Author: Peter Alexander


Gábor Takács-Nagy returns to Boulder with the Irish Chamber Orchestra.

The founding first violinist of CU’s resident Takács Quartet lived in Boulder for six years, 1986–92, until a hand problem forced him to withdraw from playing. He returns to Boulder Friday as a conductor, leading the Irish Chamber Orchestra (ICO) in a concert of music by Haydn, C.P.E. Bach and Bartók (7:30 p.m. Friday, Nov. 6, in Macky Auditorium).

Takács-Nagy’s place in the Takács Quartet was taken in 1993 by English violinist Edward Dusinberre, who remains the quartet’s first violinist. Of the original quartet, violinist Károly Schranz and cellist András Fejér remain.

The Nov. 6 concert will also feature cellist István Várdai playing Haydn’s Cello Concerto in C major and C.P.E. Bach’s Cello Concerto in A major, Wq. 172. Also on the program are the Symphony No. 49 in F minor by Haydn (“La Passione”) and the Divertimento for String Orchestra by Bartók.

After leaving the Takács Quartet and Boulder, Takács-Nagy returned to Europe and played for a while with other groups, but he has not performed in concert since 2008. In the meantime, he has conducted several orchestras. He is currently principal conductor of the Manchester Camerata in England and principal guest conductor of the Budapest Festival Orchestra. He has been principal artistic partner of the ICO since 2013.

“The Irish Chamber Orchestra are really good, close friends, all of them in the orchestra,” he says. “The orchestra is fantastic with this (program).”

The concert opens with the F-minor Symphony by Haydn — a composer, along with Bartók, that Hungarians consider to be partly theirs, since he spent so many years of his life working for the Hungarian Esterházy family. The F minor Symphony was composed for the Esterházy orchestra in 1768 and is considered an example of Haydn’s dramatic sturm und drang (storm and stress) style.

“Nobody will be bored for a second during this,” Takács-Nagy says. “Haydn has so much contrast, so many unexpected things that’s it’s fascinating. It’s like a Krimi (a crime novel or film). You never know what’s happening in the next second.”

At the age of 30 Várdai is building an international career. A three-time winner of the David Popper International Competition in Budapest, he was described by Takács-Nagy as “brilliant, brilliant” and “one of the great cellists on the scene.”

“He plays in a way that is unbelievably great,” Takács-Nagy says…

Read Peter Alexandar’s full concert preview in the Boulder Weekly.

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