Hungarian Gems Series: Liszt and Bartók

LISZT: Sonata in B minor
- intermission -
BARTÓK: Bluebeard’s Castle, BB 62

Performed by: Dénes Várjon piano, Szilvia Vörös soprano, Gábor Bretz bass baritone
Concerto Budapest
Conductor: András Keller

Two pivotal compositions by two emblematic giants of Hungarian music, Ferenc Liszt and Béla Bartók, feature on the programme of the closing concert of Hungarian Gems Series. In his Sonata in B minor, a single grandiose piece composed for a solo instrument, the piano  – played this time by Dénes Várjon, a recurring guest of Concerto Budapest –, the celebrated piano virtuoso of the 19th century, Ferenc Liszt on the peak of his career, attempted to sum up the great precursors of the genre and his own performance experience. The unusual form with four uninterrupted movements makes use of several already existing formal principles simultaneously, and it can be understood as a series of variations, just like a single movement in sonata form. Bartók's Bluebeard’s Castle in the second part of the concert also carries us through Judit and Bluebeard’s story without interruption. The composer completed his only opera in 1911 based on Béla Balázs’ libretto, but it premiered only in 1918 in the Opera in Budapest. Two world-touring Hungarian singers, Gábor Bretz and Szilvia Vörös, will feature in the concert performance of the opera under András Keller’s baton. Still, the eternal drama between man and woman, the mystery of the seven keys and seven doors, is clearly perceivable.