Sunday, 23 October 2011

Sunday night is...Liszt, 'gypsy music' and GS

Parno Graszt outside the family house where we recorded the music.

So finally it is on, the Sunday feature tonight is Hungary's Soul: Liszt and Gypsy Music.

Hungary has become synonymous with gypsy music. In the 200th Anniversary year of Liszt's birth, the Hungarian-born poet George Szirtes sets off to Budapest to follow Liszt's book on gypsy music, to discover what might be meant by gypsy music by other people and what it is about this music that is or is not Hungarian.

Liszt's book (1859) is the starting point of George Szirtes' search that takes in Hungary's turbulent history, through 2 world wars and communism to now. George Szirtes speaks to prominent gypsy musicians like violinist Roby Lakatos and cimbalon player Kalman Balogh, and also the internationally-renowned folk singer Marta Sebesteyen.

He also travels to the North-East region of the Great Hungarian Plain, where...

On the principle of always leaving people wanting to know something I leave you to follow the link, or better still, listen to the programme and see what you make of it. It is something like eleven hours miraculously condensed to about forty minutes by brilliant producer, Elizabeth Arno. A new poem by self at the end.

Józsi bácsi (Uncle Joe) the family patriarch and, very occasional but very touching singer.


Gwil W said...

Sunday is Franz Liszt on ARTE.

Daniel Barenboim playing Liszt's Piano Concert No.1 with the Berlin Kapelle Orchestra conducted by Pierre Boulez in Essen. Part of the Ruhr Festival and ARTE's 200 Year Liszt series. Excellent performance.

Graham Mummery said...

A fascinating program. I enjoyed hearing about how Lizst helped to put a Hungarian music on the map, and may have helped in some ways to keep the "gypsy" music alive, even if he did adapt it for his own purposes. As well as telling me something about his own music, it put into context Bartok and Kodaly's later and closer examination of folk music.

It also was intersting, for me, to hear about the relationship of the "Gypsy tradition" of violin playing both on its own terms. As a lover of vintage classical violin recordings put a new light on the playing styles of the likes of Szigeti, Szekely and even Enescu. That tradition of fiddle playing also seems to be sadly fading.

Enjoyed your poem also. Look forward to reading it maybe in your next book.

All the best and well done


penny shuttle said...

Likewise, much enjoyed the programme, a rich and illuminating listen. Programmes such as this make up for the way the world is heading in its handcart. Thank you! Penny

Anonymous said...

And who is that beautiful creature in the background?

George S said...

Sorry to be getting so late to these last two comments, Penny and Mr Phil. The Comments mechanism held them up till today. Thank you for the kind comment, Penny! And Mr Phil, I know, I know, she was very beautiful, the whole flashing eye thing, and hard not to look at. She sings in the band - not as leading singer, more on choruses - and is married to the man next to her, on her right. It's handsome family and generous with the wine.