Sunday, December 07, 2008

Gustav Szathmáry - An Update

(photo from myspace page dedicated to Szathmáry)

It seems that my post on Gustav Szathmáry last May has compelled the Internet to disclose another fragment of this man's life.

When I had done my initial research on his life, I was dismayed to discover that there was no scholarly (or unscholarly) work done on him. It turns out the the little-known firm Cupere Verlag had published a 71-page monograph on our friend and his remarkable life.

Astoundingly, it is available here on the Internet Archive, and no where else on earth.

Written by Dietmar Heinisch, the book is a treasure trove of information about his life, his work, and his affair with the painter Paula Modersohn-Becker.

It also contains reproductions of Szathmáry's stunning images of his friends, including a remarkable photograph of Rainer Maria Rilke (the painting is by Moderson-Becker):

I mentioned in my previous post that someone has created a myspace page in his honour. It has now been updated to include some more of his music. I encourage you to listen!

If only his complete works were available - given all the musicological attention devoted to the schlock of the day, it seems surprising that no work has been done to unearth his music. A tragedy.

I would like to think that my own meagre contribution to disseminating his work was a factor in prompting whomever had a copy of that biography to make it available.

One wonders why there are no copies available in any libraries - perhaps the publisher went bankrupt before it went to press, and poor Herr Heinisch perished in a fiery wreck the very next day.

Perhaps the book sat lost, forgotten in a mouldy box, until the day a young woman in Bremen was sorting through the papers of her recently deceased grandfather, and found this monograph, which he'd purchased at a used bookshop in Erfurt when he was a visiting lecturer there.

Perhaps she, like me, was entranced by his story and the beauty and ingenuity of his work, and so she did what we all do when we find something new and interesting, and googled "Szathmáry".

What did she find? Me! A lone outpost on the Internet, a buoy for our nearly lost Hungarian friend. She was much too shy to contact me, and I do not blame her for this, perhaps her English is not so good.

But I am grateful that she has made this book available so that we may all enjoy it, or at least those of us who speak German. For English speakers, please enjoy the photographs.

I sincerely hope that this latest post will encourage the dialectic of discovery amongst my readership and those out there who know who he is, so that Szathmáry can take his place in the Parthenon of Great Composers.

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