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