Catalog: CYBELE 2SACD 061807
“Standing still is death, go ahead, everything stays different.” This line of text from a completely different context, a 1998 song by Herbert Grönemeyer, describes in an ideal way the character of the works, as well as Szathmáry's interpretations, which are endowed with an irrepressible energy and a steady sense of propulsion. Work on a work, be it one's own or that of someone else, is never over. Every space, every instrument, every moment demands new ideas, adjustments, its own timbres and gestures. Every aspect of music-making is thereby filled with a living, forward-flowing energy; even sections that appear at first sight to be slow or reflective become animated. In the best sense, every work and every interpretation is thus a "work in progress": a bustling process of constant renewal, of creative musical creation. As a member of the composition class of Kodály's pupil Ferenc Szabó, in his own output Zsigmond Szathmáry quickly fell under the influence of a rhythmically-charged musical language, folk-music traditions and the unique harmonic and dissonant language of Béla Bartók. After his emigration to Western Europe, he became acquainted with avant-garde techniques through lessons with Karlheinz Stockhausen and collaborations with his compatriot György Ligeti, and was able to translate them into his own musical language. Zsigmond Szathmáry simultaneously became one of the leading interpreters of contemporary organ music: his extraordinary skills were put to use when he succeeded Gerd Zacher, himself celebrated for his performances of modern organ works, as organist in Hamburg-Wellingsbüttel, and he later inaugurated the contemporary music series Forum Bremer Dom during his tenure as cathedral organist in Bremen. He was able, as organ professor in Freiburg from 1978 onward, to pass his gifts on to several generations of students.