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Arts and Culture

A Musical Dynasty and a Hungarian Mozart?

Szokolay Ádám Zsolt
A Musical Dynasty and a Hungarian Mozart?

Is musical talent inheritable?  Is it nature or nurture?  Maybe both?  Find out from the saga of this musical dynasty.

 

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Olga Vállay Szokolay

Damjanich János

Damjanich János
Damjanich János

Damjanich János was one of the heroes of the 1848 Hungarian uprising against Habsburg rule.  On October 6th, 1849 he paid for his bravery by giving his life for the cause, along with 12 other Hungarian officers.

Damjanich János married Emilia Csernovics, my great-aunt, in 1847.  Following the death of her husband, she devoted her life to charitable work and lived in Budapest*.  After the death of her sister-in-law in 1872, her brother asked that she help him with his two orphaned daughters.  Thus, 18-year-old Roxanne and 8-year-old Lara went to live with their aunt in Budapest.  Lara Csernovics was my grandmother and she lived with her aunt until her own marriage in 1895.

The following reminiscences of Damjanich János’ life were related by Emilia and recorded in beautiful longhand in a notebook by my grandmother.

 

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Ilona Jeszenszky Etlényi

Folksong: A szegedi utca jaj, de sáros

Before regulation of the Tisza River envisioned and begun by Széchenyi István, Szeged was frequently inundated, most notably in 1879, as mentionedin the above article.  That will explain the reason for this folksong.

 

Folksongs provide many clues not only about the culture, but also about the language.  While this one refers to the state of the streets in Szeged before the end of the 1800’s, when the streets were finally paved (see “The Slippers of Szeged” in the October 2011 issue of Magyar News Online), it can also serve to point out some of the intricacies of the Hungarian language.  

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Borsos tokány (Peppered stew)
Borsos tokány (Peppered stew)

As the weather turns cooler, this substantial dish will become a favorite.

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