Balogh as Composer-in-Residence in Győr

Balogh as Composer-in-Residence in Győr

Máté Balogh will be Composer-in-Residence of the Győr Philharmonic Orchestra in the 2021/2022 season. We asked about his new assignment and his upcoming works.

How did you get the invitation? What will your activity consist of?

The Győr Philharmonic Orchestra has a new conductor in the person of Martin Rajna from this season. Although Martin is only twenty-five years old, he has worked with several foreign orchestras to see how widespread the institution of composer-in-residence is abroad. That is why he suggested that a composer should also get the opportunity to do so in Győr for a year. Luckily the leaders of the orchestra essentially gave me a free hand in what works I plan to write for the upcoming concert season. Eventually, we agreed that I would compose three pieces of a very different nature for the orchestra.

And what is known about these? How clear are your plans?

The first piece, Raabertüre, for large orchestra has already been completed during the summer, and the premiere will take place on September 24th. It’s a typical festive overture: joy to play for musicians and joy to listen for the audience. A fellow musician said about it: It has been conceived from an odd marriage of Rossini, Shostakovich, and my deceased master, Zoltán Jeney. There are plenty of march-like sections in it: when I reach for a large orchestra, such moods — perhaps from my childhood brass band experience — always come up, as they did earlier in my Alabama March. But, of course, I was playing on how to tilt such commonplace elements into unusual refractions.

After this overture, what will be the sequel?

There comes a four-movement symphonic work, which I was courageous enough to title Symphony. Although it will only use an 18th-century orchestra, with two oboes and two horns, its form will still be large-scale. At its premiere it will be paired by Haydn’s 47th Symphony in G major, and I’ll dare to write a minuet in it, too, and try to connect to the humor of Haydn’s music in my own way.

And the third plan?

It will be quite different: The management of the orchestra suggested that I use folk songs in it, and I decided to set folk songs of the former Austro-Hungarian Monarchy, whose capitals: Vienna and Budapest are in equal distance to Győr, for singer and chamber ensemble just like Berio used it in his Folk Songs. So far, I have collected the material, for example, I have reviewed Janáček’s collections of Moravian folk songs and Max Eisikovits' Transylvanian Yiddish songs, and found many beautiful melodies.
In any case, I look forward to the season with great anticipation, I reckon that I will have a wonderful opportunity to learn a lot from working with the orchestra and the conductor.

Photo: Szilárd Nagyillés