Xpat Opinion: Sparkling Classical Duo In A Budapest Jewel Box

  • 13 Dec 2012 8:00 AM
Xpat Opinion: Sparkling Classical Duo In A Budapest Jewel Box
Last of the 2012 recitals at the Hubay Jenő Zeneterem was a piano and violin program in one of Budapest's most atmospheric venues, a paste jewel box inside the Hotel Victoria, replete with stained glass, oil paintings, and ornate stove heater. Classical buffs clearly agree - the place was packed. The artists were veteran pianist Ilona Prunyi and rising star violinist Ádám Banda, superbly matched. It was also a pairing across generations: Prunyi is a long-established teacher at the Liszt Academy while Banda entered the Academy as a child prodigy.

Appropriately, the concert opened with Hubay's violin solo from The Violin-Maker of Cremona, giving Banda plenty of  room to stretch out. Next, Mozart's violin sonata in F major K. 376, taken at the gallop without pause,  both players pulling together in harness, had all the clean-cut sweet precision of the rococo gingerbread plastering the walls. Schubert's duo sonata in A major D.574 predictably was more songlike, with Prunyi sustaining a strong rhythmic basis for Banda to play off.

The Debussy solo piano pieces transcribed for duo that followed were inevitably more experimental and diverse. But the duo finished with a crackling finale of Kreisler's La Gitana - and were clapped back for two sparkling encores of Kreisler's Schön Rosmarin and a Csarda Scene from  Hubay.

Ilona Prunyi and Ádám Banda
Hubay Jenő Zeneterem
Hotel Victoria
Bem rakpart 11
Budapest 1011

By Paul StJohn Mackintosh

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