THE FESTIVAL of organ music at the Bratislava Castle returned last year after the castle’s reconstruction was completed and the organ from 1975 was re-installed in the Music Hall. (It was previously organised under the name Days of Organ Music at Bratislava Castle and was put on hiatus while the castle was being reconstructed.) The second year of the Bratislava Organ Festival (BOF) offers a host of performers from Slovakia and abroad, and some new additions as well.
Organisers have included a special project for the festival, called Cross-Over Organ, an international trend that merges classical music with other genres to create innovative works.
“We are glad and honoured to … introduce to our audiences organ from a totally new angle, [by] top Hungarian organ player and winner of the prestigious competition in Chartres, László Fassang,” the BOF’s art director, Marek Vrábel, announced to the media. “This exceptional artist continues not just in the career of world-renowned classical organ player, but thanks to [his] improvisational skills, performs also in jazz and world-music projects.”
Fassang will be joined by multi-instrumentalist Balázs Dongó Szokolay, who plays various wind instruments, like bagpipes, folk whistles and saxophone. They will perform improvised ethno-jazz interpretations of folk tunes from the Carpathian Basin. Other special performances of the festival include those of young Italian-Japanese duo Alex Gai and Ai Yoshida, who will play the organ together, sometimes getting their hands and legs intertwined in the “4 Hands and 4 Legs” concert, and the improvisations of Bernadetta Šuňavská, a Slovak musician working in Germany.
Due to the delicate construction of the organ at Bratislava Castle, the concert will feature the much larger organ in the Reduta building of the Slovak Philharmonic. Erwin Messmer of Switzerland and Irena Chřibková of the Czech Republic will play old Germanic music and compositions of Czech composers, respectively. Slovak performer Imrich Szabó, a professor at the Academy of Performing Arts in Bratislava and the organiser of the series of organ concerts on Slovak Radio, will round out the festival programme.
Concerts will take place between July 9 and 21, starting at 17:00; tickets will be available at the Castle ticket office and those for the Reduta concert at the Hummel Music shop at Klobučnícka 2 or one hour before the concert at the Reduta ticket office. The entire programme can be found at www.bkis.sk or (in Slovak) at mjuzik.eu.