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Felix Mendelssohn

On Sunday 31 January, Müpa Budapest and the Budapest Festival Orchestra will be presenting their ninth music Marathon; the concerts start early and will fill Müpa Budapest’s concert halls non-stop into the evening. For the first time, the Marathon will feature not one but two composers: the great romantics, Mendelssohn and Schumann.

“Romanticism is perhaps best described in the words of the painter Caspar David Friedrich, when he said ‘the artist’s feeling is his law. ‘ This was a true revolution after generations had studied the laws of good taste.  In this new era, restless spirits tested the boundaries while delving ever deeper into their souls. Schumann and Mendelssohn, the two giants of the period, also tore away at the secrets of the soul. And once inside, one found dark demons while the other saw fairies and sprites. Let us immerse ourselves in the dark forests and fairy tales of German romanticism.” (Conductor Iván Fischer, Artistic Director of the Series)

“The diversity of national cultures come together to form a European culture. This year, we have chosen two defining figures of German romanticism for the festival’s theme. Mendelssohn lived a thoroughly successful life, while Schumann’s career was a constant struggle. Through their music, we would like to show not just their works as composers but also the multi-coloured diversity of humanity.” (Csaba Káel, CEO of Müpa Budapest)

The cream of Hungarian music will gather on 31 January to present as many interesting aspects of German romanticism as they can fit into one day. For this occasion, Kristóf Baráti, Katalin Kokas, Barnabás Kelemen, Dénes Várjon and Anna Lucia Richter will join the Hungarian National Philharmonic Orchestra, the Pannon Philharmonic Orchestra, the MÁV Symphony Orchestra and the Budapest Strings Chamber Orchestra, among others. As has become traditional, the Budapest Festival Orchestra, conducted by Iván Fischer, will play the Marathon’s concluding concert, this time featuring a special performance of A Midsummer Night’s Dream seasoned with theatrical elements.

Iván Fischer, artistic director of the Marathon, has compiled a varied programme of short, varied concerts from the German Romantics. Mendelssohn and Schumann were contemporaries and close friends, and their oeuvres are related in many ways. While Mendelssohn’s music is clean, graceful, lyrical and powerful, Schumann’s is full of youth and overflowing emotions; he was an ambassador for life and love. Still, the two also provide numerous contrasts; while Mendelssohn poured his romantic feelings into classical forms, Schumann did away with tradition at the beginning of his career, and was thus the more innovative composer. Mendelssohn was happy and successful, whereas Schumann’s life was full of trials and tribulations.

Over the course of a whole day, from 10:30 in the morning to 10 pm, the series of concerts will bring these similarities and contrasts to life as they fill Müpa Budapest’s Béla Bartók National Concert Hall, Festival Theatre and Glass Hall.

As has now become customary, this year you will again be able to follow the Marathon live in HD quality, through the websites of mupa.hu and bfz.hu.

The first Marathon put on by Müpa Budapest and the BFO featured works by Tchaikovsky. The series, which lasted from early morning till late in the evening, had a special atmosphere and was an overwhelming success. Because of its span and affordable pricing, the Marathon’s concerts draw audiences of ten thousand every year, with whole families regularly in attendance.