Composers: Apostle of the Mother Tongue

As a boy in the dreary village of Galánta, Hungary, Composer Zoltán Kodály haunted the local railroad station, watching the come-and-go of peasants lustily singing their folk songs. "I would stand open-mouthed," he once recalled, "listening to the music die away as the train bore them off. But even then it always seemed to me that a thread of melody remained trembling in the air." For Kodály, who died last week of a heart attack at 84, those simple melodies became the wellspring of a creative life that enriched the music of Hungary and the world.

When Kodály entered the Budapest...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!