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Corwin Slack

Those Hungarians: More Katica

December 1, 2007 at 4:19 PM

If all the Hungarian violinists who were worthy of careers actually had them how many other violinists would have careers?

My wife is a member of the Houston Symphony Chorus. They toured in Europe last summer and one of the concerts was at the Ferenc Liszt Academy with the Budapest Concert Orchestra. . The first half of the program was virtuoso show pieces by a local violinist, Ferenc Szecsődi. I have never heard of him. She has a souvenir CD that is quite exciting.

So here is one of my favorite Hungarians, Katica Illenyi playing Monti's Csardas, just posted on Youtube (watch and listen to the very end):

Here she is playing with her younger brother Csaba(Four Brothers)

Here she is singing Amazing Grace

To see a lot more then navigate this link:

From Terry Hsu
Posted on December 2, 2007 at 5:02 AM
I noticed the same thing when I visited Budapest. There were a whole bunch of violinists I had never heard of who could really really play.

I heard that because a lot of Hungarians don't learn other languages, they tend to not travel around as much, and stay in Hungary. As a result, they don't get the exposure that a lot of other people, especially those who speak English, do.

From Corwin Slack
Posted on December 2, 2007 at 12:46 PM
I only know Hungarians who travel around and their English is uncommonly good for non-native speakers.

Thank goodness an American can have a career in Europe and Asia without speaking every language there. But given all the local talent I wonder how many times our stars actually get to perform in Hungary. :)

From Mara Gerety
Posted on December 2, 2007 at 3:05 PM
Corwin, their English is good because ANY language is really easy to learn compared to Hungarian...*grumble*...

One thing that should be mentioned is that Hungary has one of the best music education systems in the world--it started with Zoltan Kodaly and apparently is still going as strong as ever. (Not to mention the long tradition of virtuoso gypsy violinists, but anyway.) Hungary is a nation of musicians. :)

From Mara Gerety
Posted on December 2, 2007 at 3:23 PM
There's also a good video of her playing the Romanian Folk Dances up on YouTube--good stuff! :)

All the Hungarian violinists I know have such relaxed and efficient left hands. (Something I need to work on...) It's interesting to watch.

From Ihnsouk Guim
Posted on December 2, 2007 at 3:27 PM
Not just in music, there are also prominent scientists. Someone once claimed there is more talent per capita in Hungary than anywhere else.
From Mara Gerety
Posted on December 2, 2007 at 4:04 PM
hee hee. I got into such a huge argument about that once. :) :) :) Hungary DOES have more Nobel Laureates per capita than any other country in the world...

Some have suggested that the particular forms of grammatical complexity in the Hungarian language are partly the explanation--apparently they build all the right brain pathways for creative thinking. (Full disclosure: as I type this, my Hungarian language textbook is sitting forlornly on the top shelf, unopened for months...whooops.)

My favorite joke: A prominent scientist goes off to London for a "Genius Conference," a gathering of all the brightest minds in the world. Physicists, chemists, poets, musicians, architects, everything. At the end of the week, he goes home and starts enthusiastically telling his wife all about it. "And there were all these amazing, brilliant people from every corner of the was just astonishing!" when she interrupts "Wait a minute, but if they came from all over the world, how the heck could you all understand each other?"
He looks at her blankly. "Why--we all spoke Hungarian, of course!"


From David Russell
Posted on December 3, 2007 at 12:36 AM
Just an aside comment, Mara.

I once heard a Hungarian violinist conversing with a Finnish violinist---each in their own languages. There was enough shared between the languages that they could understand what the other was saying. Isn't that interesting?

From Corwin Slack
Posted on December 3, 2007 at 1:06 AM
David, When you were guest concertmaster here in Houston a year ago did you meet Katica's brother Ferenc? He is an awesome violinist.

I was in the audience as my wife was in the chorus for the Brahms Choral works.

From Mara Gerety
Posted on December 3, 2007 at 3:35 AM
David--oh, wow! That's impressive...I've never noticed that much of a similarity between Hungarian and Finnish, but anyway...
From Corwin Slack
Posted on December 3, 2007 at 3:14 PM
Oops David, mistook you for someone else from Cleveland. Sorry!

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