REMEMBERING SIR GEORG
A globetrotting artist, it was rare to see and hear him in Hungary. However, it was his wish that his mortal remains should be placed in the Farkasrét Cemetery, near the tomb of Béla Bartók. His epitaph read: “He’s home”.
21 October marks a century since György Solti was born in Budapest; he died fifteen years ago in the French Antibes. He was known to the world as Sir Georg Solti, and he didn’t particularly care about being Hungarian. But he never forgot his roots, and we too must realise that there were genuine cosmopolitans who started in the musical world of Budapest. He attended the Academy of Music under Arnold Székely, then Béla Bartók; he became a chorus director in the Budapest Opera House, and also introduced himself as a conductor in the late thirties, but he had to flee the Nazis and emigrate to Switzerland. He became chief music director of the Munich Opera, then the Frankfurt Opera; in 1959, he was invited to London to reorganise the Royal Opera House, i.e. Covent Garden. From 1969, he served as director of the Chicago Symphonic Orchestra, and from 1971 as music director of Orchestre de Paris. From 1979, he was conductor of the Berliner Symphoniker, before moving to the London Symphony Orchestra in 1985.
Solti’s activity had a great impact on 20th century music. He staged not only the classics, but also new authors such as Carl Orff or Arnold Schoenberg’s unfinished piece, Aaron and Moses.
He attached particular importance to Hungarian and Eastern European composers. Thus it was not by chance that the Budapest Festival Orchestra conducted by Iván Fischer and Dénes Várjon chose to perform Ernő Dohnányi’s Symphonic Minutes and Variations on a Nursery Song, and Antonin Dvorak’s Symphony No. 8 in G major on the occasion of the concert organized in the memory of the great conductor and pianist.
The concert on 12 October starts at 6 pm with a prologue in the Auditory. Dénes Várjon and a few artists of the Budapest Festival Orchestra who toured with Solti back then will evoke experiences and memories of the outstanding conductor. Entrance is free for ticket holders.