Hungarian maestros delight audiences at Inclassica 2023 with works from multiple artists
Hungarian stars present music by Alexey Shor in Dubai
Hosted at the Coca Cola Arena and Dubai Opera, two of Dubai’s most illustrious venues, InClassica 2023 welcomed artists from around the globe to join together in a celebration of the sublime beauty of classical music spread out over 26 solo, chamber and symphonic concerts. For this iteration of the festival, the Hungarian contingent was particularly well represented, with an orchestra, conductor, and various soloists from the European nation featuring at the festival, evidencing the growing influence that the country continues to have on the global classical music sector.
The Savaria Symphony Orchestra was the first to provide audiences with a taste of Hungary’s musical talent at this iteration of the festival, as the ensemble marked the beginning of a 4-day stay at InClassica with a concert on Monday 20th February, aptly titled, ‘Welcoming Hungary to Dubai’. Joining them on the conductor’s podium was one of their own compatriots, Hungarian conductor Gergely Madaras, who in the past had himself held the post of Chief Conductor at the Savaria Symphony Orchestra for six years, and was now reunited with the orchestra for this special event.
Throughout their stay in Dubai, the Savaria Symphony Orchestra presented works from a huge variety of composers, showcasing their wide-ranging repertoire. These included the beloved ‘Dances of Galanta’ from Hungarian composer Zoltán Kodály, which proved to be extremely popular with audiences present in the hall, along with offerings from Giuseppe Verdi, Felix Mendelssohn, Johannes Brahms, Gioachino Rossini, Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky and the festival’s Composer-in-Residence, Alexey Shor.
Given the honour of presenting several of the contemporary composer’s pieces in the presence of Shor himself, the ensemble performed his Cello Concerto No. 3, Clarinet Concerto No. 1, Piano Concerto No. 1, ‘Travel Notebook’, and a special arrangement of ‘Well-Tempered Chanson’ throughout their stay, collaborating with several maestros, including Dutch conductor Daniel Raiskin, Armenian cellist Narek Hakhnazaryan, Italian clarinettist Fabrizio Meloni, South Korean pianist Yeol Eum Son, and the renowned Hungarian virtuoso violinist Roby Lakatos.
Roby, who is a living legend in his native land, also brought with him the Roby Lakatos Quartet, consisting of Roby himself on the violin, Jeno Lisztes on the cimbalom, Vilmos Csikos on the double bass and Robert Szakcsi Lakatos on the piano. Presenting his own arrangement of ‘Well-Tempered Chanson’, Roby noted that “it’s very interesting. We wanted to try something different so we did a lot of improvisation, so it was this real beautiful music and playing this kind of variation, mixed with a lot of improvisation. It’s interesting to hear them being used in contemporary music, which is something I do a lot myself as well.”
Barna Kiss, the Director of the Savaria Symphony Orchestra, echoed these sentiments, remarking that “the music compositions of Alexey Shor are really interesting, because he’s composing in the times that we are living in, and making music that one likes hearing, and can appreciate and is extremely pleasant to listen to. There’s lots of passion and love in his style of music with some really excellent melodic elements, so it’s very interesting to perform.”
After Roby, Madaras and the Savaria Symphony had all departed Dubai, the Hungarian baton was then picked up by the acclaimed violinist, Kristóf Baráti, a Recording Artist for Brilliant Classics and Berlin Classics, and Artistic Director of the Kaposvár International Chamber Music Festival. Teaming up with the Middle East Orchestra and Italian conductor Gianluca Marcianò, Baráti performed Shor’s Violin Concerto No. 4 in B minor, a work in three movements exhibiting Shor’s trademark lyrical and tonal musical approach.
Receiving copious plaudits from the audience for his interpretation of the piece, Baráti shared his own thoughts about the piece, stating that “it’s very enjoyable to play. I personally very much like the language of Maestro Alexey Shor; I think it combines a very melodic style with a lot of atmosphere in his music. There is a lot to enjoy with it and I really believe that it gives the soloist the chance to add your own feelings, to add your own connection to that music as a soloist”.
With Baráti’s concert, the Hungarian stay at InClassica 2023 came to a close, leaving behind hundreds of enamoured music-lovers in their wake. While managing to enchant audiences with their individual performances, each of the musicians at the festival have transcended their own accomplishments by helping to showcase the very best of Hungarian musical heritage, enshrining the nation’s place on the global cultural stage, and leaving Middle Eastern audiences hungry for their next taste of the musical stars that the country has to offer.