We would like, even during this extraordinary situation, for the Müpa Budapest audience to still be able to encounter the world's most outstanding and thrilling artists each evening - this time in their own homes. It is precisely for this reason that we will open Müpa Budapest's virtual concert hall and auditoriums - each night at the familiar times - by providing access to a single unforgettable performance from past years.
The performance will be broadcasted on our website and YouTube channel.
As a composer, Franz Liszt was primarily occupied with instrumental music, and the powers of the piano had the greatest influence on his creative imagination. Yet he was no stranger to vocals, and was a keen cultivator of choral music genres. His compositions for male choir are particularly worthy of not...e in this field. For this concert of Müpa Budapest and the Budapest Festival Orchestra's joint Liszt-Berlioz Marathon, the Saint Ephraim Male Choir will provide us with a taste of this productive chapter in Liszt's career.
In the 19th century, in many places the culture of the male choir settled into a repertoire containing works that featured the flat sound of working men's choral societies, which discouraged those interested in more demanding compositions. Which is why, later, even in the 20th century, you will find a trace of reservation about male choirs, including in the writings of the Hungarian composer Kodály (though he also created works in the genre). In his own male choral works, however, Liszt reveals a transcendent nobility, purity and refined taste. The compositions to be performed in this concert are religious works. They are defined by Liszt's sincere and profound faith, and an important element of this is simplicity and ancient sound - influenced by Gregorian chanting - that at times, precisely because of the reduction of the tools at hand, produces an expressly modern, forward-looking effect.
The Saint Ephraim Male Choir was founded by the choirmaster Tamás Bubnó, who continues to lead the choir today. In addition to presenting the Christian vocal heritage of the Byzantine Rites, their artistic work also focuses on preserving the traditions of Hungarian male choirs and the works of Liszt, Bartók, Kodály and Ligeti. They have performed at numerous festivals, while their records have been received with great critical acclaim.
Recording date: 4 February 2021
Presented by: Budapest Festival Orchestra, Müpa Budapest