22nd Liszt Festival - 14-23 October 2023


22nd Liszt Festival 14-23 October 2023

The Royal Palace of Gödöllő was not only an important location of the Hungarian and European historical events in the past 300 years but also a popular cultural centre for the most excellent artists of the time. We asked some of the returning musicians about their experience of the past festivals as well as their plans for the forthcoming festival.
József Balog finds it a great experience to perform at the palace, as both the historical connection and the fantastic environment are truly inspiring. Although he has performed in many countries at different events it is always worth returning to this location. “The programme at this festival is special to me as I’ve never played these musical numbers in such a pairing. I’ve always been intrigued by the influence of composers on the new generations. The art of Liszt and Bartók is a perfect example of this impact. … The opera transcriptions are self-explanatory. I find it fascinating that Liszt wrote these compositions to popularize the works of other composers. Moreover, his music reached such audiences that couldn’t get to opera houses at the time.” – added Mr Balog. It is also a fact that the music of Liszt makes it possible for the pianists to demonstrate their mastery of the instrument.

According to his experience, unfortunately, Ferenc Liszt is still not part of the cultural and music scene in many countries since he is not considered a first-rate composer. That is why when József Balog puts a programme together his aim is to show the diverse style of Liszt, whose different periods reflect music history and the evolution of the piano. In other words, playing Liszt abroad is a mission for him. “He was a genius, and it’s inevitable that we can barely find any pianists who aren’t connected to the master in one way or in another.” – said Mr. Balog.
József Balog piano recital - 22 October (7 p.m.), Ornamental Hall.

Izabella Simon and Dénes Várjon, a musician couple, have also been to the Palace numerous times, both as tourists and as performers.
Dénes Várjon: “We love visiting the Palace, we could say it feels like coming home. The excellent programme, the fantastic building, the atmosphere of the Ornamental Hall and the wonderful audience are the elements that make the Liszt Festival so great. It’s also a unique opportunity to play on a Bechstein piano instead of a Steinway. The combination of the acoustics of the hall and this outstanding Bechstein model guarantee a unique experience.”
Izabella Simon: “This year we will play Symphony No. 1 by Mahler, a piano duet transcription by Bruno Walter, which is one of the most exciting pieces we have ever learnt to play four-hands.”

Izabella Simon and Dénes Várjon – 14 October (7 p.m.), Ornamental Hall

Izabella Simon’ s solo performances intended for children and families are always very popular. She has been giving “lectures”, as her performances are not only concerts but rather mixtures of music, fine arts and literature, for more than 8 years. After the birth of her child, who could dance, sing, listen to stories and draw at the same time, she observed the creativity of children at first hand. This kind of gesamtkunstwerk is shown at these interactive performances where children come up with amazing fantastic ideas and have associations about music and art. “The program is carefully planned to speak to the young audiences. These concerts are always important to me, because people usually become disconnected from this inter-art interest in their teens.” – told Izabella Simon. That is why it is important to reach out to adults as well so that they can find a pathway back to this world. Those adults who would like to go to classical concerts but don’t really know where to start this show is a perfect starting point. They can gain a complex way of thinking that helps them use can creativity in any field of their lives.

Children's snug with pianist Izabella Simon – 14 October (3 p.m.), Baroque Theatre

Liszti Hiszti
Gábor Eckhard and the pianist students of the School for Exceptional Young Talents (Liszt Ferenc Academy of Music) will give a matinée concert on Saturday afternoon.
Not only can the young artists pay respect to the art of Liszt but it is also a great opportunity for the audience to get to know the youngest followers of the Hungarian pianist tradition.  These masterpieces will show the many faces of Ferenc Liszt, from the philosophical tone to the dizzying virtuosity. The afternoon concert promises to be a sensational event as the teacher and host Gábor Eckhardt will link the musical compositions with his commentaries in his casual and witty style.
The concert is free of charge, registration required: regisztracio@kiralyikastely.hu
Liszti Hiszti – 21 October (3 p.m.), Baroque Theatre