Like Mozart, he began composing at the age of five; he wrote his first opera at the age of eight and studied orchestration under Rimsky-Korsakov. He was friends with Humphrey Bogart and excelled at chess. He was born in present-day Ukraine and died in Moscow. His oeuvre suffered under pressure from the Soviet authorities and, ironically, he died the same day as Stalin. Opposites, extremes, eccentricities, change, struggle and - of course - fantastic music: this is Sergei Prokofiev. This year, the traditional and popular marathon organized jointly by the BFO and Müpa Budapest will shine the spotlight on Prokofiev. In his almost 62-year lifetime, the composer visited America and Paris, and conquered the world with the unique sound of his works. He revived the genres of the sonata, the concerto and the symphony, and left behind an oeuvre sufficient to fill the program for several marathons. Come, spend an entire day in this special musical world!
Following Tchaikovsky, Dvořák, Beethoven, Schubert, Mozart, Bartók, Bach, Stravinsky, Mendelssohn and Schumann, Brahms, Bernstein, Debussy and Ravel, Beethoven once again, Berlioz and Liszt online, and Richard Strauss, the star of the sixteenth joint marathon organized by the Festival Orchestra and Müpa Budapest is Sergei Prokofiev, the pianist and composer active across a range of genres, from string quartets to opera and film scores. Once again, the Béla Bartók National Concert Hall will be the venue primarily of the symphonic concerts, while the Festival Theatre will host the chamber music events. Other rooms and spaces will offer free concerts and screenings. As in previous years, performers include outstanding soloists, Hungarian chamber ensembles and orchestras, and as usual, some young talent will also be invited.
The matinee will kick off and conclude with a story. The overture performance will be the popular children’s piece, Peter and the Wolf, which was composed in just two weeks. The finale will be the suite version of a quintessential piece of ballet literature, the story of Cinderella. Also on the program will be popular melodies from Romeo and Juliet, written also as a dance performance, along with some rare gems, such as the amazingly orchestrated score of the movie Lieutenant Kijé (known in Hungary as The Czar Wants to Sleep). Violin Concerto no. 1, cushioned by slow movements, will be performed with a solo by Barnabás Kelemen, while Piano Concerto no. 1, which earned the piano virtuoso Prokofiev a prize at the Anton Rubinstein Competition, will be performed featuring József Balog as the soloist. In terms of symphonies, the marathon will trace the composer’s journey from its “classical” beginnings to Prokofiev’s sophisticated Symphony no 5. In the Festival Theatre, audiences will hear sonatas, quartets and an overture; chamber music concerts with pianists, strings and woodwinds; and there will be a special evening of song, in addition to the “grand” concert performances. Ivan the Terrible will not be present this time, but the artistic director of the marathon, Iván Fischer, will be on hand with a carefully curated line-up, to introduce the audience to yet another composer whom many may not have paid attention to because of his often-daring musical imagination. Until now, that is...
A joint event by the Müpa Budapest and the Budapest Festival Orchestra.