Monday, September 29, 2014

Weekend Concerts

This past weekend, Dan and I were able to attend two exciting events. On Friday, we went to the presentation of the autograph of Mozart's Piano Sonata in A Major, K. 331.  See my previous Mozart post for more details. It was a wonderful event. Although most of the lecture was in Hungarian, one section was in English. We learned many interesting things about how they can look at Mozart's handwriting and the type of paper to help date a piece. We also learned that this autograph has been missing since Mozart's death. Since the piece had already been published, it was able to survive but the autograph is always the most authoritative version.  Dr. Balázs Mikusi, head of the music collection at the National Library, gave two presentations about how he found the autograph and its significance.
Ulrich Leisinger from the Mozarteum Foundation in Salzburg spoke in English and was followed by a Hungarian translator.
The final part of the program was what we had all been waiting for, a performance of the piece. Zoltán Kocsis, Director of the Hungarian National Philharmonic, performed the sonata on a pianoforte. It was great! It was my first time hearing a pianoforte, a predecessor of our modern piano. It has a unique timbre that is somewhere between a harpsichord and a piano.

On Sunday, we attended a concert presented by Concerto Budapest at the Liszt Academy. It was an absolutely beautiful hall. We took a few pictures with our phones but we definitely want to take our good camera next time. Another Fulbright student, Lisa Romain, was playing in the orchestra so we went to hear her perform. Here was the program for the evening:

Musique funèbre, dedicated "à la memoire de Béla Bartók"

Violin Concerto in E minor, Op. 64
Violin: Akiko Suwanai

Symphony nr. 5 e-moll op. 64

I was so excited to hear the Tchaikovsky that I cried. I have never heard it live before. The second movement has the most beautiful horn solo. I loved it! Here is a recording (not the same performance) so you can hear it.

One of the most exciting things about both performances is the way people in Hungary applaud. First, it starts out just like it does at home. Everyone claps with excitement immediately after the performance. Then the group starts with a unison slow clap which gradually get faster and faster. After a it reaches a certain speed, it starts over again slowly and repeats. This will repeat as many times as the audience likes. I like it. It makes the applause more active in a way. It's not mindless clapping. But, it also makes it seem more like a sporting event as well. It's quite different from what I'm used to. Here is an example I found online so you can see what I mean.

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