Symphony I. – review by Ferenc László


“Contemporary premiere and the top of the classical concert repertoire, the most personal love story and the apotheosis of the public spirit. At first sight, these are the counterpoints that the first concert of the Fortissima season ticket of Budafok could be built on.

Even though the improvised introduction of Gábor Hollerung, preparatory to the concert, did not adjust Gyöngyösi’s First symphony and Beethoven’s Ninth into an entirely dialectic unity, his enthusiastic words intended to tune the audience of a growing interest towards contemporary music, opening a way to the symphony written for the Dohnányi Orchestra of Budafok. Hollerung succeeded but Gyöngyösi’s piece deserved attention anyway because the fact that was acknowledged years ago is now evident: Gyöngyösi is an outstanding talent, a composer of a forever audience-friendly music of his generation.

After the opera, the oratorio, the passion and the symphonic cycle, the Verkündigung, the genre of the symphony followed in the spreading oeuvre of the 34-year old composer and as far as a statement can be made upon first hearing, the result is noteworthy.

“The First symphony elaborates a love story abounding in several personal aspects. Its span begins from the birth of a big love throughout its passing until the birth of a new love”, he claimed. Thus, his work can be regarded as biographical and although one must consider this sum of words banal, the symphony treated this trivial issue with remarkable creativity.

The prattling idyll of the first movement pointed towards the Pastoral Symphony, the “(spiritual) march to the scaffold” in the third movement evoked the semantic range of the Fantastic Symphony and towards the end, even the melody-fragment of the “Ode to Joy” could be traced. Moreover, Gyöngyösi trotted some solutions from the glory-hole of popular music for us.

His loose quotes, however, never end up in one big quotation: the composer can, dares and wants to address the audience with unanswered sincerity and this is a commanding and at the same time problematic feature. Both the moments of the trivial, almost gross despair, including several percussions, a synthesiser and an electric cello, and the closing Revival movement, including more choirs, a mezzo-soprano soloist and quotations from eight different poems show Gyöngyösi’s attitude controvertible.

It might be that only cynicism makes affiliation difficult but at some points, the ‘hell of emotions’ and the ‘rebirth of body and soul’ outdid the gestures even of the romantic operas. And the most delicate – faith-related – momentum, the Amen at the end of the symphony, is an undoubted proof of the composer’s faith yet sticking it to the love story seems rather far-fetched.

The orchestra and the choirs performed the piece with much enthusiasm and exactitude under the conductorship of Gábor Hollerung and the accomplishment of the percussionists was especially convincing. The forth movement was honoured with the solo of the stunning Judit Németh.”