About the event
The practise of holding public competitions between renowned musicians has a significant historical past - and the organ duels at Müpa Budapest now have many years of tradition behind them as well. However, in contrast to the musical face-offs of the Baroque, Classical and Romantic eras, the aim in these more recent matches is not to achieve victory, but rather for the entrants to present their knowledge in the most versatile way possible, and of course to keep the audience wonderfully entertained. On this evening, the outstanding Dutch organist Sietze de Vries and his Hungarian counterpart László Fassang will also provide some insight into the improvisational technique of Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck, who worked in Amsterdam around the turn of the 16th and 17th centuries.
When Bach, bowing to the wishes of King Frederick the Great of Prussia and proud of his abilities but never boastful, agreed to a harpsichord match against Louis Marchand, the French virtuoso, hearing the music filtering through the doors as the great Johann Sebastian prepared for the contest, fled from the site without so much as a farewell to anyone. Mozart, however, competed with Muzio Clementi, as did Beethoven with Daniel Steibelt, and Liszt with Sigismond Thalberg. Doing the same thing now will be the internationally renowned concert artist and church musician Sietze de Vries, the organist of Groningen's Martinikerk, and his friend and colleague László Fassang, an experimental and open-minded musician who serves as a professor at both Budapest's Liszt Academy and the Conservatoire de Paris. The chief element of their competition is diversity: the challenges they have undertaken are extremely varied. Starting from the improvisational forms typical of Sweelinck's era, the two will demonstrate a wide range of organ tones and creative musical processes. There to make sure that the audience understands everything in full will be a pair of excellent presenters: musicologist Gergely Fazekas and organist-conductor Péter Dobszay. Anyone who has ever been to one of Müpa Budapest's Organ Duels will remember what great fun and substantive entertainment awaits the audience on this evening.
The Bridging Europe Festival is sponsored by the Embassy of the Netherlands.