While the motifs of The Carnival of the Animals ring in all our ears, by its sophisticated wit, the piece never fails to surprise us. This time, the music of Saint-Saëns is complemented by works of Rameau, Bartók and Rimsky-Korsakov, the themes of which fit in well with the programme.

However, the musical surprises are enriched by a literary experience that is no less frivolous, as contemporary Hungarian poet and writer János Lackfi will be reading his poems written for this musical piece, giving a voice to the main characters in it – chickens, swans, mules – or even pianists.

The amazing behaviour and appearance of animals is a magnificent picture of the Creator’s inexhaustibly playful spirit. A fantastic German theologian, Johannes Hartl, said that if he were God, he would have created two kinds of fish: a goldfish, which is really beautiful, and a grey, cubic, boneless fish, because it is easier to slice. Notwithstanding all of that, there are clownfish, seahorses, sharks, whales and even platypus happily swimming about in the depths of the sea. It was great fun to come up with a nice, witty, even naughty phrase for each of the animals in Mr Saint-Saëns’ menagerie. To play with the strength of the kangaroo that crumples an iron bucket, the beautiful aggressiveness of the swan, the fierceness of the lion that became vegan, the cumbersomeness of the elephant that staggers around a china shop, the slyness of the slow-motion turtle, the leaps of the rushing antelopes, the strange monster grimaces of aquatic animals, the obsession of the competing poultry picking the worm apart… And now we’ve added Rimsky-Korsakov’s maddening bumblebee, Bartók’s fly entangled in the net and his dancing, smelly bear, or Rameau’s silly hens. At the gala performance of the Cziffra Festival, at the Liszt Academy, the production was a roaring success, and now we’ve tweaked it a couple more. At times Gábor Hollerung gave me the task of almost being a soloist, I had to be very alert to step in on time and feel the beat. That’s why there’s quite some jitters in the story.” – this is what János Lackfi wrote when asked what inspired him to write the lyrics.

In addition to the usual high quality of interpretation by Budafok Dohnányi Orchestra, we can also enjoy the fascinating play of Kossuth Prize-winning pianist János Balázs.


János Balázs – piano
János Lackfi – prose

Budafok Dohnányi Orchestra

conducted by: Gábor Hollerung


Saint-Saëns: The Carnival of the Animals – transcription for a single piano by János Balázs

And some of the works of Rameau, Bartók and Rimsky Korsakov

2023-08-12 - 17:00
Prayer Room - The Reformed Theological Academy of Sárospatak - 3950 Sárospatak, Rákóczi út 1.
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