A miraculous homage to Bartók

BRATISLAVA was the site of a genuine Miraculous Meetings concert on April 4 as eight of the world's top virtuosos met to improvise on themes by Béla Bartók. The concert served the double purpose of comme-
morating the 125th anniversary of the Hungarian composer's birth and capping the day's in-
ternational conference on apolitical culture management.

From left to right - Balogh, Kellock, Caribé, Farkas, Rae, Palya, Szokolay and Lubenov.
photo: Patrick Španko

BRATISLAVA was the site of a genuine Miraculous Meetings concert on April 4 as eight of the world's top virtuosos met to improvise on themes by Béla Bartók. The concert served the double purpose of commemorating the 125th anniversary of the Hungarian composer's birth and capping the day's international conference on apolitical culture management.

Bratislava was the third and final city, after London and Budapest, to host the one-time project that was the result of a joint effort by several European organisations.

Talented Hungarian multi-instrumentalist Róbert Farkas, who joined the famed 100-member Gypsy Orchestra when he was just 15 years old, kicked things off with a solo. The world's top jazz pianist, Scottish player Brian Kellock, soon joined him, followed by Brazilian/Scottish bassist Mario Lima Caribé, accordionist Martin Lubenov, drummer John Rae, saxophonist Balázs Dongó Szokolay, Hungarian dulcimer player Kálmán Balogh and singer Bea Palya.

The unique mixture of cultures and genres from these world-class musicians ranged from traditional Balkan and gypsy tunes to jazz improvisations and modern trends, all rooted in highly inspirational variations on Bartók's melodies. The performers' rich harmony intertwined with surprise twists that lifted audience members out of their seats and let them savour solos filled with incredible skill and borderless experimentation. Palya's deep voice resonated with Indian influence that only added to the evening's diversity.

Each of the musicians had performed Bartók's works before and welcomed the opportunity to return to them. Hopefully, listeners feel the same, as Rádio Devín will broadcast a recording of the performance.


- ZH

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