Tomorrow (Sunday) at 7:30PM (Budapest time) singers Alinka Kozari, Katalin Karolyi, Gyorgy Philipp, Ensemble UMZE and myself will perform an extremely versatile and exciting program. All three pieces are Hungarian Premiere. The concert is part of the program of Budapest Spring Festival 2014. The venue for the concert is the amazingly beautiful concert hall of the Budapest Music Center.
Balazs Horvath ‘Assemblage’ is a composition for ensemble with instrumental soloists who also act. The violinist is the musician who wants to take over the lead from the conductor; the horn player is the actual, real “soloist” (with very difficult material to play). The bugle player is dressed as a clown and behaves as such. The bassoonist acts like “your typical orchestral musician” (not my opinion, so direct your criticism directly towards the composer! ☺) The ensemble enters by playing on pots and pans while the conductor leads the procession in a drum major function (I do have a real drum major baton!) There are Four Scenes and for the 4th one the musicians move to the back of the hall mirroring their downstage seating. We even take a bow at the end with our back to the audience.
This is a very well written, very well thought through “instrumental theater” piece. It is a lot of fun and all of us are having a ball.
Visit the composer’s website here:
‘Eight Songs for a Mad King’ by Sir Peter Maxwell Davies, CH, CBE, composer and conductor, Master of the Queen’s Music was written in 1969 and is still a fully valid, musically and dramatically engaging, powerful piece of music theater. (How does one become the Master of the Queen’s Music after being an experimental, avant-garde composer is a different story and should be the topic of a separate blog entry.) A strong and captivating performance is in the making with Gyorgy Philipp as “King George III” with some serious contemporary overtones in the direction of Andras Almasi-Toth. Let me just say, that while homeless people are banned from public spaces in the City of Budapest “our King George” is dressed as a bum and acts totally crazy and inappropriate. He won’t let security to remove him from the theater hall and ends up leaving on his own terms, exhausted, figuratively and literally naked with the accompaniment of the conductor and the drummer.
Here is some reading material about ‘8 Songs’:
The well-known story of the Pied Piper comes to life in the 40 minute long masterpiece by George Benjamin. Two singers (soprano and alto) are playing and acting all the characters. The Minister would do anything to get reelected. The Crowd wants only one thing, to get rid of the rats in the city. (Rats? Just watch out for the projected images in Andras Almasi-Toth’s interpretation! You’ll find even more contemporary political allusions… Let me state at this point, that this concert was supposed to happen over a year ago. The fact, that we are playing it just two weeks before the Hungarian general election is merely a coincidence! ☺) And the story of the Pied Piper continues…
George Benjamin’s music is almost unknown to the Hungarian audience. I am really happy to be able to present this major work of his with really great singers in both roles. Here is another great work about the power of music.
Read more about this chamber opera –about the power of music –, in a NY Times review from 2007:
Tomorrow’s concert is a journey from Instrumental Theater through Monodrama to Chamber Opera; and music, of course is much more than just incidental.