Dr. Damjana Bratuz
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The World of Béla Bartók
London Regional Art Gallery, November 18, 1981


  1. Illustrated Lecture
    Dr. Damjana Bratuz
  2. Contrasts (I.Verbunkos II.Piheno III.Sebes)
    Robert Skelton, violin
    Jerome Summers, clarinet
    Damjana Bratuz, piano

  3. Traditional Hungarian Dances
    Sàrkosi Dance
       Gyongyviràg Junior Dance Group
    Szatmàri Dances
    London Hungarian Folk Troupe
       Zoltàn Karvas, Mary-Ann KovAcs, Gizella Martins, Marie Patrik
       Bill Sefcsik, Les Szabo, Kathy Tothfalusi, Alexander Tothfalusi

    Choreographer: Diane Rush

  4. Exhibit of Hungarian Folk Art, London Art Gallery, November 17 – 20, 1981
    Organizers: Mrs. Elizabeth Tothfalusi, Mrs. Olga Kovàcs


Béla Bartók’s World exciting spectacle
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 refinements.

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 to approach.

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.


  Damjana Bratu TOP

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