Festival Celebrating the Composer's Birthday

The Liszt Ferenc Memorial Museum commemorated Liszt’s birthday (22 October 1811) with a 2-day series of concerts. On the evening of 19 October Fülöp Ránki gave a concert and on the 20th there were 3 concerts: Péter Kiss opened with the matinée, Csaba Király and Jutta Bokor in the afternoon and the evening recital by László Borbély gave a perfect ending to the event. The whole program was dedicated to Liszt and his wonderful music.

The opening speech was given by Dr. Andrea Vigh, president of the Liszt Academy. The solo piano concert of Fülöp Ránki consisted of Liszt compositions of the Weimar era: the Grosses Konzertsolo for example, a rarely played piece written around 1849-50, the Hungarian Rhapsody No 5 in e minor first published in 1852. The highlight of the concert was Liszt’s masterpiece (also composed in 1852-53) the Sonata in B minor with an emotional and at the same time dramatic performance by the young pianist Fülöp Ránki.

The morning concert was also put together with extra care. Péter Kiss chose a few compositions from the collection of the recently acquired Liszt manuscripts. He played Hymne de l'enfant à son réveil and Romance oubliée. On 22 October Hungarian television aired a one-hour documentary about the extremely precious manuscripts the Liszt Museum bought last year. Péter Kiss also appears in the documentary playing excerpts from the Liszt pieces of the manuscripts. Three relevant and beautiful compositions gave the pillar of the program: Sposalizio, the Second Legend in E minor and the Ballade in B minor. The richness of the sound and his musical technique ravished the audience.

Saturday afternoon’s program was a combination of solo piano pieces and songs by Franz Liszt. Csaba Király, pianist (president of the Liszt Society) and his partner Jutta Bokor (mezzo soprano) performed (Es muss ein Wunderbares sein, Vergiftet sind meine Lieder, Freudvoll und leidvoll, Ave Maria, Go not happy day, Ave maris stella). The combination of powerful piano solos and emotional melodies emerged into a beautiful concert.

The closing event of the festival was a breathtaking solo piano concert by László Borbély. He played a selection of late works by Liszt, among them: Schlaflos! Frage und Antwort, Bagatelle sans tonalité, Csárdás, Csárdás obstinée, Wiegenlied, Sursum corda. The title of the program was Songs of Sorrow and Consolation and gave a perfect reflection of the ageing composer’ sadness and struggle with his own faith. László Borbély gave an excellent performance of a perfectly balanced program that opened new horizons for the audience. All those who listened closely got a little bit closer to understanding the final years of Liszt.