Concert on the occasion of the 175th anniversary of Ferenc Liszt’s visit to Istanbul


One of the most extreme stops of Liszt’s years-long journey of virtuoso recitals was the capital of the Ottoman Empire, Istanbul. He arrived in the seat of Sultan Abdulmejid I on 8 June 1847, where he stayed with the businessman and piano manufacturer Alexandre Kommendiger. During the five weeks of his stay, he gave six concerts – two of them in the Sultan’s palace. The sovereign rewarded Liszt with the diamond-studded Order of Nichan-Iftikhar. The composer remained in contact with the Sultan’s court and Istanbul’s music scene until the end of his life. The core of his concerts included opera paraphrases, transcriptions from Schubert and Schumann’s works, for instance, the melodies of The Puritans, Norma, Lucia of Lammermoor or Liszt’s re-arrangement of Erlkönig. János Balázs will evoke the ambience of these unparalleled nights at the concert of the György Cziffra Memorial Year and the Hungarian Cultural Centre in Istanbul, enriching the programme of the Beyoglu Kültür Yolu Festival of the Turkish Ministry of Culture and Tourism, featuring over 300 events and 2000 performers

The soloist of the evening is the Hungarian pianist, János Balázs, renowned for his extraordinary technique and profound lyricism. He is well-known to the audiences of the Barbican Centre in London, the Konzerthaus in Vienna, Bozar in Brussels, the Moscow Tchaikovsky Conservatory or the Palau de Musica in Barcelona. He regularly collaborates with such performers as Vadim Repin, Mischa Maisky, Pinchas Steinberg, Tamás Vásáry, Stéphane Denève or Jose Cura.

The concert is held within the framework of the Beyoglu Kültür Yolu (Beyoglu Way of Culture) Festival organised by the Turkish Ministry of Culture and Tourism.
(Joint concert of the György Cziffra Memorial Year and the Liszt Institute – Hungarian Cultural Centre and the Hungarian Embassy in Ankara)


Programme: Donizetti-Liszt: Reminiscences de Lucia di Lammermoor

Liszt: The Fountains of the Villa d’Este

Schumann-Liszt: Widmung

Rossini-Liszt-Cziffra: William Tell Overture (rondo)

Verdi-Liszt: Paraphrase on Verdi’s Rigoletto

Chopin: Three mazurkas

Liszt: Love Dream No. 3

Liszt: Hungarian Rhapsody No. 6

Strauss-Cziffra-Balázs: The Blue Danube Paraphrase


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