Iain Cameron's Diary
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2006-08-03 - 2:45 p.m.

I have just got back from 11 days in Budapest - what a great city!

I took Bailey's biography of Webern with me plus the score of the 6 Bagatelles. Not that Webern visited Budapest to the best of my knowledge but I felt I was on a Central European foray and that was good enough. Bailey gives a very incisive account of how the aphoristic pieces work and how they relate to the very marginal and volatile state of Webern's existence at this point.

Talking of the Viennese School, we caught the Viennese crew at the new Bela Bartok Concert Hall giving it large with Don Giovanni. It was magnificient but I have to say the band made Mozart sound like Beethoven. Perhaps this is the Viennese way. I think there may also be an English way which is more post Philip Glass.

We went up onto the high point of the Buda Hills and looked down into the valley where Bartok lived before he gave up and went off to the USA. Also went round the Opera where Bluebeard's Castle got its premiere. Apparently part of the trouble was the political affiliations of the the librettist who was a mate of Luckacs - author of History and Class Consciousness. To celebrate this we had tea and cakes at the Luckacs coffee house. I would often chose Estehazy cake in hommage to Haydn eg at the almost tasteful late 60s spa hotel on Margit Island in the Danube where you could imagine party bosses cutting deals.

I went to the Bartok exhibition near Buda Castle and looked at the letter he wrote to his mum complaining about the reception of the 2nd Violin Sonata. Also his sketch of the structure of the 5th string 4tet. I bought a recording of the 44 violin duos.

I could easily get addicted to chasing down exquisite pieces of early 20C applied arts in Budapest antique shops.

Mrs C seems to think its worth going back to the Opera one weekend to hear it in operation. I am easily led.

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