ZdZ: Robert Mandel

Map Unavailable

26/05/2024 _ 18:00 h


Prezo: 25 €


The hurdy-gurdy in Central Europe with Robert Mandel from Hungary.

Sunday 26 May. Online

Fourth and last of the online masterclasses for the Zona da Zanfona Digital series in 2024 with one of pioneers of the modern generation of players in the 70’s of the 20th century, a legend of the instrument playing the tekerö and vielle professionally since then. Preparatory and extra material will be given to study in the coming months and years!

About the masterclass

The session will be about the history of the hurdy-gurdy in the Central European countries with practice examples of the Hungarian Heyducken Tancz (4 short movements) with scores and videos given for further study to the participants.

The history of the hurdy-gurd is now largely known. It began its long migration sometime in the very early Middle Ages and reached the French, Iberian, Flemish and German-speaking nations, as well as some British islands. Hurdy-gurdy players also travelled further east during the Crusades, but at that time it did not influence the musical life of Central Europe to the extent that it did later after the 17th-18th century.

One the possible ways -maybe the only one- to talk about the history of the instrument in Central Europe is to talk about the musical traditions of the West. In the royal courts of Central Europe, there were already many Flemish, German and French artists working in the late Middle Ages, so that, for example, the Hungarian “Matthias Graduales” were decorated exclusively by Flemish book-decorators! Shortly afterwards, in the 15th and 16th centuries, French and Flemish manuscripts were already known to the more educated German and Slavic-speaking populations, and their music was played all over Europe as early as the 16th century. The instrument itself was not known in Central Europe until the French Revolution of 1789. When the revolution was suppressed, some of the French hurdy-gurdy virtuosos from the region headed east. This brought the instrument to the central, southern and eastern parts of Europe, so that hurdy-gurdy was increasingly to be found in Austrian, Hungarian, Bavarian, Czech, Polish and even Ukrainian music. Central European hurdy-gurdy instruments in museums were of a distinctly different shape from the Western instruments of the past. The guitar shape was more often seen further east, as is evidenced, for example, by the early 18th century instrument made in Piedmont to be found in the Vienna museum. In fact, it was transmitted by Italian and Austrian musicians first to Hungary, then to Ukraine and Poland. Presumably, the Polish hurdy-gurdys could have come there directly from the West, which is why there is still a strong tradition of the instrument in Poland!

The Western instruments, formerly used by the bourgeoisie and the aristocracy, were more popular in folk music in Central and Eastern Europe, and perhaps only in Transylvania and the southern parts of the Kingdom of Hungary did they survive among the middle classes. Hundreds of pieces of music can be heard in the countless fantastic music collections that have now been reworked in all their glory and recorded. The early dance movements “Ungaresca, Hayducken Tancz, Frissen und Lassan, Verbunkos” are typical of Central European music and are musically unique!

In the 20th century, unfortunately, due to wars and political craziness, these wonderful musics were silenced until the 1980s, but after the great regime change, the efforts of young people to save the past made the old folk music and late renaissance music culture flourish again.

About Robert Mandel

After earning his degree in musical instrument making he received a scholarship from the German Music Council to study musical instrument restoration under Dr. John Henry van der Meer and Dr. Freidemann Hellwig in Nürnberg in the German National Museum (Germanisches Nationalmuseum). Mandel had the chance to spend a time in the famous musical instrument collection of the Paris Conservatory of Music (today in the Cité de la Musique) to study the original 18th century vielles. In 1988 he became the chief manager of the legendary Interconcert’s “Musica Antiqua” department. In 1992 he founded his own company the Mandel Productions Limited Company.

His solo bookings include among others the NBC “Today Show” and the WQXR “Listening Room” in New York City, the WFMT “Studs Terkel Show” in Chicago, the Berkeley Festival of Early Music and Exhibition in San Francisco, the Purcell Room in London, the BBC TV “Pebble Mill at One” show in Birmingham, the “Old Jaffa Chamber Music Festival” in Tel-Aviv, the AMUZ Early Music Festival in Antwerpen, the Theatro Municipal in Rio de Janeiro, the “Bregenzer Festspiele” in Austria, the NDR Talk Show in Hamburg, the “Cervantino Festival” in Mexico City, the Sydney University in Australia, the Stockholm Early Music Festival, the “Glasperlenfestival” in Tartu, Estonia, the “Théâtre de la ville de Paris” and the SKY TV “Beyond 2000” show in Sydney.

Since 2014 he is a freelance artist in Wien, Austria. He has been working as an instrument maker since 1975. He published several books and more than 40 albums on LP and CD. He has recently been decorated with the Knight’s Cross of the Order of the Hungarian Republic and the Hungaroton Classic Award.

Robert’s website: https://mandelproductionsl.wixsite.com/mandel


  • Type: online + extra study material
  • Duration: 2 hours
  • Times: 6 pm to 8 pm (CEST)
  • Dates: Sunday 26th of May
  • Software required: zoom app
  • Language: English
  • Fee per masterclass: 25€
  • Discount fee all four ZdZ masterclasses: 80€
  • Enquiries: matricula@folque.com


Fill in the form here

About Folque

aCentral Folque, Centro Galego de Música Popular. Galiza, Europe
Bookmark the permalink.

Comments are closed