On 25 June Lúcia Megyesi Schwartz and Izabella Simon will give a concert of songs in the city where the young Liszt achieved tremendous success. The event is organized by the Hungarian Cultural Centre in Paris.
The series of seven concerts – featuring the pianists János Balázs, Alex Szilasi, Jenő Jandó, Gábor Csalog, György Oravecz, Károly Mocsári and the cellist László Fenyő – organized by the Hungarian Cultural Centre in Paris started on 3 February. On 25 June, the final concert entitled L’hymne àl’amour – Songs, Nocturnes, Consolations,the singer Lúcia Megyesi Schwartz and the pianist Izabella Simon will perform Liszt’s songs and a few shorter piano pieces. The subject of the event evokes a chapter of the curator of the French Liszt Year, Jean-Yves Clement’s book on Liszt published on the occasion off the bicentennial. It also refers to the songs and piano pieces – mostly adaptations of love poems – which will be performed by the two artists.
‘The composer born two hundred years ago wrote about seventy songs; however, only a dozen can be heard regularly at concerts’, said music historian Sándor Kovács about the Liszt-songs of the event in Paris. ‘Liszt’s contemporaries and the posterity are equally at a loss what his songs are concerned as the artist often wrote several variations of them. For example, the famous Loreley, inspired by Heine’s poem, which has been extremely popular from the very beginning, or the Drei Zigauner (1860) written on a text by Lenau. This latter one is rarely performed at concerts. The inspiring poems were mainly written by the greatest poets of the time, e.g. Goethe (Mignon’s Song, Freudvoll und leidvoll of Egmont, The King of Thule of Faust) or Heine. Most of them were set to music by other composers; the only exception being the beautiful serenade beginning with the words: Klingt leise, mein Lied, which is an adaptation of J. Nordmann’s lines.’ Izabella Simon will play The Bells of Geneva and Sposalizio, two emblematic pieces of the Years of Pilgrimage piano cycle, and three short pieces – evoking Chopin’s nocturnes – from the Consolations.
Izabella Simon graduated from the Franz LisztUniversity of Music, Department of Piano. Her major subject was taught by Jenő Jandó, and she studied chamber music with such artists as Ferenc Rados and György Kurtág. She has won several national and international youth piano competitions and has toured several European countries. She and her husband, the pianist Dénes Várjon are performers and organizers of chamber music festivals, among them the Liszt and Europe chamber music festival organized on the occasion of the Liszt Year.
She was born in Pécs and began her studies in Szeged with György Sinkó. She then moved to the Franz Liszt University of Music in Budapest, where she worked with Zsolt Bende. In 1997 she acquired her third diploma as a student of Júlia Hamari at the Stuttgard Music College. In 1991 she won the special Mozart prize at the International Vinas Singing Competition in Barcelona, and in 1993, was placed first in the First International Baroque Singing Competition in Budapest. She has attended master classes conducted by Walter Moore, Walter Berry, Ingrid Bjoner, Barbara Schlick and Júlia Hamari. Since 1994, she has been a member of the Hungarian State Opera. In 2001, her solo album was published featuring extracts from oratorios as well as operatic arias. The Haydn Festival in Eisenstadt with Ádám Fischer, Mozart’s Requiem with Helmuth Rilling, Bach’s The Passion of Matthew, and Händel’s Messiah with Zoltán Kocsis are only a few of her outstanding performances.