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This Day in UMS History: Hungarian Folk Ballet of Budapest (Jan 17, 1978)

January 17, 1978
Power Center

Hungarian Folk Ballet of Budapest and Gypsy Orchestra (Ensemble Budapest)

We hear a lot about Hungarian composers – Bartók and Liszt are common fare for music lovers, and even Haydn himself spent much of his life in the Hungarian country estate of Esterházy.  But much less common is the chance not only to hear Hungarians perform their own music, but also to see Hungarian dancers perform traditional dances.  The audience at the Power Center 21 years ago got to see a real Czardas, which the program says is “a virtuosic dance from northern Hungary.”  Traditional Czardas start slowly and end with a flourish…This dance can still be seen today in the ‘bush ranches.’”  I wish I’d been there to hear the Gypsy Orchestra play Franz Liszt’s Hungarian Fantasy, of which the program says, “Liszt adapted the most popular tunes of his age into this rhapsody, particularly the ‘verbunk’ or recruiting dance…The rhapsodic form of this fantasy gives us a thrilling and throbbing picture of Hungarian folk music as treated by one of the world’s greatest composers.”  The video above is an example of the verbunk as danced by the Romafest Gypsy Dance Theater.

“This day in UMS History” is an occasional series of vignettes drawn from UMS’s historical archive.   If you have a personal story or particular memory from attending the performance featured here, we’d love to hear from you in the comments.