Trio Lignum (Csaba Klenyán, Lajos Rozmán, György Lakatos) Offertorium (Machaut, Landini, Sáry, Desprez, Kondor, Byrd, Jeney, Bach, Ockeghem, Vidovszky, Bull, Soós, Machaut)

BMCCD090 2003

In Chinese, the same character is used to signify both music and pleasure. Music, then, is pleasure.
– Listening to the performances of Trio Lignum and their disc Offertorium, the first thing I feel is this pleasure, whether they play the music of bygone ages, or the works of contemporary composers.
A true “offering”.

László Sáry


Trio Lignum:
Csaba Klenyán - clarinet, bass clarinet (Selmer instrument)
Lajos Rozmán - clarinet, bass clarinet (Buffet instrument)
György Lakatos - bassoon (Heckel No. 8492)

Zoltán Mizsei - voice (9)

About the album

Text of Der Richter from Adam Seide’s Die Braunschweigische Johanna (Ein deutsches Requiem) published by Revonnah Verlag
Recorded at Phoenix Studio, Hungary, 23-26/06/2003
Recording producer: Ibolya Tóth
Balance engineer: János Bohus – Sound editing: Mária Falvay

Cover art and design by Meral Yasar
Portrait photo: István Huszti
Architect: Gábor Bachman

Produced by László Gőz

The recording was sponsored by the Ministry of Cultural Heritage, the National Cultural Fund of Hungary and the Artisjus Music Foundation

3500 HUF 11 EUR

01 Guillaume de Machaut: Ma fin est mon commencement 2:52
02 Francesco Landini: Amarsi gli alti 1:13
03 László Sáry: Chromatic Game 3:39
04 Josquin Desprez: Mensuration canon 3:18
05 Ádám Kondor: Gegen 5:31
06 William Byrd: Alleluia. Quae lucescit 2:26
07 Zoltán Jeney: "Quand j’étais jeune, on me disait" 10:27
08 ps. Bach – Ádám Kondor: A musical labyrinth 4:54
09 Ádám Kondor: Der Richter 5:44
10 Johannes Ockeghem: Ma maistresse 4:31
11 László Vidovszky: Berçeuse canonique 5:15
12 John Bull: In nomine (IV) 2:48
13 András Soós: Verba mea (Ps. 5.) 6:56
14 László Sáry: Five repeated 3:27
15 Guillaume de Machaut: Ma fin est mon commencement 2:48
Total time 65:49

notes musicales en français - cliquez ici

Guillaume de Machaut
(1300 c. – 1377) was the first star composer of European music history, who was as much at home in gothic cathedrals as in the chateaux of the French kings. His name was well known beyond his home in France, his skill was wondered at, and his works were copied. His person and the events of his life awakened such interest that the elderly master preserved himself for posterity by making large collections of his own compositions. His oeuvre contains many autobiographical traits. His upbringing was rooted in the spirit of the Middle Ages. He was a skilled master of composition, and worthy practitioner of one of the most important of the seven free “ars”. Although an ordained priest, his lifestyle was that of a worldly child of the renaissance. The majority of his works document the refined art of court entertainment and its complex rules. Few had such sure control over musical notes as he did. He primarily cultivated the genres of the ballade, the rondeau and the virelai, and he wrote the first polyphonic mass cycle.

We know little of Francesco Landini (1335 – 1397), although he wrote the music for the luxurious world of the Florentine “trecento”, in spite of having lost his sight due to a childhood illness, and remaining blind for the rest of his life. The sound world of his works, and the effect of his part writing are so typically Italian that, if it were not an anachronism, we might call him the first nationalist composer. Perhaps this is not an exaggeration: Landini, a contemporary of Bocaccio, was the first to compose sensual music at the close of the Middle Ages. His only extant works are vocal, primarily in the ballata genre. We know that he was a widely known organist of his time, who unfortunately did not set down his instrumental improvisations on paper.

Josquin Desprez (1440 c. – 1521) was, after a fashion, world famous in his own time. The courts of Italian princes competed for this musician, from the northern part of France. His fees were far in excess of those of his contemporaries. In short, he was the best, and fortunately, thanks to music printing, which started in the second half of his life, his works spread widely, at least the shorter ones. His large motets and masses, intended for the wonderful Gothic and Renaissance churches, could only be sung by the best professional singers, but everyone was moved by them. Behind the aristocratic craftsmanship of Josquin, one can detect the desire of composers of the modern age to please – the self-awareness of the genius. He was the first composer whose works were performed even decades after his death, and whom a new generation respected as a model.

The figure of Johannes Ockeghem (1410 c. – 1497) was surrounded by mystical enthusiasm, for he was the last great composer-scholar of the French Gothic. In spite of having travelled little, and unlike his contemporaries not having spent time in Italy, he had such a reputation in professional circles that all the significant musicians of the time made a pilgrimage to him. What could be learnt from Ockeghem?
First and foremost, within the shackles of the strictest rules how artistic imagination may take wing. How in sound, order and poetry could form a harmonic unity. Ockeghem composed perfect music. Perhaps this explains why his oeuvre is relatively small. He was the Bach of the renaissance: the alpha and omega.

William Byrd (1543 – 1623) lived in a transitional period of musical style, on the border of the late Renaissance and the early baroque. His life coincided with a strong and triumphant period in England’s history, the time of Elizabeth I and Jacob I. He became a royal composer at an early age, and maintained this status for over fifty years, enjoying great respect as a Catholic in a Protestant court! Byrd had the time to summarise and the strength to renew. It is this that amazes one when surveying his vast oeuvre. He composed in every genre of the day, experimenting with old and new compositional techniques. While he remained sensitive to musical movements on the continent, his music is typically English, with full harmonies and choral singing that has its roots in folk music. In addition, Byrd enriched the repertoire of string and keyboard instruments.

John Bull (1562 – 1628) obtained a doctoral degree at Cambridge, of which he was very proud. However, Dr. Bull became famous not for scholarly activity, but for his playing of the keyboard: he excelled primarily in the art of the organ and the virginal. He was, then, the first great “pianist” of music history, with an individual style and technique, and with a rich imagination as a performer. His repertoire featured transcriptions of vocal works, dances and variations, and is preserved in various famous collections. He was feted all over Europe as travelling virtuoso.

András Batta

Chromatic game (1999); Five repeated (1985)
These two pieces can be found in my book “Creative Music Activities.” The pieces consist of simple rhythmic and melodic cells and several variations. At random, the material continuously changes in rhythmic structure and the distribution of notes – almost as in a kaleidoscope. Thus the coincidence of the rhythm and note patterns is subordinated to the work of chance.

László Sáry

Gegen (2003)
The first part of this piece, composed in memory of the Greek composer Iannis Xenakis, is made up of material that evokes his music (glissandi and extreme dynamics). The second part (in which the second clarinet is exchanged for a bass clarinet) is a condensed version of an earlier piece written for string trio. The title refers to the stark contrast between the two parts, which in concert can even be emphasised by having the two parts performed by two trios instead of one.

A musical labyrinth (2000) (transcribed by Ádám Kondor)
Among Bach’s organ works can be found this tiny prelude-like piece composed by one of his pupils. The most remarkable feature of the piece is its unusual harmonic progression, which defies classification according to musical style. This sense of being ‘aloof’ from style is mirrored in the instrumentation by the use of modern clarinets and bassoon.

Der Richter (1999)
In his novel Johanna of Braunschweig Adam Seide uses the story of a senseless and infinitely unjust death sentence brought in the last years of the Nazi empire. The music written for the symbolic monologue of the judge (which is a kind of Probestück, or experimental piece, for an opera to be written based on the book) does not relinquish the need for a structure independent of the text, yet still has an associative relationship with the meaning of the words. The conflict of fulfilment of duty and moral responsibility is also depicted by means of postponement (Verschiebung) in the relationship between the music and the text.

Ádám Kondor

“Quand j’étais jeune, on me disait” (1994)
The piece was written in 1994 for László Vidovszky’s 50th birthday. The title of the piece is a quotation from Satie: “Quand j’étais jeune, on me disait: ‘Vous verrez quand vous aurez cinquante ans’. J’ai cinquante ans... et je n’ai rien vu”. (“When I was young, people told me: You’ll see when you’re fifty. I’m fifty: I’ve seen nothing.”)
The original version is to be performed on piano or on two freely chosen instruments. The upper part is a continuous and organic variation of a modal melodic line. The lower voice is the shadow of the upper part: it strictly follows the same melodic line, modifying its pitches at random. The third, lowest, voice was added in 1997 and is a second shadow. This version is for piano three hands or for three freely chosen instruments.

Zoltán Jeney

Berçeuse canonique (1993)
Berçeuse canonique was written in 1993, as a transcription of an earlier piano piece. The work is a three-part canon, in which the outer voices enter at the interval of a diminished seventh (ri-ta). The original piano piece is part of the series “A_Z”.

László Vidovszky

Verba Mea (2002)
Composers have been fascinated for centuries by the various ways of exploiting the relationship between words and music, from the Renaissance masses based on letter codes, through madrigals and the rhetoric of the baroque, to sprechgesang. In the composition Verba mea too, it is the text that defines the final form of the work, but the listener does not hear the words. The performers read the words of the psalm silently, and on the basis of the inner rhythm and articulation of the text, build up the piece from the given scale and rhythmical elements. Thus the music of the virtual text is conveyed to the audience via an interpretation that is closely linked to the performers.

András Soós

Curriculum vitae


Lignum – wood – noble wood – the wood of our instruments.
Lignum – agelessness – roots – many hundreds of years – past and future.
Lignum – canon and sequence – knowledge and wisdom.

If you plant a tree and care for it lovingly, you come closer to immortality. Its roots spread out in every direction, penetrating deeper and deeper into the heart of mother earth. The crown of foliage springs forth, and strives towards the life-giving sunlight.


Our paths met in 1997, when fate smiled upon us. Together we were wonderstruck by the infinite variety in the art of the Renaissance vocal masters, and Ockeghem, Senleches, Dufay and Machaut. The message they carried, adapting them to modern instruments, their relationship with other eras, with music of the classical era and of today, led us to areas of music literature barely discovered.
This thread, which reaches into the present day, confirmed for us the importance of the relationship with the music and composers of our own time.
We always compose our concert programmes in the above spirit.

Trio Lignum
translated by Richard Robinson

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