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«Gypsy rhythms are full of fire, sometimes burning like love confessions, sometimes languid like wild horse races, graceful and gentle, like a bird jump in the bright sun, loud and frantic, like an onslaught of cavalry going on the attack. These rhythms are flexible, like the branches of a weeping willow, bent under the breath of the evening breeze. Their rule – not obey any rules!», – the famous Hungarian composer F. Liszt wrote about gypsy music.
Budapest Gypsy Symphony Orchestra “One Hundred Violins” has been traveling the world for more than a year, introducing listeners to “relatives” traditions. Their performances are always colorful and special. One can only wonder how a huge number of musicians manage to achieve such a well-coordinated sound without notes and a conductor, in the usual sense of the word. According to gypsy law, “no gypsy can be above another”, so one of the soloists of the orchestra directs each number in turn.
“Playing the violin requires the most training. Because if you take at least one note incorrectly, then the sound will no longer be the same. We have notes of arrangements, we learn pieces from them and use them at rehearsals. But at concerts we always play the whole program by heart. It is difficult, not everyone will agree to it, but this is the peculiarity of our team. I think we are the only such orchestra in the world – and we want to surprise the audience with this” – explains the director of the orchestra, Nandor Farkas.
Orchestra “One Hundred Violins” – real Hungarian pride. In 2000, the orchestra received the Hungarian Heritage Award. and in the same year entered the Guinness Book of Records. The orchestra has recorded numerous television and radio programs, and has been awarded the “Quality Mark” annually awarded by the Hungarian Radio. Since its inception, the orchestra has given more than a thousand concerts in various places – from small towns to huge cities. The orchestra has received professional awards from many national and international festivals. He regularly performs around the world, but this is his first time in Israel, where he will present a unique program that combines classical, Jewish and gypsy music.
Gypsy culture is very diverse and incredibly interesting. This is due to the wide distribution of gypsies around the world, a rich, albeit short, history, and the complexity of the ethnic composition of this non-territorial nation. Gypsy culture has a noticeable influence on the musical culture of the world. This is especially noticeable in Romanian, Hungarian, Balkan and Spanish music. And freedom-loving nomads from ancient times became the main characters of the works of Prosper Merimee and Victor Hugo, George Bizet and Sergei Rachmaninoff, Emir Kusturica and Woody Allen. According to the most popular hypothesis, the ancestors of the Gypsies lived in northwestern India. The occupations of the Sanskrit-speaking caste were songs, dances, jewelry and blacksmithing. The name of the creative elite – bohemia – formed from one of the nicknames for gypsies in French – bohémiens. Literally, the word translates as “Bohemians, inhabitants of Bohemia”, where many gypsies settled in the Middle Ages. So, the restless life of artists was compared with the life of nomads. The image of bohemia was popularized in dozens of works — from Puccini's opera to songs by Charles Aznavour and Queen.
The gypsies introduced us to cymbals. The instrument became a part of academic music thanks to Igor Stravinsky's acquaintance with the Hungarian dulcimer player Aladar Ratz. The composer, inspired by the playing of a gypsy virtuoso, learned to play the cymbals and later created several works for this instrument. By the way, as part of the “One Hundred Violins” cymbals are present, which is rare in other symphony orchestras. And a place for cymbalists on the stage – in the front row.
It is known that self-taught gypsy virtuosos from ancient times amazed academic musicians with their unique technique, and the bold and heartfelt performance of even the most complex pieces began to be called “gypsy violin”. It is these virtuosos who solo in the orchestra and their few. And there are actually not a hundred violins – there are 50 of them, but string instruments make up the bulk of the orchestra. These are violas, cellos, double basses and cymbals.
Gypsy and Jewish music have a lot in common. It can be said without exaggeration that the violin – it is a folk instrument, both gypsy and Jewish. Not a single wedding in the camps and in Jewish towns could do without a violin. Both nations have many excellent singers, and gypsy songs and romances, like Jewish song music, cannot leave anyone indifferent.
will be held from 12 to 16 November in Haifa, Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, Beersheba and Kiryat Motzkin. These concerts will feature Mike Burshtein, an outstanding Jewish actor, director, producer, TV presenter and singer, an iconic figure in world Jewish culture, the legendary Kuni Lemel, familiar to every Israeli.
*****< br />Budapest Gypsy Symphony Orchestra and Mike Burstein.
Haifa, 11/12/2022, Saturday, “Haifa Auditorium”, 20:00
Jerusalem, 11/13/2022, Sunday, “Teatron Yerushalayim”, 20:30
Tel Aviv, 11/14/2022, Monday, Heykhal HaTarbut, 20:30
Beer Sheva, 11/15/2022, Tuesday, Performing Arts Center, 20:00
Kiryat Motzkin, 11/16/2022, Wednesday, Heykhal ha-Theatron, 20:00
Website of the Budapest Gypsy Symphony Orchestra – www.100tagu.hu
All photos – © BGSO – provided by the project producer – FGKProduction
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