TRANSFIGURED NIGHT – Concert film from the Synagogue of Pápa

Concert from the biggest synagogue of the Transdanubia
On 3 June the Facebook channel of broadcast our orchestra’s concert, which was watched by 21 thousand people.

Journalist János Haász wrote About the concert on Telex:

“The Budapest Strings Chamber Orchestra plays Transfigured Night by Arnold Schönberg, who was persecuted by the Nazis due to his Jewish origin.

From the 17th century, once the most populous Jewish community of Transdanubia lived in Pápa, a town which has about thirty thousand inhabitants now. No wonder that rural Hungary’s biggest synagogue, which was also Transdanubia’s biggest, was built there.

The Neoclassical building was inaugurated in 1846 and served the congregation of Pápa for approximately 100 years until the Holocaust in the second world war. The building suffered severe damage during World War Two, being used by the Nazis as a stable for some time after the deportation of the Jews.

Although it was re-inaugurated in 1945, since very few Jews returned out of the 2500 Jewish inhabitants who were sent to death camps during the Holocaust, it remained mostly
vacant and unused. There were numerous ideas to use it for cultural purposes but, in lieu of money, nothing really happened and the condition of the building permanently deteriorated.

The Budapest Strings Chamber Orchestra saw an opportunity in this ghostly, ruinous, abandoned environment and made a special concert film in this ruinous, shut down synagogue. They performed String Sextet Op. 4, composed in 1899 (the string variant of which was composed in 1917) by Arnold Schönberg, who was born in Vienna and who, in 1933, fled to the United States from Nazi persecution due to his Jewish origin.

The music piece is known as Transfigured Night after German poet Richard Dehmel’s eponymous poem which inspired the music piece. The concert music starts with this poem, combining classical music and poetry, which is read by actor Hanna Pálos in the translation of János Lackfi, who is the regular author of the fiction column of Telex.

Then the orchestra programme starts. The piece is mentioned as an emblematic work of art of the 20th century due to its especially personal voice, a contrast between motionless mourning and passionate pathos, as well as due to its nearly toolless verses alternating with complex and crowded form parts.

The performing Budapest String Chamber Orchestra has been giving concerts since 1977. They have recorded over forty albums, in 2001 they were awarded with Hungary’s highest-ranking professional recognition, the Bartók-Pásztori Award, and in 2006 with the MTA Artisjus Award. The orchestra’s concertmaster is the Liszt Award winner János Pilz, its founder and artist leader being Károly Botvay and the director of the production Péter Bekker.”

János Haász (TELEX)

The article is accessible through THIS link.