THE HUNGARIAN REVIEW SEEMS TOO YOUNG

The Hungarian Review seems too young a publication to sustain losses on the battlefield, but on the eve of this, our fifth edition, we mark the passing of two staunch friends and allies, György Szabados and Ferenc Mádl. György Szabados was a pianist and “free music” composer in the footsteps of Béla Bartók, synthetizing the spirit of classical, folk and jazz music. He will be remembered by his friends and admirers in Hungary and the world as one of the most daring and inventive composers of his generation, who also challenged the one-party state in his own unique way. The text of his commemorative oratorio for the 1956 Revolution was written backwards, to escape the censors. When censorship passed, the text remained in that form, a Hungarian gobbledy-gook, infused with a wealth of meaning that goes beyond simple, linear language.As a citizen of the small, idyllic town of Nagymaros on the Danube bend, he resisted the mad Communist era scheme of building a hydroelectric dam there, by taking his grand piano down onto the dyke, and playing for the river. The dam was never built.While György Szabados passed away after a long battle with illness, former President Ferenc Mádl left on his way suddenly. One of his last essays – on the new Hungarian constitution – was published in the May edition of this journal, along with a birthday tribute by Gyula Kodolányi. It bore a distinctive Madlian hallmark, combining a defence of the text and the inspiration behind it, with a gentle reminder of what he called the “unusual responsibility” granted to the current government, to govern well, with so much power invested in it. In a rare expression of unity, former political friends and foes alike have paid tribute to his quiet and thoughtful dignity, “the last of the old school.”This summer is also a time of sudden change on the international scene. The arrest of the former Bosnian Serb military commander Ratko Mladić in the village of Lazarevo in Vojvodina, removed an important obstacle to Serbia’s EU membership. In this edition, Nick Thorpe reports from Bosnia on Mladić’s legacy and asks whether the frenzied Serbian and Croatian nationalisms which caused the Bosnian conflict are now over. The approval by the European Commission of Croatian membership, in July 2013, which closely followed the Mladić arrest, also bodes well for the future of the Balkans as a whole.As Hungary hands over the baton of EU leadership to Poland, Paweł Świeboda of the demosEuropa thinktank in Warsaw gives a thorough and professional analysis of Poland’s approach to the EU Presidency, and the many financial, diplomatic and strategic challenges it will face. Boris Kálnoky reveals some of the little known and even less acknowledged fruits of Hungarian diplomacy in Libya. Former Hungarian foreign minister Géza Jeszenszky comments on Janusz Bugajski’s article on Visegrád cooperation in our May issue with a historical summary.The section on Hungary offers analysis of the current dramatic changes in economic and social policy, and the deep mentality patterns still prevalent after more than twenty years of uneven Transition – patterns of thought mostly inherited from the Communist period. Authors include Judit Járai, former Washington correspondent of regular Hungarian Radio, our columnist former National Bank Governor Péter Ákos Bod, and Otto Hieronymi of Webster University in Geneva, who served as Economic Adviser to Prime Minister József Antall in 1990–93, helping him in his efforts to introduce a social market economy in Hungary.In the essay section a Hungarian Dubliner, Thomas Kabdebo writes about the formative Hungarian visit, in 1861, of Irish patriot William Smith O’Brien, who returned home determined to introduce Hungarian political solutions into the British-Irish relationship. Jenő Szmodis looks at legal systems from the point of view of cultural and anthropological criticism, while Tony Brinkley meditates on the stunning marginal notes Josef Stalin scribbled into his copy of The Brothers Karamazov. In our new series of classical Hungarian essays, Dezső Kosztolányi (1885–1936) writes with wit and panache on some essential features of poetry.The arts section begins with an interview with maestro Iván Fischer, who created the Budapest Festival Orchestra twenty-seven years ago, and has brought it to world renown, with tenacious work and the love of playing music. Klára Tóth writes on the world famous Muzsikás folk group, on the occasion of a documentary feature film about a history which spans several decades. The memory of one of the few French gardens of the Hungarian late baroque is restored on our pages by Olga Granasztói – hardly any traces have remained on the site, near present-day Lőcse (Levoca), in Slovakia.We close this issue with an unusual story – Australian novelist Gerald Murnane relates why and how he learned Hungarian in maturity, and we attach the literary works he mentions as his inspiration.We wish you a good summer, and enough shade to distinguish the letters, and the illustrations, on our pages.

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