Dénes Várjon and the Concerto Budapest

Bartók: Contrasts, BB 116
Grieg: Piano Concerto in A minor, Op. 16
Beethoven: Symphony No. 3 in E-flat major „Eroica”, Op. 55

Dénes Várjon piano, András Keller violin, Csaba Klenyán clarinet
Concerto Budapest
Conductor: András Keller

A chamber music piece, a concerto and a symphony.  Concerto Budapest’s concert to open the new season evokes the miscellaneous and diverse programmes of the Viennese Classical “Academies”. Its soloists rotate different roles. The Contrasts trio will be played to mark the anniversary of the death of the renowned Hungarian composer Bartók on 26 September. In a broader sense, it is not only the title of the trio that refers to opposite values, that is, contrasts, but also the whole concert is inspired by them: the contrast of textures, modes of expression and tone is the focal point of the programme. In addition, all of the three pieces, particularly the trio and the piano concerto, of which the latter was composed a hundred years earlier, were inspired by folk music. It is apparent that one will find the Hungarian “verbunkos” and folk dance among the sources for Contrasts, but the sounds the Hungarian audience might not recognize when listening to the piano concerto, namely the typical Norwegian Halling and folk song-like melodies, would definitely make a Norwegian heart flutter. Similarly, the Hungarian “verbunkos”-like intermezzo of the Finale of Eroica will resonate with Hungarian hearts. It is also worth mentioning that Grieg showed the concerto to Liszt in 1870, and the unselfish, elderly maestro, who always patronised young talent (in addition to showing his greatest respect), also made some suggestions concerning the orchestration. For instance, he advised that the second theme in the opening movement should be played by the trumpet instead of the cello. Grieg re-composed his piece at least seven times, but did not accept Liszt’s suggestion. Nonetheless, and it is probably no bad thing to hear the second theme played by the cello…