Book of Kings
Thursday, 14 May 2020
From 7:30 pmuntil approximately 10:10 pm
Müpa – Béla Bartók National Concert Hall,
HUF 5,500 / 4,500 / 4,000 / 3,500 / 2,500

Book of Kings

Kobayashi season ticket 4

Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy Elias – oratorio, op. 70
Polina Pasztircsák soprano
Andrea Meláth alto
Tibor Szappanos tenor
Zsolt Haja baritone
Hungarian National Choir (choirmaster: Csaba Somos)
Hungarian National Philharmonic Orchestra
Hilary Davan Wetton conductor

The first thing that comes to nearly everyone’s mind upon hearing the name Elijah (Elias in Latin) is the fiery chariot.   The one that took the prophet to heaven. (Pseudo-researchers blessed with active imaginations have posited that this must have been a spaceship piloted by extraterrestrials.) Of course, the biblical Book of Kings also includes many other stories. For example, the one about the drought of several years caused by the people’s failure to listen to the word of God. Or how the Lord visited Elijah not surrounded by thunder and lightning, but as a gentle breeze. Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy was 20 years old when he conducted Johann Sebastian Bach’s Saint Matthew Passion. Music historians consider this 1829 concert to be a turning point, as before then it had not been customary to perform works by the composers of previous generations. Mendelssohn, however, was interested in Baroque music and, on a visit to England, witnessed the Handel cult that remained flourishing there. He wanted to create something similar with the Paulus oratorio. The commission to write Elias came from England. Handel was the natural model, as far as its formal structure was concerned. Nevertheless, the work’s melodic and harmonic worlds, or in other words, everything that fills up the Baroque-style framework, are Romantic to the core. And perhaps it is precisely this peculiar duality, the intentionally antiquated newness that continues to give this work, premièred in 1846 to tremendous acclaim, its magic.