Savaria Symphony

 

{TABLE} Festive Overture ................... Erkel Galanta Dances ..................... Kodaly Piano Concerto ..................... Brent Parker Hungarian Dances 1, 5, 6 ........... Brahms Gypsy Airs ......................... Sarasate Emperor Waltz ...................... J. Strauss Elisabeth'sd Aria (Hary Janos) ..... Kodaldy Gypsy Song (The Gypsy Baron) ....... J. Strauss Hungarian Rhapsody No 2 ............ Liszt {/TABLE} THE musical side at the Hungarians In Hibernia festival got all to a cracking musical start on Sunday night, with a concert by the Savaria Symphony Orchestra (550). To the large audience at the National Concert Hall, Hungary's newly regained orientation to western Europe was symbolised by the tact that, since 1992, the SSO's principal conductor and artistic director has been Kilkenny born Robert Haul than.

The programme of music by Hungarian composers, or with strong Hungarian connections, included one new work, the Piano Concerto by New Zealand born Brent Parker, who has lived here since, 1958. It tells the story of a music student in Budapest on the eve of the uprising. Finghan Collins played the solo part persuasively, but persuasion cannot diminish the limitations of this type of descriptive concert music. A creative reactionary style is one thing - think of Strauss or late Elgar - but a time warp 60-100 years old is another. The concerto is well crafted, but its parade of pastiche invites one to spot the style, at least as much as to imagine the events which inspired it.

Gwendolyn Masin played Sarasate's Gypsy Airs For Violin And Orchestra with a sophistication that belied her 19 years and Suzanne Murphy sang arias by Kodaly and J. Strauss with musical and dramatic star quality.

It was a pleasure to hear the SSO's playing of such demanding pieces as Liszt's Hungarian Rhapsody No, 2 and several of Brahms's Hungarian Dances. The combination of energy, balance, shaping and panache was a credit to the players and to Robert Houlihan - an eminent Hibernian in Hungary.