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On the evening of 23 January 2014, the CRR (Cemal Reşit Rey) Concert Hall housed a genuine music event. The Budapest Festival Orchestra, one of the finest orchestras in the world, and one of the most acclaimed and famous conductors of our times, Iván Fischer, gave a concert dedicated to the works of Russian composers. As a resident orchestra, this full complement of successful musicians will perform in 2014 to music lovers in the CRR.

The first part of the programme featured “Polovtsian Dances”, a closing excerpt from Borodin’s four-act opera entitled “Prince Igor”. This melody, which is immensely popular for opera repertoires, livens up audiences every time it is played. Prince Igor was performed for the first time in Turkey by the Ankara State Opera and Ballet in Turkish. The opera was then put on stage in Russian at the Istanbul State Opera. “Polovtsian Dances” is a remarkable example of incorporating oriental music and Turkish melodies into an opera. The Russian composer vividly portrays the historical conflict between the Pecheneg Turkic people and Prince Igor in unforgettable melodies. “Prince Igor” is one of Borodin’s masterpieces.

The second piece of the programme was Piano Concerto No. 3 (in C major, Op. 26) by Sergei Prokofiev (1891-1953). Piano Concerto No. 3 is the most popular and critically acclaimed piece of Sergei Prokofiev’s works, whose oeuvre includes five piano concertos. This time, the soloist of the Budapest Festival Orchestra was Alexander Toradze from Georgia, whose performance of Prokofiev’s piano concerto caught everybody’s attention. Toradze earned the praise of the audience with his excellent technique and professional rendering. The second part comprised Symphony No. 4 (in B minor, Op. 74, “Pathétique”) by P. I. Tchaikovsky (1840-1893). A concert like this would have been inconceivable without Tchaikovsky anyway. The experienced conductor and orchestra delivered a high-quality performance of this technically difficult, notoriously lengthy but exceptional symphony. While I was enjoying this beautiful evening full of Russian music, I could not help but remember the great Tchaikovsky expert Maestro Niyazi Tagizade. This world-famous musician played a significant part in introducing this loveable Russian music and The Five not only to me, but to the whole world.