Child’s Play (India) Foundation is pleased to present the Kodály String Quartet in their first-ever concert performance in Goa, at St. Michael’s Church, Taleigão on 12 April 2013 at 6.30 pm. The concert is open to all.
The cellist of the quartet György Éder spoke to the Navhind Times in an exclusive interview.
Tell us a little about the Kodály Quartet.
The Quartet was founded in 1966 by four students of the Franz Liszt Academy in Budapest as a continuation of the great Hungarian string quartet tradition. By 1971, the Quartet had established an international reputation, and in that year changed its name to the “Kodály Quartet” in honour of the outstanding twentieth-century Hungarian composer.
The Quartet has set as its main objective the authentic interpretation of the works of Zoltán Kodály, and gives tremendous importance to the values and traditions that Kodály conceived as essential in musical culture. It is not only Kodály’s works that are frequently performed by the Kodály String Quartet: all major Hungarian composers (Bartók, Dohnányi, Kurtág, Ligeti), as well as most classical composers are represented in its repertoire. The Quartet has also performed on the world premiers of contemporary Hungarian pieces in the last years, including several works dedicated to them – the latest being Petrovics’s 3rd String Quartet at the 2009 Budapest Spring Festival.
We have performed with many great musicians: Bruno Canino, Milan Turkovic, Miklós Perényi, Zoltán Kocsis, Michel Portal, Dimitry Ashkenazy, Michel Béroff, Jeremy Menuhin, Tamás Vásáry, Jenõ Jandó and Dimitris Sgouros.
Your Goa concert programme is strongly Austro-German, with Mozart, Beethoven and Schubert. What prompted this choice?
The quartet repertoire is largely Austro-German in any case. The Mozart piano quartet (no. 1 in G minor, K. 478) is the choice of Fareed Curmally (the pianist accompanying the quartet to Goa). We’re playing the Beethoven (1st Razumovsky quartet, Op. 59) in Mumbai a day before and we looked for a lighter piece to start with, hence Franz Schubert’s German Dances (D. 90).
As an ensemble sought after around the world, you must be on the go most of the time. Does it take its toll? How do you strike a work-life balance?
We do not travel now as much as we used before. But this has been part of our life and we are accustomed to it.
By now, you’ve recorded over 60 CDs, which are widely regarded as a benchmark for much of the core repertoire. Is there any uncharted territory? Are there any new CDs being planned?
The CD market is collapsing; the manufacturers are complaining that people buy fewer and fewer CDs. It is due mainly to the internet. You can download almost everything cheaply or illegally or free. We do not plan a new recording at this moment. We have new ideas though, if the circumstances change.
You have now become frequent visitors to India (although this is your first visit to Goa). What has your experience been so far? Are Indian audiences very different from the rest of the world?
Chamber music is a special field of the art called “Music.” People who like chamber music and come to the concerts are almost the same everywhere (like opera-fans, or even wine- or sport enthusiasts).
(An edited version of this article appeared in the Navhind Times Goa India on 7 April 2013)