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Zoltán Kodály: Psalmus Hungaricus

  • for tenor, mixed choir, boys' choir ad lib. and orchestra
  • 3 2 2 2 - 4 3 3 0 - timp, cym, hp, org, str
  • Duration: 23’
  • Soloists:
  • Instrumentation details:
    1st flute
    2nd flute
    3rd flute
    1st oboe
    2nd oboe
    1st clarinet in A
    2nd clarinet in A
    1st bassoon
    2nd bassoon
    1st horn in F
    2nd horn in F
    3rd horn in F
    4th horn in F
    1st trumpet in C
    2nd trumpet in C
    3rd trumpet in C
    1st trombone
    2nd trombone
    3rd trombone
    organ ad lib
    violin I
    violin II
  • Choir: SATB
  • Composer: Zoltán Kodály
  • Text source: bible, psalm 55
  • Text adapter: Michael Vég
  • Original language: Hungarian
  • Translator: Edward J. DentBence Szabolcsi
  • Table of contents:
    Psalmus Hungaricus (für Tenor, gemischten Chor, Knabenchor ad lib. und Orchester)
  • Dedication: dem Publikum der Hauptstadt Budapest

arrangements & translations

Work specifications



Arrangement Information

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Work introduction

If I had never studied ancient Hungarian literature, I would never have had the idea of composing the Psalmus, Zoltán Kodály said in a 1963 interview. The name of preacher Mihály Kecskeméti Vég was unknown outside philological circles, and only his 1561 translation of the 55th psalm has come down to us. Kodály set the psalm’s powerful text, enriched with allusions to Hungarian circumstances, to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the union of Pest, Buda and Óbuda to form Budapest in April 1923, during a period of creative paralysis.


The complete perusal score (PDF-preview)

World première

Vigadó, Budapest (HU)
Orchester der Philharmonischen Gesellschaft Budapest
Ernö Dohnányi
Main soloists:
Ferenc Székelyhidy, T

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