Dvořák: Stabat Mater
"I firmly believe and profess that all true art manifests itself through the impressions taken from the outer world - under the influence of the 'experience'.” Although this well-known quote is from Bartók, it is also relevant here in connection to Dvořák. It was not in answer to a professional commission or out of obedience to some abstract artistic need that he wrote the first church music of his life, dealing with the suffering of the "mater dolorosa”, the Mother of Sorrows, as she beholds the agonising death of her son on the cross. Instead, it was an expression of his own most personal anguish after burying his daughter Josefa in 1876. Other work forced him to put aside the work, and he only returned to developing and scoring it after life struck him another blow with the loss of two more of his children. The ten-movement Stabat Mater, a tragic and dramatic work of great power, speaks to us in a different voice than his secular works depicting scenes from the cheerful world of folk-life and moments of sensual beauty. This style is just as expressive, although clearly more sombre and severe, as that of is his later Requiem. Riccardo Frizza, the conductor at the helm of the Hungarian Radio Music Ensembles, is already familiar to the Müpa Budapest audience from both Metropolitan Opera transmissions and the highly acclaimed performance of Bellini's opera I puritani that he conducted in the Béla Bartók National Concert Hall in May 2017.
Zoltán Kocsis Memorial Concert
Under the batons of Zsolt Hamar, who is continuing Kocsis's work at the helm of the Hungarian National Philharmonic, and Péter Dobszay, the orchestra will be playing only works that can be considered symbolic, either because their content constitutes a gesture of commemoration - such as Liszt's Three Funeral Odes - or because they recall one chapter or another of Kocsis's career. Beethoven's Piano Concerto No. 4 in G major evokes in all of us the rebellious figure - like the magical wandering student of folklore - of the young, practically still adolescent, Kocsis. It was with this composition that the 18-year-old won Hungarian Radio's Beethoven piano competition in 1970 and suddenly became nationally known, although only within a narrow circle, as a young artist of great promise. Nor is it a coincidence that this piece is being interpreted by none other than the extraordinary Russian phenomenon Denis Kozhukhin, a pianist of both depth and virtuosity, since the Budapest audience got to know him a few years ago when Kocsis himself conducted him as a guest soloist of the National Philharmonic. László Sáry's composition also requires no explanation: written as a tribute, it also serves as a reminder of the close relationship Kocsis fostered with the most contemporary music throughout his career, in particular with the New Music Studio that was so close to his heart. And finally, the most important chapter of the great artist's repertoire: Bartók. But not just any old way. Each of the Four Piano Pieces was converted, with agreeable scoring, into a new symphonic form worthy of Bartók's spirit by the composer's great apostle. The concert will be preceded by a screening for ticket holders at 6 pm of the film made of the performances of two Richard Strauss works, Friedenstag and Daphne, in 2015. The recording shows Zoltán Kocsis conducting the Hungarian National Philharmonic. The performances were directed by Csaba Némedi, the documentary was produced at Müpa, the film editor-director was Judit Várbíró.
Syrius Legacy: Broken Dreams - suite
It was in 1970 that the fusion wave built on the combination of jazz and progressive rock made it to Hungary, with its leading representative indisputably the ensemble Syrius. This quintet composed of Miklós "Jackie” Orszáczky, Zsolt Baronits, László Pataki, Mihály Ráduly and András Veszelinov released its 1971 album The Devil's Masquerade in Australia and was standing on the threshold of world renown, but political conditions in Hungary stood in their way. Syrius continued as a functioning group, with a changing line-up, until 1978 and gave its last concert in 2001, on Margaret Island. Syrius Legacy, formed in 2014 in order to play legendary Syrius compositions in a modern jazz arrangement, is much more than just a tribute band. They consider it their calling to bring the riches of Syrius's music to generations that never got the chance to hear the original pieces. The band is made up of young musicians, winners of prestigious competitions in Hungary and abroad, including Tamás Ludányi, the victor at Müpa Budapest's Jazz Showcase 2017, the Junior Prima Award-winning Tibor Fonay, and, Ákos Benkó, who is scarcely 30 years old and already teaching at the Franz Liszt Academy of Music. Their first album, Devil's Masquerade Reloaded, came out in the autumn of 2015 and was nominated for a Fonogram Award. The suite Broken Dreams has now appeared on disc for the first time since the original Syrius project structured around the works of Hungarian poets came out 44 years ago. Joining them for this one concert will be Tibor Tátrai, the iconic Hungarian rock guitarist who was himself briefly a member of Syrius from 1972.