Sunday, 1 February 2009

Friday's Concert





I was back at the Van Wezel Performing Arts Centre in SRQ for a concert given by the Budapest Festival Orchestra.

Gabriel joined me, and first we had dinner at Sangria, a very good Tapas Bar on Main St., SRQ
Of course I had mussels. Every other item on a menu blurs into nothing once I have seen that a restaurant offers mussels. The more the merrier.

It was an excellent concert.

In the first part we enjoyed two Hungarian Dances by Brahms, and the Hungarian Rhapsody # 3 by Liszt.

Ivan Fischer, the Music Director introduced these pieces and told us about the Hungarian Gypsy melodies which inspired Brahms and Liszt.

His comments came to life, as also on stage were two Gypsy musicians, father and son - both named Jozsef Lenvay.

In the Gypsy tradition the father, who has been taught by his father, then teaches his son. And it’s always the same instrument which is passed through the generations. In the Lenvai (or Lenvay) family the instrument is the violin.

The training is quite unlike formal musical education - in fact these musicians do not read music. They do not need to for they create it from their hearts and skills.

This father and son were simply terrific. They played solo, in duet, and with the orchestra.

The son in particular created sounds which were both sublime and electrifying. He was able to bow and to pluck his violin at the same time - eye and mind boggling stuff.

Also on stage was Oskar Okros, a Cimbalom player. I had never heard of this instrument, let alone heard one played. The cimbalom is in the same family as the hammered dulcimer. But is it much larger than a hammered dulcimer, and stands on four legs.

As Maestro Fischer told us, Mr. Okros is a wizard on the cimbalom.

After the intermission we heard Brahms’ First Symphony - one of my favourites.
For me, the first three movements speak of an impassioned struggle leading to a joyful resolution in the fourth movement.

It was another superb evening, for which I am grateful

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