Mátray (real name, Róthkrepf), Gábor

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Mátray (real name, Róthkrepf), Gábor

Mátray (real name, Róthkrepf), Gábor, Hungarian music scholar, pedagogue, and composer; b. Nágykáta, Nov. 23, 1797; d. Budapest, July 17, 1875. After receiving piano lessons from his father, he went to Pest to study law. He also studied piano, theory, and voice. At 15, he composed the stage piece Cserni Gyoörgy, the earliest surviving work of its kind in Hungary. In 1816–17 he was a tutor in the service of Baron Simon Prónay, and then worked in that capacity in Vienna for Count Lajos Széchényi (1817–30). He subsequently returned to Pest to complete his law training. He ed. the journals Regélő and Honművész (1833–41). In 1837 he became music director of the Hungarian National Theater. In 1840 he was made director of the music school of the Pest-Buda Music Soc. and in 1846 curator of the Hungarian National Museum. Mátray publ. a general history of music (1828–32), the first such history in the Hungarian language. He also wrote treatises on folk and Gypsy music. His compositions consist mainly of salon pieces, which retain historical interest for their use of native rhythms. He also prepared arrangements of folk songs.

—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire