Kodály initially turned to Vienna for his musical guidance, namely the examples of the Classical masters and of Brahms. His Academy classmate Erno Dohnányi, who adopted the Germanic moniker of Ernst von Dohnányi, continued in that Brahmsian fashion. Kodály, on the hand, gradually began to assimilate the language that was the focus of his musicological work. Its presence is already palpable in his 1905 Intermezzo for string trio. A swaying accompaniment, with contrasting arco (bowed) and pizzicato (plucked) textures, and the filigree elements within the melodic line certainly evoke Kodály’s birthplace. More beguiling is the eerily hushed middle section, prophetic of the modal lyricism of his later works and even of Bartók’s ‘night music’ style. Yet despite these qualities, this charming Intermezzo keeps its harmonic footing firmly on the Austro-German side of the border.
from notes by Gavin Plumley © 2014