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Instead of the long-awaited Maria João Pires, it was Dénes Várjon who performed a piece by Mozart, not by Chopin, at the Budapest Festival Orchestra concert on 18, 19 and 20 October, where a Mozart aria also enlivened the evening. A change of soloist and programme does not always meet the audience’s expectations, perhaps that is why there was not a full house in the National Concert Hall. Even so, the two pieces framing the concert, namely Sándor Veress’s music entitled Threnos “In memoriam Béla Bartók” and Brahms’s Piano Quartet in G minor transcribed by Schoenberg, were still performed. The conductor of the evening was Iván Fischer, the driving force behind the orchestra (papiruszportal.hu)

Veress was requested by the Hungarian Arts Council to compose Threnos for a memorial concert to commemorate the victims of the war on 6 October 1945, during which pieces by Kodály and Pál Kadosa were also performed. The composition incorporates Bartókian intonation because the concert evolved into a commemoration of Béla Bartók. Veress’s sorrowful music is staggering and uplifting at the same time: the timpani beats reminiscent of heartbeats, the tunes of the brass section and the heart-rending sound of the climax all emphasise the depth of the wailers’ gloom and pain. It was a great work and a great performance.

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