Translated, the heading roughly reads: We musical souls, we bohemian boys… this was my father’s favorite song, though I don’t remember all of the lyrics and would love to know them all.
Last night Bonnie and I went to the Orange County Performing Arts Center’s Samueli Theatre to Hungarian Festival: Gypsy Fire, which is part of the Chamber Music Series. Both of us have a little (or a lot, in my case) of Hungarian in us, and so we’d decided to check it out. The performances featured The Carpathian Folk Quartet (playing traditional Hungarian gypsy music), Mykola Suk (on piano), and Paul Manaster and Jeanne Skrocki (on violin). The Quaret performed songs which were most likely heard time and again throughout my childhood, and yet though some of it seemed familiar, the violinist’s interpretation of some of the music was off-beat… an almost blues-ey take on them. My favorite part of the show was after the intermission, when the Quartet and the two violinists Manaster and Skrocki were playing back and forth, alternating between bits of Hungarian folk pieces and the classical pieces inspired from them.
I love the sound of the violin, particularly when playing Hungarian folk songs. My parents and their friends (dragging all of the kids along as well) would occasionally go to local Hungarian restaurants… the Piroska in Montreal (later called Csardas and also called the Hungaria) and a Hungarian restaurant in downtown Toronto, whose name escapes me at the moment. The food was always good, but the music… During each of these outings, the songs performed could alternately produce a misty eye or raucous vocal accompaniment, depending upon the piece (and perhaps upon the quantity of alchohol consumed). As though through osmosis, those same songs could bring tears to my eyes as well, or make my heart soar and my feet wantt to kick up their heels of their own accord. I sometimes suspect it’s cellular memory, ingrained into my DNA as inexorably as my hair and eye color.