Friday, March 11, 2011

My Big Fat Gypsy Violin!

Forget "Gypsy" weddings, just hear the music... Meet the magical Magyar melodies and their impact in my feature in today's Independent, which was kind enough to let me add details of our Hungarian Dances concerts next week. 18 March, Potton Hall, Suffolk; and 22 March, Old Swinford Hospital School, Stourbridge. Do come and join us!

It's Friday, so here's Jascha Heifetz in Dohnanyi's Andante rubato alla Zingaresca, with pictures to match. This unbelievably beautiful piece is the first number in our concert: to me it's the perfect incarnation of the 'lost Gypsy concerto' straight out of the novel. This recording was made in 1943.

At that point, the Roma of Nazi-controlled European countries were undergoing the same fate as the Jews, being rounded up and herded into concentration camps, and indeed one section of Auschwitz was designated for them. But in August 1944, after the invasion of Hungary, a new contingent of tens of thousands of Hungarian Jews was brought to the camp. There was not enough room for them, so the Nazis decided to make room. They slaughtered the Roma inmates in one night.

I've run this tribute video before, but several years ago. We should see it again. We shouldn't forget what happened to them.