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Academy of Music, 7:30 pm
Smetana: The Bartered Bride – overture
Mozart: Piano concerto
in B major, K 595
Mahler: Symphony No. 1
Conductor and piano solo: Zoltán Kocsis
The Overture of Smetana’s opera, The Bartered Bride is an excellent concert piece. The composer continued the symphonic traditions of Liszt and enriched them the rich sound of his splendidly orchestrated music and the flavours of Czech folk music. Dynamic, cheerful dance melodies in polka rhythm make this piece irresistible.
Like many of his other works, Mahler’s first symphony was inspired by a poem: Jean Paul’s romantic verse, The Titan. The experience of nature that imbued the composer’s whole life also appears in the work. The symphony in four movements composed in 1888 still reflects the style of late Romanticism, especially in the lively finale.
The piano concerto in B flat major in three movements K.595 (the third in this key) is Mozart’s last major concerto for the instrument. He composed it in January 1791 and died at the end of the same year. The date gives us reason to see the works composed in the last year in a different light, as though the shadow of the impending end were cast on them. However, there is no indication of a permanent spiritual crisis in Mozart’s letters although, of course, he had problems. Shortly before he had been invited by both Solomon and O’Reilly to give concerts in London, the receipts promised to be substantial but he could not find the money for the journey. It is true that a certain resignation and introspection can be discovered in the first movement of the piano concerto. It is the numerous minor episodes within the composition in major key that produces this feeling in the listener. The light touch of Mozart the society man is missing from this work, but instead we can observe the composer able to transform childishly simple melodies in a brilliant way into a grandiose structure. The mood of melancholy grows stronger in the central, slow movement, but a kind of romantic joie de vivre returns in the final allegro.
Millenáris Teátrum, 7:30 pm
Peter Eötvös: Triangel
Peter Eötvös: Replica – Hungarian première
Michel van der Aa: Here (enclosed) – première
Peter Eötvös: Snatches of a conversation – Hungarian première
Conductor: Peter Eötvös
With: Peter Prommel / percussion, Kim Kashkashian / viola, Marco Blaauw / trumpet, Zoltán Mizsei / vocal
One of the most renowned interpreters of 20th century music. He began his career as a composer and conductor as an assistant to Stockhausen and Boulez. From 1978 to 1991 he was artistic director of the Ensemble InterContemporain in Paris, from 1985 to 1988 he was principal guest conductor of the BBC Symphony Orchestra, and from 1992 to 1995 he was the First Guest Conductor of the Budapest Festival Orchestra. Currently he is the Chief Conductor of the Dutch Radio Chamber Orchestra, Guest Conductor for contemporary music of the Budapest National Philharmonics and professor of Cologne’s Hochschule für Musik. In 1991 he founded the International Eötvös Institute for young conductors and composers. In recognition of his work in 1988 he was made an “Officier de l’ordre des arts et des lettres” by the French Minister of Culture. In 1997 in Budapest he received the Bartók–Pásztory Prize. He was elected member of the Akademie der Künste in Berlin in 1997, the Széchenyi Academy of Literature and Arts in Budapest in 1997, and the Sächsische Akademie der Künste in Dresden in 1999. In 2000 he was awarded the anniversary prize of the Christoph und Stephan Kaske Stiftung. In May 2001 he received the newly established Gundel Prize in Budapest for his stage sound drama As I Crossed a Bridge of Dreams. His compositions are played throughout the world. In 1998 his opera Three Sisters won the “Grand prix de la critique 1997/98 – Prix Claude-Rostand” (Paris), the “Victoires de la Musique Classique et du Jazz 1999” (Paris) and the “Prix Caecilia” (Brussels). In 2001 he was awarded the Hungarian Classics Prize established by Gramofon magazine. His works are published by Editio Musica Budapest, Salabert in Paris, Ricordi in Munich and Schott Music Mainz and his recordings have been issued by a BMC, DGG, ECM, EMI, Gramophon AB BIS, and Kairos Wien.
In honour of the 60th birthday of Peter Eötvös
(Organised jointly with the Millenáris Kht., with the support of Gaudeamus and MuziekGroep Nederland)
Béla Bartók Memorial House, 6:00 pm
Mozart’s complete sonatas for violin and piano (Part IV)
Violinist, born in Budapest, he graduated from the Franz Liszt Academy of Music (1983) and has also taught there since 1987. He won numerous competition prizes and after serving as concertmaster of the State Symphony Orchestra (now the National Philharmonics) he has had a brilliant career as a soloist. One of his CDs, a recording of works by Dohnányi, won a MIDEM prize in 1999. He is the founder and artistic director of the Gödöllő Castle Concerts which combine chamber music concerts with courses, and violinist of the Belvedere Trio.
Pianist, a student of Dmitri Bashkirov, she teaches at the Ferenc Liszt Academy of Music and is an outstanding concert musician who performs with leading chamber partners in Hungary and abroad.
(Organised jointly with the Bartók Memorial House)
Marble Hall of the Hungarian Radio, 7:30 pm
Das Schloss am Meer
Vor dem Gang zum Schaffot
Preghiera (piano solo)
Das verlassene Mädchen
Keine Sorg um den Weg
Blatter und Lieder
Abschied von der Welt
La Fileuse (piano solo)
Joseph Joachim Raff (1822-1882), German friend of Franz Liszt and his assistant in Weimar, was a renowned and popular composer in his time. Besides two operas and 11 symphonies, he composed numerous songs. A large selection of these has been issued on the Hungaroton label in the “First recording” series. Raff’s songs will be heard for the first time in Hungary at this concert.
Emese Virág is a coach-teacher in the voice department of the Ferenc Liszt Academy of Music. She studied in the Pécs branch of the Academy, then in Budapest (where her teacher in the coach department was Emmi Varasdy). She gives regular concerts in Hungary and abroad as an accompanist to leading singers and lately also as a soloist: among others, she has appeared in Paris, Bayreuth, Hannover, Brno, London and a number of cities in Switzerland. She has participated several times in the Budapest Contemporary Music series, the Spring Festival, the Merlin Theatre’s contemporary music festival, the Földvár Days, and in events of the Goethe- Institute, the Budapest French Institute and the Institute of Italian Culture. Many of her concerts have been recorded by Hungarian Radio. She often plays contemporary music and has given the first performances of many works. She has won the special prize of the Artisjus – Copyright Protection Office three times (1998, 2000, 2001) for this activity. Hungaroton have issued six of her recordings. (Among them songs by János Vajda and György Orbán with Andrea Meláth, and the complete German songs of Ödön Mihalovich with Andrea Meláth and Attila Fekete.) The latest, sixth CD contains songs of Joachim Raff. Here too, her partner was Andrea Meláth.
Matthias Church, 8:00 pm
Conductor: Tamás Pál
With: Beatrix Fodor, Gabriella Gál, Tibor Szappanos /vocal,
Savaria Symphony Orchestra, National Choir (choirmaster: Mátyás Antal)
In 1840 Germany celebrated the 400th anniversary of book printing, the epoch-making invention of Johann Gutenberg. A whole series of studies, commemorations, works of literature and art were produced for the great occasion and the German composers of the time also made their contributions. Two compositions by Mendelssohn, the Festgesang and above all the Lobgesang, the composer’s vast symphony for orchestra, chorus and three solo voices, stand far above the works which included Lortzing’s opera about Hans Sachs.
The composer conducted the first performance on June 25 in the Thomas Church in Leipzig, with more than five hundred singers and musicians, and the work soon gained enormous popularity throughout Europe, especially in the cities of England famed for their flourishing oratorio culture.
The Lobgesang, or “Hymn of Praise” is a symphony with a vocal part in the final movement, similarly to Beethoven’s Ninth. This grandiose, oratorio-like conclusion in ten parts forms the backbone of the work, the first three movements in a way prepare the artists for performance of the last movement and the listeners for its reception.
Mendelssohn used Old Testament texts for the Lobgesang oratorio, setting them to music in Martin Luther’s German translation. He rightly thought that anyone who made these sacred texts previously available only to the privileged part of the common treasure was following the footsteps of the great reformer and of Gutenberg. No doubt he also had in mind the example of Johann Sebastian Bach as it was Mendelssohn who played a major role in the rediscovery and performance of the Saint Matthew Passion.
Erkel Theatre, 7:00 pm
Picasso and the Dance
Guest performance by the Bordeaux National Opera’s Ballet Ensemble
Choreography: Léonide Massine
Music: Erik Satie
The Three-cornered Hat
Choreography: Léonide Massine
Music: Manuel de Falla
Choreography: Serge Lifar
Serge Lifar’s rhythms orchestrated by Arthur Honegger and George Szyfer
The Prodigal Son
Choreography: Georges Balanchine
Music: Sergey Prokofiev
Costumes and stage design: Pablo Picasso
Artistic director: Charles Jude
Although the Bordeaux company has used Picasso’s name for the title of their programme, it can be regarded at least as much as a tribute to the famous Russian ballet impresario, Sergey Diaghilev. It was he who invited Massine, Lifar and Balanchine, whose works can be seen in this performance in the Erkel Theatre, to create dances for the Ballets Russes, the company he established in 1911. Through the determined support of Diaghilev, the choreographers were able to co-operate with the outstanding painters and composers of the time, under the aegis of the Ballets Russes. Thanks to the enterprising spirit of the impresario who introduced Russia’s best dancers to Paris and then to the whole of Europe, at the beginning of the 20th century ballet came into contact with the most progressive trends of the contemporary avant-garde. The works created were at once experimental, bold, entertaining and profound. In these compositions the dancers became the instruments of artists, the performances in which they appeared shocked and enchanted audiences and often aroused heated emotions.
Parade, created in 1917, was Picasso’s first work for the stage: his charming models for the stage design were inspired by the world of circus acrobats. The idea for the performance came from Jean Cocteau who later also wrote the libretto. The choreography was by the dancer Léonide Massine who, despite his youth was already staging his third dance. Diaghilev asked Eric Satie to compose the music for the work of the two creative artists. The performance presents the life of a touring variety company in a series of loosely linked scenes. There are acrobats, jugglers, magicians and impresarios on the stage. Because of Picasso’s scenery and costume designs, the original performance is regarded as a theatre manifestation of cubism.
Léonide Massine created the choreography of The Three-cornered Hat in 1919, based on Alarcón’s short story of the same title. Massine fell in love with Spanish folk music and dance and used the music of Manuel de Falla for his ballet. Once again, the visual design was by Pablo Picasso. The story is simple: the miller’s beautiful wife is jealously guarded by her husband; old Corregidor pays court to the woman until the couple are tired of it and teach the old gentleman a harsh lesson. It is interesting to note that the Diaghilev company brought the performance to the Budapest Opera House eight years after its first performance. The rehearsals for the performance by the Opera House ballet company in 1928 were directed by Massine’s assistant, Albert Gaubier who also danced one of the leading roles.
Picasso’s last stage work was the visual design for Serge Lifar’s choreography, Icarus. Lifar, Diaghilev’s last favourite, was not only the choreographer of the one-act ballet, he also wrote the libretto and orchestrated the rhythmic accompaniment for the performance. Icarus was first performed in 1935 with the choreographer in the title role; Picasso participated in the work of production when it was revived in 1962. The performance is actually a solo accompanied by a dance chorus, telling the tragic story of Icarus, son of Daidalos who wished to rise to the heavens on wings he made for himself.
George Balanchine created The Prodigal Son in 1929 to music by Prokofiev. With this work the choreographer bade farewell to the Ballets Russes which was disbanded in the same year with the death of Diaghilev: the stage design was created not by Picasso but by another great painter, Georges Rouault. The premiere of The Prodigal Son was held in the Sarah Bernhardt Theatre in Paris, with Lifar and Dubrovska in the leading roles. The performance presents the classical biblical story and the choreography throws an exciting light on the pictorial force of Rouault’s stage design.
(With the support of the French Institute.)
Folk music, folk dance|
Thália Theatre, 7:00 pm
Concert of the folk music and folk dances of the ten countries joining the European Union
Director: Ferenc Novák
With: Kati Szvorák, the Hegedős Ensemble, Army Male Choir, brass players of the Air Force Big Band (Veszprém), soloists of the Honvéd Dance Theatre
Musical director: László Rossa
The ten-coloured Flower programme is a colourful cavalcade presenting the finest songs, music and solo dances of ten countries. These are the countries acceding to the European Union in 2004. The ten new member countries span a great geographical distance: from the Baltic, through our neighbours, to two small island countries at the edge of Europe, Cyprus and Malta.
Many previously little known music styles are found in this colourful palette. The audience can hear rare musical instruments, vocal solos and unusual choral works and admire brilliant solo dancing in this colourful programme.
(With the support of the Phare Programme of the European Union.)
Literature and theatre evenings|
Katona József Theatre, 7:00 pm
Chekhov: Uncle Vanya
Guest performance by the Bulandra Theatre
Performance in Romanian
(Jointly organised with the József Katona Theatre and the Budapest Spring Festival)