovanni Gabrielli, Jacobus Gallus-Handl, Andreas Hammerschmidt, Hans Leo Hassler, Orlando di Lasso, Luca Marenzio, Claudio Monterverdi, Hieronymus Praetorius, Jacob Regnart, Johann Hermann Schein, Samuel Scheidt, Heinrich Schütz, and Adrian Willaert.

Besides foreigners, we also know about local composers: many of the organists and choirmasters wrote music, and much of their work has survived to this day. Included among them were such highly rated 17th-century composers as Andreas Rauch (Sopron), Samuel Capricornus (Pozsony), and Johann Kusser (Körmöcbánya, Sopron, and Pozsony).

There were very few makers and repairers of instruments in Hungary in this period. Repair was carried out by town craftsmen who were the most skilled in the woodwork, metalwork, or leather fashioning required, or by the musicians themselves. The townships often expected the organists to tune instruments and make minor repairs. For general repair and maintenance, foreign experts were invited in. In Upper Hungary chiefly Poles were active in this trade, while in Western Hungary, Austrians. The records show that a lot of tower musicians had a penchant for repair. Some musicians demonstrated their skill in the trade by building self-made instruments. This was done, for instance, by Johannes, the organist from Beszterce, who was sometimes referred to as "the organ-builder". In 1549, the town bought a wind-blown organ from him for 40 forints, in order to present the instrument to János Zsigmond, the young reigning prince of Transylvania. From the middle of the 16th century on, the organist Matias Burián and his son Hieronymus started to build organs and other keyboard instruments. A century later, Adam Bessler, tower musician for Kassa (today Kosice, Slovakia), and then Eperjes, became known for the strings he made, and afterwards for his plucked instruments.

In contrast with the royal cities, the agricultural towns - with a majority of Hungarians - did not retain musicians. This was the case with Catholic settlements as well as Protestant localities. Where there were any institutions for music, they were maintained by the master of the estate that accommodated the township. Thus the Reigning Prince of Transylvania was in control of Gyulafehérvár, the Rákóczis at Sárospatak, the Bishop in Nagyszombat, and the Bishop and the collegiate church in Győr. The extent and quality of musical activities depended in every case on the people who ran these institutions. Although the musicians of any given locality performed at the festivities of the municipality as well as at private parties and ceremonies, the functions of music did not reflect the needs of the town.

Documents prove that there were large numbers of independent musicians, lute-players, violinists and lute-playing bards in both the free royal towns and the market towns. It is notable, for instance, that Sebestyén Tinódi-Lantos, and Sebestyén Hegedűs, a bard active in the same period, both lived at Kassa. They had different occupations, and performed music only incidentally. The references, found scattered in a variety of municipal documents, provide only a sketchy picture about just exactly what they did. There are a number of records, however, hinting at their rivalry with the town musicians, who did not like to share the profits to be made. The case was that the tower musicians together with the organist and cantor did not only fulfil their official duties, but also often played at weddings and on other festive occasions at the request of ordinary citizens and guilds - for pay, of course. This purpose of everyday entertainment was served by the variety of musical material preserved in the Codex Vietoris, the Lőcse Tabulatur Book, and the lost Iván Nagy manuscript.

It is by no means easy to distinguish between what independent professional musicians in the employ of towns did from the amateur musical activities of the general population. The sources suggest two levels: the musical performances of fairly well educated townspeople (students, tradespeople and craftsmen) and the section of the population practicing folk music as we think of the term today. Although we do not have as yet a reliable overview of the musical accomplishments of the educated burghers, the fragmentary data available suggest that there was a section of people in the towns - mostly, though not exclusively, German - who manifested a real interest in and demand for European music and were able to read music - even the special organ and lute scores. There are data to prove that these townspeople sang in several voice parts; and there are legacies passed down that reveal remnants of instruments and scores, among them pieces of polyphonic music in manuscript form and printed scores - some of them probably school work, others foreign prints.

In the settlements located in the Turkish-occupied parts of Hungary (including such formerly major centers as Buda, Esztergom, Székesfehérvár, Pécs and Szeged) there was no institutionalized provision of music; all that may have existed is amateur music-making by the people living in the locality.

Music in School

The 16th-century Latin schools in Hungary pursued medieval traditions both in the material and methods of music teaching, and held on to liturgical melodies as pivotal for music theory and practice. Archbishop Miklós Oláh, a prelate of impressive culture, issued in Nagyszombat school rules (1554, 1558) ordering the pupils of schools belonging to towns that were the seats of chapters to be on regular chorus duty according to the late medieval model provided by Esztergom and Buda. However, as the Reformation gained momentum, the educational work of the Counter-Reformation religious orders, particularly the Jesuits, created a new situation when they began to teach choral music in schools.

Little is known, however, about how singing was taught in the Protestant schools in Hungary, but the scant evidence that has come down suggests that there were several choir practices a day. The rare incidence of documents with notes, the complete lack of printed scores, and the low standard of musical notation (cursive Gregorian and mensural scores), however, provide indirect proof that the study of music notation was for a long time neglected in the schools of the Reformed Church and Protestant churches in general. In these schools single-voice singing prevailed, and instruments and polyphonic singing were discouraged. The records that have come down - as, for instance, the preface to the Old Gradual (1636), a choir-book printed in the Principality of Transylvania - present a rather depressing picture even of the limited practice of single-voice choral work.

The school rules of Johannes Honterus (Grass) of Brassó (1543) and Mátyás Raksányi of Körmöcbánya (1649) suggest the singing-teaching schedule in the municipal Lutheran schools in Transylvania and Upper Hungary. It seems that besides the teaching and rehearsals of the songs and polyphonic pieces prescribed for the Sunday and holiday services, attention was given to score reading, the interpretation of music, and the mastery of various genres of verse. Probably these institutions, where the language of teaching was not Hungarian, were in charge of the earliest transmission - with educational intent - of the Protestant-humanist song-poetry of the German language area. The eastern boundary of the spread of metric songs was marked by Brassó, where Honterus published in 1548 his collection of school songs entitled Odae cum harmoniis, which contained 32 Latin song texts (fewer than 18 verse forms) and 21 four-part melodic versions. The unknown editor drew the material partly from a work by Petrus Tritonius (Traybenraiff) (Melopoiae /.../ super XXII genera carminum, Augsburg 1507). The publication had little effect, however, on Hungarian singing in Transylvania and beyond.

No records exist on genuine instances of the singing in Hungarian of metric school songs in several voice parts. The few Hungarian metric odes in the Eperjes Gradual (1635-1652) reveal only the barest traces of the actual stylistic ambitions displayed at singing lessons in school. The surviving fragments of metric songs came from the non-Hungarian culture complex within contemporaneous Hungary - as did, for instance, the collection by Georgius Tranoscius (Juraj Tranovsk) of odes called Odarum Sacrarum sive Hymnorum... Libri Tres, Brieg 1629. The Latin songbook of metric verse used in Debrecen schools, of Imre Szilvás-Ujfalvy (Anderkó) (1596-1599), contained the Latin words without the melodies. Here, the place of the ancient Pagan texts of the odes published earlier was taken by the metric psalms of the Scottish George Buchanan with the music by Statius Olhovius (Olthof) and the Latin translations of the religious songs originally written by German song writers, including Martin Luther. Many of these songs were later republished in Lutheran songbooks for school use, in Bártfa (1640) and Lőcse (1642).

Another humanistic version in metric verse of the Psalm Book, the Psalter of Geneva edited in French, had exerted a tremendous influence in Hungary on singing in Protestant schools and congregations and on writing verse for songs (particularly, Andreas Spethe's Latin version, Heidelberg 1596; and the Hungarian translation by Albert Szenci-Molnár: Psalterium Ungaricum, Herborn 1607). The books from which music theory was taught in school had usually passed into the ownership of the school concerned from some university or printing shop abroad. The Magyar Encyclopaedia (Utrecht 1653) by János Apáczai-Csere was the first work to give Hungarian names and definitions for the fundamental concepts of music.

There was thorough and methodical music and singing teaching in the schools at Nagyszombat, Kolozsvár, Pozsony, Győr and Sárospatak of the Jesuits, who settled in Hungary in 1561 and became particularly active at the turn of the 16th and 17th centuries. Their aim was to replace the Gregorian choir that included every pupil, with a high-standard church choir and orchestra for the provision of polyphonic music on important religious holidays. Instrumental music was also taught in a solid framework in the Lutheran schools. The Körmöcbánya Gymnasium, for instance, employed the organist Johann Kusser for this purpose. On the other hand, Comenius, teaching at the Calvinist (Reformed) college of Sárospatak, was not able to translate his ideas about making instrumental music flourish in Hungary into everyday orchestra practice. János Kájoni, the Franciscan monk from County Csík, however, left valuable notes on his educational work, and two manuscripts (Organo-Missale 1667, and Sacri Contentus 1669), each used for practical lessons in score reading and transcribing scores into organ tubulature. These were valuable works for teaching organ accompaniment, and consequently supply remarkable data on the local training of organist cantors of the time.

Although no score inserts have been left from the 16th and 17th centuries, it is known that play acting, an accepted practice at the time in Reformed and Jesuit schools alike, relied strongly on singing and music. Palatine Miklós Esterházy and Count Ferenc Nádasdy lent on several occasions their own court musicians for the school-drama performances put on by the Jesuits of Sopron. The scripts usually called for background music (e.g., the St. Nicholas minstrelsy of the Jesuits of Trencsény in 1688), or an insert of singing (István Eszéki's play in 1667), and sometimes determined the instrumentation of the musical interludes. The printed version (Bártfa 1652) of a German Twelfth Night play produced at Eperjes in 1651, even prescribed which motets were to be performed (works by Samuel Scheidt, Andreas Hammerschmidt, and Johann Schimbracky) with a contemporaneous notation in the text referring to the scores recommended for source material.

The Jesuits of Pozsony presented in 1688 a school play about King St. Stephan with a major musical insert by Ferdinand Tobias Richter, the Viennese court organist. Two tragicomedies, built - according to the evidence of the music notation to the scenes - on vocal performances throughout, are important mementos of early musicals staged in Hungary. A scene from this work by an anonymous author found its way even into Catholic songbooks (Cantus Catholici 1675), and the melody has proven to be an enduring one. It influenced György Felvinczy's drama by the same title (ca. 1690), though the immediate source of the latter is to be found in the mythological Cesti opera presented in the Viennese court (Il Pomo D'Oro, 1666).

Plain Folk Songs in Unison

While a new kind of Hungarian-language literature of songs was developing, the historical and cultural factors of the mid-16th century favoured folk music in unison. The genre of verse-song chronicles sprang to life on the soil of epic tradition. The representation of present events and the recording of the occurrences of the near past together with an interest in old morality tales became incorporated in the genre, and at the same time Protestantism called to life several forms of religious songs in the mother tongue. A secular section of the population, generally still of medieval Latin schooling but already absorbing the humanist culture of the Renaissance, promoted these new literary genres. The author's consciousness was becoming a question achieving importance, while the "new songs" appeared in print still bearing numerous stylistic and formal features from the Middle Ages. The verse-chronicles and related genres belong to the category of verse-song in which melody and words form an integral whole.

The second half of the 16th century marked the golden age of the verse-chronicle. Some of the authors of the words - like Sebestyén Tinódi-Lantos and Mihály Sztárai - were at the same time the composers of the melody, bards and musicians in the same person. The epics were basically verse chronicles or narrative songs. Until 1560, they generally had religious or biblical themes, but later on struck a distinctly moralizing and preaching tone. In the second half of the century, lays and romances based on mythological tales and fables, and generally of an entertaining character, began to appear fairly widely.

Sebestyén Tinódi-Lantos's Cronica (1554) Z65, the Hoffgreff songbook (Histories... from the Holy Bible ..., 1556), Gáspár Heltai's Cancionale with melodies drawn from Tinódy's verse-chronicles, and Parts II and III of Péter Bornemisza's songbook Énekek három rendbe (Songs in Three Orders, 1852) became the major printed sources of verse-chronicles. Only the first three collections, those printed at Hoffgreff's in Kolozsvár, contain scores. The melodies, spread by word of mouth in live performances probably accompanied by an instrument, reveal an exceptional richness of forms. The poetry of the multistrophic verse and also the melodies themselves served the narration of the subject by way of song. Though Tinódy's music shows domestic and foreign influence as well as an original style, his melodies produce a more or less homogenous effect.

Different from the late-medieval cancio of 16th-century Protestant song-verse, the independent preachers' style developed in direct interaction with the vocalized epics of the period and usually shared common melodic roots with the verse-chronicles. Most of the words to the songs reflect subsequent application to an already existing melodic or verse form. An understanding of the ad notam references that were linked with the entire 16th-century repertory of songs in unison, provides insight into the free treatment of melodies, different metric lines and metric verse, and into the development of word-of-mouth transmission.

Music During the Turkish Occupation of Hungary

Stylistic Variations in Turkish Music

Music in the period of the Turkish occupation of Hungary shows the coexistence of traditional Turkish music and the classical music of the Islam. The former was introduced by the Turks as the tradition of shamans and minstrels, a world of folksongs. The ordinary people knew this music, heard it and listened to it. The classical music of Islam on the other hand was rooted in the culture of a Sassanid Persia, for which scholars writing Arabic - Al-Kindi, Al Farabi, Ibn Sina and Safi ad-Din - worked out a strict theoretical foundation in the 9th through 13th centuries. The system of music that emerged in this way spread throughout the Muslim world from Magreb to India, and is flourishing to this day with only minor changes. In the period under review, it provided entertainment only to a small intellectual elite of the Ottoman Empire.

Traditional Turkish music was itself divided into two classes: folk music and ashik poetry. The first included folk songs and the dance music of the people, and the second covered the traditional written poetry of the Turks complemented with Muslim elements. Professional and semi-professional bards (ashiks) cultivated it on the basis of stringent rules passed on from master to pupils over the long centuries. Classic music bifurcated again according to the mode of performance: open-air (military) and chamber music. The difference actually lay in the instrumentation and function of the works rather than in the place and genre of performance. Military music (mehter music) aimed to cheer the troops or enhance the dignity of an occasion. Classic chamber music served as background music or was intended to promote meditation.

Folk Music

Although Turkish folk songs and folk dances are mentioned by a number of travel books, 16th and 17th-century Turkish folk music is actually known today only due to samples recorded in 1650 by a Polish renegade called Albert Bobowski - Ali Ufki in Turkish. A folk-dance melody was written down by Salomon Schweigger in 1571. It would be easy enough to extrapolate the folk music of a few hundred years earlier from what we know as such today, but the inference might be doubly wrong. Such attempts are always arbitrary, moreover, the ethnic composition of the Turks providing the occupation forces is not sufficiently known. What we know is that a lot of the troops were of South-Slav descent, most likely Bosnian. Had they brought in the Slavic music of their ancestors, or was the Turkish-Muslim effect - which seems to be so clear today - already in evidence? Because of the questions that remain open, once we talk about the "Turkish" folk music of the ottoman occupation, we must not ignore the South-Slav heritage either.

The Music of Ashik poetry

Turkish minstrelsy and ashik poetry flourished on the frontiers and within certain groups of the Alevi-Bekhtashi persuasion in the 16th and 17th centuries. The verses were always recited in singing, to the accompaniment of an instrument. The melodies were generally simple, suggesting only a few musical ideas. Repetitions were characteristic, and recitatives common. The aim was to render the words comprehensible and ensure that the melody satisfied this requirement. At the same time, rhythm - whose continuity was maintained by the accompanying instrument - was not to get lost, at most it was allowed to become less marked. Through Ali Ufki some two-hundred ashik melodies are known from the 17th century. The fact that a good many of them are still sung indicates the resilience of ashik melodies and may even make us feel that the style of performance practised today may be projected back to the past with some validity.

Although the ashik poetry of the period of Turkish occupation is well known, there are today relatively few concrete signs of that heritage. We know of only three verses - noted down together with the music - that are believed to have reached Hungarian ears. Two of them are works of Karadjaoghlan, and one is by Hassan Temeshvarli Gazi Ashik. A manuscript that records some Bekhtashi verse from the period of Turkish occupation while it does not reveal any melodies, at least provides access to some key signatures (makams). Several sources make indirect mention of the ashiks. They sang about the bravery of heroes to the accompaniment of a kopuz, tanbur, sheshtar or chogur as the soldiers recalled the heroic deeds of the Oguzes. The Hungarians living or fighting close to the frontiers captured a good many "Turkish Lyre players"; and Miklós Zrinyi, the famed poet of the times, also speaks in his great epic of "Turkish lyrists". A local ashik by the name of Mihaloglu sang, "When the strings of the lyre are tuned, the beys are to high spirits groomed."

Military Music

In war, at parades and in battle the Turkish military musicians played at the foot of the flags, cheering the Muslim troops. In times of peace they contributed to the magnificence of the sultan's court or the local military governor's household. The reception of envoys, parades, festivities and other pageantries were all occasions for music, and there was at a preassigned time every day an open-air promenade concert in some square, park or suitable tower. This public performance of instrumental music was called fasl. The zurna - predecessor to our Turkish pipe - which played the melody, was their most important instrument. The straight trumpet (boru, nefir) provided the accompaniment. Percussions rounded out the ensemble with double-skinned drums (davul), small timpani (nackarais), and cymbals (zil). Pairs of kettle-drums (koess) were slung over horse or camel-backs and then used only in the Sultan's orchestra. Classic composers supplied the repertory.

The military music performed at the times in Turkish-occupied parts figures in a lot of sources: envoys and travellers speak about the deafening reception they got, and Turkish chroniclers write about the mechterhanae sometimes enough in itself to frighten away the enemy. The pay-lists for mercenary soldiers and the accounts of timar defters give us information about the names of some of these army musicians. It is easy to establish that just about every administrative centre of some significance had its own military band. Ensembles consisting of six to eight members were not infrequent in the middle of the 16th century, though their number dropped to two or three by the 1590s. It was hardly a case of the musicians melting away, but rather of being drained away into the personal households of the pashas and beys. This explains why the central lists and accounts made no corrections for their "disappearance". Within an official district (vilayet) the mir-i alem (emir of the flag) was the chief officer, whereas the individual bands were headed by the mechterbashi or first piper, that is the first zurna player.

Classical Music

Classical Osmanli music in the narrower sense was often performed like chamber music - though not only in enclosed spaces, but also at garden parties, during rest hours, and feasts. These circumstances may have been deemed suitable because of the frequent association of this type of music with poetry, with special melodies created to go with special verses. The composers came from widely distinct social strata, including rulers and chief officials as well as professional musicians. It was, however, the mevlevi or dancing dervishes whose rites always included music, who determined the general features of classic Turkish music. They often played for the Sultan, and gave lessons to young people in the seraglio school. The palace people regarded the ud (lute), tanbur (long-necked lute), kahnun (plucked instrument resembling the zither), santur (cymbalo or dulcimer), chenk (harp) and the ney (flute) as the most distinguished instruments and considered them their own favorites.

Makam and usul are two fundamental concepts in Islamic music theory. Makam defines the scale, the elaboration and embellishment, the harmonic procession and accented notes of the melody. In addition, each makam carries its own tradition in regard to melodic structure and motifs. Nearly five-hundred makams are on record. This is not so surprising in view of the fact that the koma, or one-ninth note, still forms the basis of Turkish music. The usul is the name of the rhythmic pattern, which covers more than the European concept of rhythm. Generally it stands for successions of heavy and light beats. It is a formula that does not permit wide digressions: a firmly determined steady beat shapes the melody, which is somewhat freer. The classic music of the Islam does not have voice parts or accords: each instrument plays in the same voice. The szaz-szemai, pesrev and taksim were the most typical genres of instrumental music, and kar and murabba the pertinent types of vocal music.

It is difficult to demonstrate that classical music was present in the Turkish-conquered areas. Now and then, of course, the originally Hungarian territories were visited by court orchestras playing serious music. In 1526, after the Battle of Mohács, Suleiman celebrated the great Turkish victory with his own big orchestra in the Palace that once belonged to King Matthias of Hungary. There is no reason to believe that Gazi Ghirei / Ghirei Gazi, Tartar khan of the Crimea, and one of the most significant composers of the period, was without his musicians when he spent the winter of 1596 in Pécs (South Hungary). These occasions were, however, exceptional. Still there are data to indicate an active music life at the time. Evlia Chelebi, the renowned Turkish traveller of the times, wrote that the musicians of the Mevlev Monastery at Pécs were famous. Even the rituals the Order observed show that its monastery must have been an important music center and school. Works of music theory were fairly widely read in Buda. The legacy of Ali Chelebi of Buda contained an Edvar of Risale; and Marsigli saved a number of books on music from destruction.

Although we have no information about works of music that have been definitely connected with the Turkish occupation of Hungary, the Codex Palatics offers some choice morsels to delight any music-lover's heart. It contains almost fifty murabbas classified according to makam. Some of the verses show even a singing pattern for the rhythm: "Ten-ni ten-ni ten-nen-ni te-ne-ne". Moreover, some of them written in Persian, these pieces - clearly to be sung - were linked to the Persian heritage, the most distinguished tradition in the realm. These are memorabilia that testify to the existence of classic music at the time and are thus indicative of a high measure of culture under Turkish occupation. It must have taken not only good musicians, but also appreciative ears and munificent patrons of the arts.

Several classical instruments are known to have been in use during the Turkish occupation period. In 1543 in the court of Queen Isabel Pál Bakity must have seen Gypsies playing the santur when he commented that "they didn't use their fingers to pluck the strings, but beat them with a wooden stick". The hussars of György Zrinyi captured two Turkish musicians in 1596. According to Zrinyi, one of them had a cymbal of the kind students use to sing at Mass, but the Turk did not beat it with a wooden stick as a harp, but tugged and yanked it with his fingers. The man must have been playing the khanun. The other one intoned a peculiar, never-before-seen two-string violin - probably a keman - like the string instrument of "oven-eye" shape Stephan Gerlach described. In the early 1650s two Turkish lute or ud players lived in the household of Ádám Batthány: Mahmud and Mustafa. The Turkish lyrist and lute player taken into captivity by Gáspár Franscsity in 1649 must also have been ud players / must also have been an ud player.


Tempus plangendi, tempus saltandi
(It's time to mourn, it's time to dance)

Power struggles, religious wars, and peasant revolts followed one another in the Europe of the l6-17th centuries. The people, however, did not seem to notice the losses but danced with growing ardour. Nevertheless this image may well be misleading because it is fed by a plethora of anti-dance sermons of the partisans of the Reformed Church and of the writings directly or indirectly connected with them. Still one has the feeling that there had perhaps never been a period in European history when dance was a public matter of such importance as in the Renaissance. Indeed the growing expansion of humanism, of Renaissance culture, of the Reformation and the concomitant cultural and social changes had a considerable impact on dance.

A framework of dance culture still valid in our days, the outlines of its structure gradually developed in the wake of the changes. This opened the door to an unprecedented unifying effect of comprehensive dance fashions and to the prevalence of local colours. Within the successive interplay of unification and differentiation all European nations took part in shaping fashion according to their abilities. The "great powers of dance" were still Italy and France, yet the dances of other European peoples also had a say in shaping the new trends. The performance of the well-known dances (used as a common language) in different manners (the Italian, French, Spanish, English, German, Polish or Hungarian way) became a fashion. In addition to the widely diffused common dance language minor regional fashions started to make their appearance while the outstanding dances of the given region were also included. The Carpathian Basin is a good example.

Dance masters, dance books, dances

Endeavours to achieve professionalism and beauty characteristic of the Renaissance, a longing for the deepest possible understanding of the sensual world and to extend human potentials to the extreme were typical features of the dance masters, dancers and the elite layer of dance culture. The most famous dance masters, i.e. writers on dance in those days were Fabrizio Caroso of Parma (1525-1606), Cesare Negri of Milan (1530-1605) and the French Thoinot Arbeau (1519-1596).

Caroso who was spoken of as "the Leonardo of dance", developed a uniform table of rules, and stock of motives - almost simultaneously with Negri - by relying on Italian folk dances, on the experiences of dancers and dance masters. This was no longer an occasional collection of selected folk dance movements but a system of steps and series of variations permitting the creation of any kind of dance composition (ballo). The variations of jumps, turns and steps composed according to the principles underlying the technique of variations used in those days are still used in classical ballet. The dance compositions arranged with vera matematica (with compasses and sand-clock) meticulously described from step to step were published in Caroso's Il ballarino, the first printed dance book that ran into several editions in Europe.

Thoinot's Orchésographie is a peculiar collection of dances. The author - canon of Langres and master of ceremonies - collected the fashionable dances and dance compositions of his day without, however, omitting the outdated dances (e.g. basses danses) and other "evergreen" dances not mentioned in other books (such as the branle). The meticulous description and illustrations in drawing of such dances as the pavane, gaillarde, courante, allemande, gavotte, moresca, canarie, volta, the Spanish gavotte and other dances are still the most popular sources for the fans of Renaissance dances.

The activities of Caroso, Negri and Arbeau can be looked upon as theoretical and practical preparations for the foundation of the French Académie de la Danse in 1661, an event of great significance in the history of European dance culture. We are not aware of any other great masters carrying an equal impact in other European countries including Hungary.

The role of dance in the changing world

The earlier distinction made between sacred and profane dances had gradually been blurred by the time of the Renaissance. Under the impact of prohibitions over centuries, dance - with a few exceptions - disappeared from liturgy ceding to music, poetry, drama, and fine arts of religious inspiration. On the other hand a generally accepted wordly form of dancing had developed where the merry-making, entertaining function of dance ensuring social coexistence had become predominant. This is why the bourgeoisie, growing in number and power, took a fancy to dancing. Dance had become the means of refined social communication, of the expression of ideal body movement, in addition to combatant sports (fencing, horse-riding).

The nobility, mainly the well-to-do high nobility, supported the development of dance into an in dependent art, the prevalence of its specific aesthetic function and were ready to spending on employing professional dancers, on organizing dance performances, and on building theatres. For the peasantry dance remained a mode of expression closely linked with music, playing, poetry, drama used according to the laws of tradition. The nobility and the bourgeoisie had a special dual relations to the peasant dance traditions. The more natural, playful and stronger forms of the peasant dances acted as ever renewing sources yet also as symbols of brutality, of ill-breeding, and of bad manners as opposed to the ideals of refined behaviour. This is borne out by the grotesque, comic and often offensive illustrations of peasant weddings and other social occasions for dancing from the late Middle Ages to the Baroque Age.

Dance and the churches

In the 16-17th centuries the Churches assumed different attitudes to changing and promoting the role of dance. The Catholic Church seems to have been more lenient. Referring to the Scripture the clergy themselves practised dancing. A good example is the Council of Trent where the dignitaries of the Church danced portly basses dances together with their lay brethren. The Order of Jesuits founded in the 16th century paid special attention to dancing, organising spectacular theatrical performances to achieve the objectives of the counter-reformation.

In 1622 they celebrated the canonisation of their founder in Lisboa with a big dance performance referred to as ballet ambulatoire. In 1610, on the occasion of the canonisation of Carlo Borromeo, Milan 's saint, four carriages representing the Church, the town of Milan, Portugal, and the Holy See moved in the procession while dancing groups around them acted out scenes from Borromeo's life.

Unfortunately, no descriptions of similar detail of the Jesuits' schools drama in Hungary have come down to us but pompous spectacles supported by Péter Pázmány, archbishop of Esztergom, are known to have been arranged in the Jesuits' school at Nagyszombat (today Trnava) to where musicians and dance masters had also been invited from abroad.

Protestant churches all over Europe in full agreement and close alliance passionately scourged dancing. Their preachers, mainly the Calvinists, denounced dancing in their sermons as "sons of thunderbolt". Translated into foreign languages and printed, these sermons became part of international intellectual exchange of ideas as, for instance, the writings of the Hungarian István Szegedi Kiss and of János Debreceni K. published in German. A quote from a Latin-language Tractatus of the latter published late in the 17th century goes as follows: "Since dance survives in the Hungarian nation and in others and is practised at parties and weddings (by men holding women and ill-famed girls tightly together), this is linked with many a crime. They dangle their bodies and crouch and lean and rise and straighten up, stamping with their feet and making noises with their hands (clapping), unveiling their breasts, stroking them and embracing one another, then snuggling to one another, patting their bodies, whooping and howling with their mouths, turning round and round while nodding with their heads and holding them high haughtily hence the dance is duly called the devil's mill, satan's bagpipe...". And in 1672 the preacher István Nánási Lovász scolded the faithful as follows: "David did not pluck the musical instruments to form according to which he could spin, incline, squat and stamp more fancifully than you".

Dance reflected in the Hungarian language and in poetry

The first test of contemporary poetry linked with dancing was the translation of the Bible into one's mother tongue including the difficulties of finding the equivalents of all the references to dance from the specific expressions. It is worth quoting a passage from Gáspár Károli's first Hungarian translation of the entire Bible in 1590, to wit, the beautiful description of King David's dance around the Ark of the Covenant (Samuel, II.6. 14-16): "When those carrying the Arc of the Lord had made six steps, he sacrificed an ox and a fat calf there. David was dancing with all his might around the Crate of the Lord having donned a linen efod. David and Israel's entire house carried the Ark of the Lord singing and trumpeting. It so happened that when the Ark of the Lord reached David's town, Mikal, Saul's daughter, looking out of the window and seeing King David jumping and dancing before the Lord, she came to loathe him in her heart..."

A beautiful passage of love poetry about dance is a verse written between 1596 and 1909 in the Codex of Jób Franchali. Similar beautiful descriptions of dances can be found in the Book of Songs of Vásárhely, in the Mátrai Codex, in the Book of Songs of Komárom and in the poetry of the Hungarian poet Bálint Balassi (1594).

Heyduck dance

The Heyduck dances can be traced in different descriptions, in notes of melodies, illustrations from the end of the 15th century to the early 18th century. The 300 or so Hungarian and foreign descriptions collected tell us that the dancing was performed along with brilliant handling of a weapon (sword, axe) as a solo interwoven with combative, fencing movements or as a male group dance or occasionally in pairs performed with a woman. Contemporary sources stress the violent, stamping character of the dance with almost acrobatic figures of jumping, crouching, lying on the ground, with characteristic movements of the arms and rhythmical shouts. The dance was accompanied with the popular instruments of the period, such as the bagpipe, tárogató (oboe-like shawm) or drum. The accompanying tunes were characterized by a rapid eighth-note rhythm and by the a melody of motives typical of the bagpipe.

For example, Edward Brown, English traveller, describes the dance as follows:

A similar dance without the sword was performed by Bálint Balassi at the celebrations of the coronation at Pozsony (Bratislava today) in 1572, and another one, with two swords in hand, was danced by palatine Pál Esterházy in the royal court on the occasion of the Diet of 1847.

It is interesting to note that the Heyduck dance became part and parcel of the peculiar tactics of the lightly armed East-European mercenary soldiers often resorting to machinations to surprise and to harass the enemy. This is what we gather from the report of Gabelmann, a German eye-witness, about the 1595 siege of Esztergom: "One Heyduck and two Hungarian flag bearers jumped into the moat and danced the Heyduck dance under the heaviest firing of the Turks. One would have thought one was attending a wedding rather than being in a war." Contemporary sources clearly reveal how the war dance, a dance linked to occasions and rarely mentioned in medieval sources, gradually developed into a dance form encompassing the entire society of Hungary (including the serfs, the nobility, the warriors of the border forts, the ethnic groups), into a general dance style of the Carpathian Basin, the most characteristic feature of Hungary's dance culture in the eyes of Europe. Following the Turkish sway and the struggles against the Habsburgs, the Heyduck dance lost its topicalness and slowly receded into the local pastoral-peasant traditions. Its remnants can best be recognised in the shepherds' "instrumental" dances of the peoples of the Carpathian Basin. Having assumed different forms they became part of the new dance and music style of the 18-19th centuries referred to as verbunk, i.e. recruiting dances.

West-European dances in Hungarian social life

As we have seen, the fashion of the West-European couple dances reached Hungary pretty soon. Documents from as early as the 14-15th centuries testify to their diffusion in the courts and among the urban bourgeoisie. The growing number of documents in the 16th century indicates their wider diffusion and in the 17th century they appear to have been adopted by all social layers in addition to the Heyduck dance (a varied dance form representing the local dance culture of the age). Dancing "the Hungarian way", as the sources put it, probably referred to the local style while the dances performed "the Italian way" or "the German way" meant the new fashion.

Two types of the characteristic couple dances of the European Renaissance came to be adopted in Hungary, the slow, walking, procession-like dances (basse danse, pavane) and the swift, turning, jumping, closely interlinked couple dances. The slow couple dances appear earliest as an opening dance at high-class weddings, in fact as a ceremonial dance.

The hero of a German-language picaresque novel from the 17th century, known as A Magyar Simplicissimus, gives the following description: "When it comes to putting the bride to bed, a peculiar dance is started. The best man takes hold of the bride and attaches a sabre to her waist, then two young lads, likewise girded with sabres, torches in hand, dance in front of her, while the bridesmaids and other friends in her escort line up in a row behind her. The bride takes farewell of her parents, usually in tears, as well as of her closest relatives, then dancing throughout they spin out of the room unnoticed and she is lead up to the best man. Meanwhile the music and the dancing continue until the escort of the bride returns. With the bride's headdress and wreath stuck on his bare sword the best man comes in leading a bridesmaid with his other hand. The torch-bearers in front of him, the others behind him dance into the room. A few more dances, and the dance comes to an end. This is followed by different other things. The next day the bride appears bedecked in the headdress of a wife."

In the Hungarian sources of the 17th (and 18th) centuries the slow, procession-like dances are often mentioned as Polish dances (Polish changing, changing, saltus polonici, polonica and likewise) but they also occur as playful turning dances. Most of the dances with similar names are in 3/4 rhythm. This can be attributed to the European diffusion of the Polish Renaissance dances which was promoted by the intensity of the Hungarian-Polish political economico-cultural relations in the 16-18th centuries.

In the days of the Renaissance the swift jumping-spinning couple dances are regularly coupled with the slow walking dances (basse danse and tourdion, pavane and gaillarde). The writings of Protestant and to a lesser degree Catholic preachers, the bans issued by town councils and county statutes are the most frequent sources proving their diffusion in Hungary. In documents of music history they first appear under their own names (gaillarde, volta, courante) but later the same types recur under Hungarian names (hamar tánc, pajkos tánc) which may be indicative of their gradual assimilation.

The appearance of the West-European dance compositions (ballos, ballettos) and of the spectacular dance plays can also be found in Hungary's social life of the 16-17th centuries, mainly in the courts of magnates handing down the court traditions of the Renaissance (the Esterházy, Nádasdi, Batthyány, Báthory families) who often engaged West-European dance masters to plan their spectacular celebrations. Some of them are known by name. Don Diego de Estrada, Spanish master of ceremonies, employed in the court of Transylvanian ruling prince Gábor Bethlen at Gyulafehérvár (today Alba Iulia) in 1628-1629, had come from Padova to organize dance events, and performances. In his Mémoirs he recalls teaching dances called gallarda, pavana, tardion, canario, barrera, games with lances, and Italian ballellos. On 8 March 1628 he arranged a 30-strong ballet with the participation of Mars (consort of the ruling prince) and of Mercury (son of the first pastor of Kassa, Péter Alvinczi). "The ballet would have been famous even in the court of the emperor", - writes Gábor Bethlen in his letter to Péter Alvinczi. A famous dancer called Balaram Baptista is known to have been engaged in 1591 by Zsigmond Báthory, prince of Transylvania, and to have been entrusted with tasks similar to his above-mentioned Spanish colleague.

Eastern dances in Hungary

During the Turkish sway Hungary came into direct contact with eastern dance culture, its professional and traditional forms, which were very different from the western dances. This can be gathered from the few sources referring to Turkish musicians and dancers having fallen into Hungarian captivity. György Zrinyi, for instance, writes to Ferenc Batthyány about a Turkish musician kept in captivity: "Rézmán danced with the roguish Turk a miraculous dance of beautiful form, nothing, I know, can be more delightful....than watching it".

On the other hand, the dance illustrations of the contemporary Turkish miniatures lead to the conclusion that dance was a very popular form of entertainment in the Sultan's court and in magnates' households from which they did not refrain even in times of war, while staying in foreign lands. The impact of Turkish culture of the 16-17th centuries on Hungary has successfully been studied in various areas (e.g. folk custumes, gastronomy) yet in dance research not even the question has so far been raised.

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