Crazy Schedule

Yeah, I know it is the Oscars tonight. I am going to have to read about it in the news this week.

It is true that I don’t shy away from working long hours for an extended period of time. Sometimes, however, the perfect storm happens. Tomorrow and on Tuesday I will be rehearsing with the Hungarian Radio Symphony 10AM-5PM, then at the Liszt Academy for the “Hungarian Late Night” production of the Budapest Opera 6PM-10PM. After the rehearsals I will be working with the musicians of the Hungarian Radio Symphony orchestra at the Budapest Music Center to record my newest composition ‘Alice Etudes’ for clarinet an string quartet. On Wednesday there’s another Radio Symphony rehearsal and the dress rehearsal for the one act operas. Thursday is the day for dress rehearsal and concert with the Radio Symphony. On Friday we premiere the one act operas of the “Hungarian Late Night” production, The second performance is on Saturday.

Looking forward to a wild ride! Wish me luck and check out the following links:

And this…
Come on Ladies and Gentlemen, somebody please push this over the finish line! 😉

May, The Month Of Bells

Two concerts with Symphony Silicon Valley this weekend, one down one more to go. On the program:
Tchaikovsky: Romeo and Juliet Overture Fantasy
Debussy: Nocturnes
Rachmaninov: The Bells
This is my second time conducting Rachmaninov’s “choral symphony”. Here is my blogpost from 2013 about my performance with the Hungarian Radio Symphony with an “all about bells” theme:
The sound of the famous “Russian Bells” of course can be found in Tchaikovsky’s Overture Fantasy as well, and also in the delicate sounds of Debussy’s mezmerising Nocturnes, with female voices added to the mix of the orchestra timbres.
More bells for me in the coming weeks. In between rehearsals and performances I spent most of my time in my hotel room while in San Jose, CA. Let me tell you, I was missing out on some beautiful weather. I spent several hours preparing my score and making additional cuts to Busoni’s opera, Doctor Faust. Two semi-staged performances are coming up at the Budapest Opera. The entire opera starts with the sound of Easter Bells and ends with the sound of more bells accompanying the strange and actually pretty blasphemous apotheosis of Dr. Faust.
I am happy to have some of my Huntsville friends in Budapest for the second performance. They will be on a cruise ship on the Danube and will be stopping by in Budapest just in time to see me conduct Doktor Faust. I am looking forward to showing them around in my hometown and to spend some fun times together in my neck of the woods.

To The Moaning And The Groaning Of The Bells

Last Friday I conducted the concert version of Puccini’s La Boheme with the Huntsville Symphony, the Community and Children’s Chorus and a wonderful cast at the Von Braun Center. This was the first time ever in my life when I started a dress rehearsal with not all the principals present. Due to an unforeseen illness we needed to hire a replacement Mimi. She drove 4 hours from Atlanta and was just pulling into the parking lot as I started Act One (5 minutes late). She just walked on stage about 10 minutes into the act (Mimi’s first appearance) and did a wonderful job. See names and more read more details in FaceBook posts by Huntsville Symphony and myself. No matter in what format you are doing opera, the usual “operatic excitements” always do occur.
From the happy morning bells of Act 3 in La Boheme I have arrived to some very different bells in Budapest, Hungary. As part of the Hungarian Radio Symphony’s (MR Symphony) 70th Anniversary season concert series I am conducting a concert at the Palace of the Arts (MUPA) this Saturday. On the program:
Andras Szollosy (a great composer, often remembered as “The Great Third Master” with Gyorgy Ligeti and Gyorgy Kurtag): TRASFIGURAZIONI
Rachmaninov: THE BELLS

Fro the lyrics of the latter composition (a great symphony for orchestra, chorus and solo voices) see the following link

I designed the entire concert program around “The Bells” theme. Andras Szollosy (FYI the letter “SZ” next to Bartok’s compositions refers to his name, since he was the one -a composer AND a musicologist- who put together the chronological order of Bela Bartok’s works) was obsessed with the sound of the bells. In this energetic and very much “Rite of Spring”-like piece (16 minutes of music) has a lot of great bell-effects masterfully orchestrated for a group of triple woodwinds, 3 trumpets, 3 trombones, 3 (!) violin sections, violas, celli and basses (note that the lack of percussion instruments including any type of bells here!) Szollosy was a big fan of Igor Stravinsky and his music. Needless to say, that the unmistakable Russian bell sound plays a big part in this unique and captivating composition entitled Symphony of Psalms. Here is the unusual orchestration of this piece:
5 flutes (incl. piccolo), 5 oboes (incl. English Horn), 4 bassoons (incl. Contrabassoon) 4 horns, 5 trumpets (incl. Piccolo Trumpet), 3 trombones, tuba, timpani + percussion, two pianos, celli and basses. Yes, you read it right, while the Szollosy piece has three violin sections this piece has NO violins or violas whatsoever.
The Psalms used by Stravinsky for the three movements are:
Psalm 38, verses 13&14
Psalm 39, verses 2,3 & 4
Psalm 150 (complete)

Here are the words for Psalm 150

1 Praise the Lord.
Praise God in his sanctuary;
praise him in his mighty heavens.
2 Praise him for his acts of power;
praise him for his surpassing greatness.
3 Praise him with the sounding of the trumpet,
praise him with the harp and lyre,
4 praise him with timbrel and dancing,
praise him with the strings and pipe,
5 praise him with the clash of cymbals,
praise him with resounding cymbals.
6 Let everything that has breath praise the Lord.
Praise the Lord.