Non-season ticket concert 1
Ferenc Erkel: Festival Overture
Béla Bartók: Violin Concerto No. 2, Sz. 112, BB 117
Ernő Dohnányi: American Rhapsody, op. 47
Igor Stravinsky: Firebird Suite (1919)
Ádám Banda violin
Hungarian National Philharmonic Orchestra
Conductor: Oliver Dohnányi
It is traditional for the Hungarian National Philharmonic Orchestra to hold its season-opening concert on 25 September, the day before the anniversary of Béla Bartók’s death. The date’s significance transcends itself: it inspires us to preserve the treasures of Hungarian musical traditions. This year’s concert features three Hungarian works, including one rarity worthy of discovering. However, it’s also an important fact that the evening will conclude with an international classic of the 20th century. The soloist is one of the young talents – and it’s no accident that the conductor bears the name Dohnányi, either.
Erkel wrote the evocative and dynamic Festival Overture in 1887 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the opening of the National Theatre. Bartók’s Violin Concerto was created in 1937/38 at the request of Zoltán Székely, the primarius of the legendary Hungarian String Quartet. Dohnányi composed his American Rhapsody during his émigré years, based on a commission he received from Ohio University in 1952. This composition that is still hardly known in Hungary develops American folk tunes, including Wayfaring Stranger, which can be interpreted as a reference to the composer’s homesickness for his distant homeland. The brilliantly scored suite version of The Firebird, the work of ballet music by Stravinsky being played in the second part of the concert, is likewise not alien to Hungarian music, as it also influenced Bartók, who quoted one of the melodies in the work in his Piano Concerto No. 2.
Ádám Banda is an outstandingly talented member of the younger generation of Hungarian violinists. It is a heartwarming coincidence that this concert featuring a work of Dohnányi’s will be conducted by Oliver Dohnányi, the chief music director of the Yekaterinburg Opera, whose great-great-grandfather was a brother of Ernő Dohnányi’s grandfather and who has been beloved by the Hungarian audience ever since his success at Hungarian Television’s 1983 International Conducting Competition.