The Hungarian National Philharmonic's Beethoven Concerts
Tickets from May 10, 2022
(rain date: 10 July)
Prometheus Overture, op. 43
Mass in C major, op. 86
Symphony No. 4 in B-flat major, op. 60
Anikó Bakonyi – soprano
Lúcia Megyesi Schwartz – alto
Tibor Szappanos – tenor
István Kovács – bass
Hungarian National Choir (choirmaster: Csaba Somos)
Hungarian National Philharmonic Orchestra
Conductor: Mátyás Antal
In 1801, Beethoven composed ballet music for a libretto by the Italian choreographer Salvatore Viganò titled The Creatures of Prometheus, whose serene introductory music became the Prometheus Overture. The Mass in C major, composed six years later, is a document of the relationship between the composer and the Hungarian nobility. Commissioned by Prince Miklós Esterházy II, its première at the family’s estate in Eisenstadt, then the Hungarian town of Kismarton, was marred by an unpleasant scene that followed. Unenthusiastic about the work’s departure from Haydn’s traditional style of composing masses, the prince said, ”But, my dear Beethoven, what is this you have done again?” The Symphony No. 4, dating from the summer of 1806, continues the series of even-numbered of symphonies begun with the Second Symphony at the previous Martonvásár concert: it is distinguished by its wit, energy, and lightness.
The four soloists for the mass – Anikó Bakonyi, Lúcia Megyesi Schwartz, Tibor Szappanos and István Kovács – all hail from the front rank of Hungarian vocal performers. Conductor Mátyás Antal is closely connected to both the Hungarian National Philharmonic Orchestra and the Hungarian National Choir, having played as a flutist in the former for decades and serving as the choirmaster of the latter for a quarter of a century.
The serenity of even numbers
“Could there exist a mathematical phenomenon that indicates that even numbers are more cheerful than odd ones? Very unlikely – especially as the ancient Romans believed even numbers brought bad luck. In the programmes for this year’s summer Beethoven concerts at Martonvásár, we’ll be dispensing with the grand and serious, world-saving, odd-numbered symphonies: instead of the tribute to a hero of the Third, the struggle against Fate of the Fifth, the apotheosis of dance that is the Seventh, and the ecstatic exultation in joy of the Ninth, this time we will evoke the playfulness and serenity of the lighter even-numbered symphonies – the Second, the Fourth, the Sixth and the Eighth. The three outstanding artists – Mátyás Antal, Balázs Kocsár and Levente Török – represent three different generations of Hungarian conductors, while the soloists are among the country’s very finest singers and instrumentalists. We look forward to welcoming you to hear Beethoven’s music on three summer evenings under the boughs of the Brunszvik Castle park! We hope the Romans will be proved wrong and it won’t rain.”
Domonkos Herboly, general director of the National Philharmonic
Please be informed that if you have a valid ticket for the 2022 Beethoven in the Park concerts, you can enter the Martonvásár Castle Park free of charge after 6 pm. If you wish to enter the park before 6 pm, you may purchase a park entrance ticket at the Agroverzum Centre of Science and Fun. Details: https://agroverzum.hu/latogatasinformaciok/#jegyarak. The concerts begin at 7 pm. We hope you have an enjoyable evening.