Bartókiana - Bartók Events
The World of Béla Bartók
London Regional Art Gallery, November 18, 1981
- Illustrated Lecture
Dr. Damjana Bratuz
- Contrasts (I.Verbunkos II.Piheno III.Sebes)
Robert Skelton, violin
Jerome Summers, clarinet
Damjana Bratuz, piano
- Traditional Hungarian Dances
Gyongyviràg Junior Dance Group
London Hungarian Folk Troupe
Zoltàn Karvas, Mary-Ann KovAcs,
Gizella Martins, Marie Patrik
Bill Sefcsik, Les Szabo, Kathy Tothfalusi,
Choreographer: Diane Rush
- Exhibit of Hungarian Folk Art, London Art Gallery,
November 17 – 20, 1981
Organizers: Mrs. Elizabeth Tothfalusi, Mrs.
“Béla Bartók’s World exciting
By Richard Newman of the Free Press, 1981
From peasant dances of a village square to the concert hall,
The World of Béla Bartók was unveiled in a multi-dimension
fashion at the London Regional Art Gallery on Wednesday night.
Complete, even to the musical hiccups that Bartók
obligingly wrote into his music, Damjana Bratuz, lecturing
and playing piano, with violinist Robert Skelton and Clarinetist
Jerome Summers illuminated a performance of Contrasts that
became a discovery.
When the lecture theatre playing of contrasts finished,
the North American champion London Hungarian Folk Troupe capped
the evening by dancing in front of a colourful display of
Hungarian folk artifacts.
Bratuz was even able to thread the rich embroidery of Hungary
into the fabric of Bartók’s music.
Despite the volume of print and performance that Bartók
is given, there are too few opportunities to hear the approach
that Bratuz can provide. As a “Bartók expert”
and biographer, and a gifted concert pianist, Bratuz offers
a special combination of talents and intellect that has seen
her tour Europe and North America. The diminutive lecturer-pianist
from the music faculty of the University of Western Ontario
brings a personal enthusiasm and analytical approach that
illustrate many of the truths of Bartók’s music.
Musical “illustrated lectures” demand a special
quality, which can sometimes create for the layman more mystery
than solution. Bratuz on the other hand illuminate facets
of the composer’s music as few others can. She showed
how the Hungarian musical images had been handled by other
composers such as Hayden prior to Bartók’s artistic
With slides and recordings as well as the sympathetic Skelton
and Summers, she prepared the audience for a performance of
Contrasts that recalled its original dedication to Benny Goodman
and a first performance with Josef Szigetti. She described
how Bartók, seeking the aboriginal heart of Hungarian
folk music, had toured the country capturing on wax cylinder
records the musical sounds of the village people.
Contrasts is a virtuoso piece for piano, violin, and clarinet.
Both violinist and clarinetist play two instruments each __
one at a standard modern pitch, the other tuned to provide
a rougher intonation __ at various times to give reality to
the origins of the work. The result was a performance that
not only identified points already made but also provided
enjoyable access to a composer who many is still difficult
Awaiting the audience in the exhibition space outside the
lecture theatre were two troupes of dancers. The 13 young
London members of the Gyongyvirag Junior Dance Group gave
a stirring and sometimes haunting performance. The eight youthful,
but older, members of the London Hungarian Folk Troupe, which
holds the North American title among folk dancers, were exhilarating.
With choreography by Barbara Rush, they showed not only some
of the dances that had been represented in the Bartók
composition, but also gave a demonstration of the kind of
brilliance they will take to the New York folk festival this
summer when they will defend their title.
The exhibition of Hungarian Folk Art organized by Elizabeth
Tothfalusi and Olga Kovacs continues until Friday - without
the musical and dance performances.