On 6 November 2016, Zoltán Kocsis passed away at the age of 64, after inscribing his name in the most glorious annals of Hungary's musical history as a pianist, composer, teacher and conductor. In 1997, after a long and illustrious career as a pianist, he took over the helm of the Hungarian State Symphony Orchestra, which under his leadership embarked on a great journey: renamed the Hungarian National Philharmonic Orchestra, it would evolve into a world-class ensemble. Each piece in our concert references a different chapter in the story of the great artist's work.
To kick off the concert, Ádám Cser will conduct the Egmont Overture, written by Ludwig van Beethoven, who was born 250 years ago. The piece's revolutionary tone is well suited to Kocsis's memory, as the young pianist was a genuine musical rebel when the audience first encountered him during the '70s. Zoltán Kocsis was a dedicated performer of Liszt's works, and his versatility and highly diverse role in the Hungarian music world were also reminiscent of the great 19th-century composer, pia...nist, conductor and teacher. Which is why, on this evening, Liszt's works will take centre stage. First we will enjoy Liszt's superb piano concerto, Totentanz, with a solo performance from the outstanding pianist József Balog, who has himself played under the baton of Zoltán Kocsis.
Like a fine couplet, we will also hear two versions of Liszt's Ave Maria. First the original, then as transcribed by Kocsis, a reminder that as a composer Kocsis transcribed works by his great predecessors Bartók, Kodály, Debussy and Rachmaninoff. The concert will close with Beethoven's Symphony No. 7, which in the words of music historian Dénes Bartha is 'a bold pouring into music of a heightened and passionate solemnity and celebration and of a brilliance shining virtually free of shadows that surpassed anything that came before. It is thematically more passionate and sweepingly powerful and, in terms of its scoring, more brilliant, colourful and reverberant than any orchestral work written up to that point.
Presented by: Hungarian National Philharmonic
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