“This morning, while stuck in the morning traffic jam, I was musing as usual, listening to ‘Music Morning’ on Bartók Channel. There was a radio show commemorating the birthday of the philanthropic founder of the Red Cross with some mention of emperor Napoléon III, who fought the Battle of Solferino in 1859, linking forward to Napoléon I and the third movement of Zoltán Kodály’s Háry János Suite, performed by the Festival Orchestra, conducted by Iván Fischer. This is an art song/folk song and as such, doesn’t need much overthinking. It needs no interpretation, “just” playing.
And behold, the BFO just played it. The cello theme is already heart-wrenching. Sobbing and singing, a choir of many generations of peasants, the sound of the sweat-soaked soil maturing the wheat, rings with an unusual depth. And so on, each note has a meaning and significance – generations, the benevolent ghosts of the past, are singing in a voice of love (of country). Each section sounds crystal clear, astonishingly precise and subtle. My mouth fell open and stayed that way... In the end, after the music softly died away, even the radio host remained silent for one or two seconds. It was music performed with inspiration, humility, the deepest love, utmost dedication and concentration. As always.
In March, my grandchild was born and I became a granddad. It’s a fantastic feeling! I thought that if one day she asks me what is there to love about Hungary and this people, I’ll show her this recording and tell her “That’s what, darling”.