Monday, March 30, 2015

Floury Liszt?

The great Roby Lakatos and his band take their bows at the end of an extraordinary evening yesterday in which they performed a special gig at the Amati Exhibition at the Langham, London. As editor of the Amati Magazine, I had the enviable task of introducing them and was therefore able to sit right at the front, at times virtually underneath Roby's violin as he strolled around... and also right next to the cimbalom, an instrument that in my next life I'd like to learn to play.

Roby's cimbalom virtuoso is the great Jeno Lisztes, a performer I've seen and marvelled at many times over. Yesterday his performances included a version of The Flight of the Bumble Bee which...well, I'm sorry, Yuja, but you've got competition there. Having been curious about his name and any possible relation to a certain other Hungarian name that is similar but shorter, I finally got to ask him the billion-pound question, "So, has 'Lisztes' got anything to do with Franz Liszt?"

Now, here's a little correction. "Liszt", he says, means "flour" in Hungarian. "Lisztes" means "floury". I heard "flower" and "flowery", but an eagle-eyed, Hungarian-literate reader has put me straight...

 So...yes and no. And a smile. And, perhaps, a mystery. But if the piano had Liszt, the cimbalom has Lisztes. That much is clear.

For this occasion Roby played the "Ex-Stevens" Strad of 1690, lent by Florian Leonhard for the occasion. In the glass case towards the back of the room is the 'Barjansky' Strad cello, likewise of 1690, which Julian Lloyd Webber has put up for sale (also via Leonhard). Standing in front of it is its bodyguard!