Updated: Apr 17
Béla Bartók needed a quiet environment to compose. From April 1932 to October 1940 he found solace in a house that used to be in the outskirts of Budapest. Today, the house is still in a relatively quiet section of Budapest, but many homes have sprung up since his time there.
When we arrived, musicologist Dr László Gombos met us. He is the musicologist for the Museum of Music History that I mentioned in my previous post. After giving us a history of the house, we went to the second floor. It is now a small concert salon created by remodeling Bartók's original rooms. To our surprise, the performer was Professor Csaba Király who performed in last night's concert. Professor Király is president of the Liszt society and is also known for his amazing ability to improvise in any style. After performing two Liszt pieces and a Bartok piece, he improvised on a tune he created but using the style of Debussy. This ability to improvise used to be common in centuries past. Some European music schools still teach this skill, but it is rare to hear someone so skilled as Király. (Image: Gombos explains the music while Király waits to perform.)
We next went to the Castle district of Budapest, located on the Buda side, the same side as the Bartók hour. Although many buildings look quite substantial the Castle refers to the fact that the district is surrounded by a wall to protect the buildings within.
After walking around to admire the many buildings, we went to the Museum of Music History for a tour of the musical instruments exhibit.
Dr László Gombos met us to talk about early musical instruments and Hayden. I particularly enjoyed the various types of pianos, and to see the evolution from piano forte to the modern piano. One interesting piano is the curved keyboard Bösendorfer.
We ended the day in the Castle district by taking in the view from the Fisherman’s Bastion.
After dinner on the boat, our resident soprano Brittany gave a concert of opera songs. She performed three solos and one duet with our Tauck Tour Director Amy, who also sings. Passenger Paul Ridgeway performed two Liszt pieces. Paul is a professor of piano who volunteered to perform. He was quite good.