Béla Bartók: Romanian Folk Dances, BB 76 – with the original folk dances
Béla Bartók: Hungarian Peasant Songs, BB 107;
Bluebeard’s Castle, BB 62
The Festival Orchestra does not simply perform Bartók; they live and breathe his music, and now invite audiences to join them for an entire evening of fantastic spiritual richness and deeply honest music.
“Iván Fischer, Márta Sebestyén, Ildikó Komlósi, Krisztián Cser and the likes make being Hungarian in a concert hall akin to being Meryl Streep at the Academy Awards gala. One simply gets used to doors opening, and the audience rising for a standing ovation,” wrote a member of the Festival Orchestra’s audience, following the 2017 performance of the ensemble in London. The BFO will now perform this concert of Bartók’s works in Budapest.
The first part of the evening will be unique and unusual, placing original folk music collected by Bartók side by side with his own compositions. Joining the orchestra on stage for this will be the most authentic partner possible: Márta Sebestyén – whose mother was a student of Zoltán Kodály – will perform these traditional Hungarian folksongs, adding her own personal touch but preserving their original character.
The second part of the concert will not stray too far from folk motifs either, for Bartók – even while composing his only ballad opera – remained deeply interested in folk music. Bluebeard’s Castle is the agitated dialogue of a man and a woman, a psychological mystery sweeping the audience away to the deepest reaches of the male soul. This soul is, in many ways, reminiscent of Bartók’s lonely personality, prone to melancholy. Critics had this to say of the BFO performance: “The orchestra’s performance was brilliant in every colour of the rainbow.
Never in my life have I heard this many colours be brought to life. This was matched perfectly by Krisztián Cser’s wonderful, velvety bass.” This time, Cser will be joined by Viktória Vizin; a renowned mezzo-soprano, she has performed for audiences at Covent Garden, Carnegie Hall and the Metropolitan.