06 March 2009

small interlude: Bartók plays Bartók and where's Budapest when you need it?!

Happy memories:

Yesterday I rediscovered this album on my Ipod: historic recordings of Bartok playing his own works (as well as some baroque). I bought this cd-collection in Budapest 12 years ago on an exhausting 5 day student trip (with 2-day coach trip from Belgium included...argh!). The trip itself wasn't that great, organized by the student association who was more into Hungarian discos than you know, actual culture. Or at least anything that didn't just include booze and decibels.
Luckily I managed to escape on our last full day in that gorgeous city, where eastern and western influences mix and create a magical atmosphere...

With some creative navigating (I had a map, but didn't know which side of the river I was on!) I found the old centre, and in those few hours I was on my own (we had agreed to meet somewhere in the center) I found Franz Liszt's birthplace, tried one of those tiny but oh so scrumptuous pies and discovered this one cd shop...I found those CDs of Bartok playing his own music and for that alone the trip was worth it! These were CDs that you just couldn't find in Belgium back then.

Now you must know that Eastern European (classical) music (scores and recordings) used to be quite affordable compared to the Western kind. So when you or someone you knew went on holiday, you asked them if they could bring back music...
That's to say, my Mom had some piano learning books which she got from a friend who brought it back for her, with lots of Bartok, Kabalevsky and a bunch of others from which I learned to play the piano. Which was tons more fun than some of those dull Belgian/French method books! Especially Bartok almost comes naturally when you're a kid, the brightly colored muscial themes and harmonics are straightforward and recognizable, although not in a traditional classical way. His music for kids reminds me the books/illustrations of Dick Bruna (from Nijntje ;-) )


  1. Kristien ... I can almost imagine you escaping those decibles and excessive drunkards to wander Budapest ... to the beat and tone of Bartok ... so poetic .

  2. Hallo Kristien
    Ek luister slegs na klassieke musiek terwyl ek my glas krale maak! Dit is heel goed dat ander Lampworkers ook die genre geniet. (this is Afrikaans, if you did not understand it, I would translate, but I know from Flemish friends, that Afrikaans is very close to Flaams!)

    Dankie dat jy my blog besoek het!