Join Joseph Havlat (piano), Alex Roberts (Clarinet) and David Ibáñez-López (Violin) on Sunday April 23rd at 7pm to hear Bela Bartok’s brilliant and enigmatic second violin sonata, his late masterpiece Contrasts and transcriptions of folk-songs from Hungary and Romania. We’ll explore the political and social climate of Budapest in the early 20th century and discover how Bartok’s music reconciled often contradictory cultural demands.
The early twentieth century was a time of massive social change and artists felt compelled to respond to it. With the disappearance of old certainties and the perceived negative impact of mass production and consumer culture, musicians created artworks that challenged conventional notions of beauty and created a schism between art and popular music which remains to this day
In this febrile period, Bartok’s music sought to reflect this turbulent reality, creating vivid expressions of alienation, anger and the darker side of human nature. Yet simultaneously, he recorded and collected thousands of folk songs throughout Hungary and neighbouring countries, in an attempt to infuse his music with an optimistic communal spirit and reclaims notions of national identity from an increasingly authoritarian regime.
As war darkens Europe’s future and identity has once again become a battleground, this concert and interactive discussion with the audience will explore questions that are still relevant today: Can nationalism ever can be rehabilitated? And what role should art play in reflecting and shaping the world in which we live?