Salon Budapest – Contemporary Hungarian Chamber Music in Montréal

Salon Budapest – Contemporary Hungarian Chamber Music in Montréal

The Canadian Bozzini String Quartet presented Hungarian chamber music to the Montréal audience at three concerts in early April. Most of the works have been presented as first performances in Canada. Besides one work of older masters, György Ligeti and György Kurtág (… pas à pas – nulle part…), respectively, László Vidovszky (12 String Quartets) and Gyula Csapó each had a string quartet, and the last night’s program included three works by Zoltán Jeney.

Clemens Merkel, the first violinist of the string quartet, commented on the festival for Le Canal auditif: “We play these composers regularly outside of Montreal, especially works by Jeney and Csapó. They were all connected to the New Music Studio in Budapest, founded in 1970 by Péter Eötvös, Zoltán Jeney, Zoltán Kocsis, László Sáry and László Vidovszky. We performed, for example, Jeney’s compositions often at a Swedish festival in Borås. Now we present chamber music that hasn't yet been heard in Canada, but we think it’s worth getting to know them.”

Rehearsal of Jeney's composition

Rehearsal of Jeney's composition (Photo: Quatuor Bozzini)

The last concert is also special in that 22 students of the Saint-Laurent school join the string quartet in the performance of Zoltán Jeney's something like and something round. These two works are like being negatives of each other, both in intensity and in musical movement. “This is static music, says Merkel, the pieces have no story, they are like video installations where apparently nothing moves, but they are full of tiny shades. As 25 violins play at the same time, something always happens.”