The Peacock – Tribute to Zoltán Kodály

With its latest album, the Modern Art Orchestra, Hungary’s leading big band ensemble, undertakes to further interpret the choral works of Zoltán Kodály, one of the most influential figures in Hungarian folk music research and musical education. Kornél Fekete-Kovács and the MAO’s work is characterized by integrating various styles of contemporary classical music and jazz into a single artistic vision, as exemplified by their 2018 album reflecting on Bartók’s Fifteen Hungarian Peasant Songs. The approach of the current album is different simply in terms of the line-up: this time they have teamed up with the Kodály Choir from Debrecen. While on the Bartók recording, the dividing line between compositions and improvisations was less noticeable in the orchestra’s performance, here Kodály’s original choral works – including the iconic The Peacock – present a cross-section of the composer’s oeuvre, followed by big band and choral paraphrases of folk songs written by the orchestra members.

“For a Hungarian musician, Kodály is much more than a composer. We grew up in the music education system he developed, and although his legacy is now sadly fading, it still surrounds us today.” (Kornél Fekete-Kovács)