György Szabados Bells (The Land of Boldogasszony)
The deep experience that binds me to the sound of bells is boundless. My childhood initiation. And if, as the writer Béla Hamvas said, sound is truly the “fire” of material, the sound of bells is the blissful breath of this fire, of fires embracing one another; a sigh that encompasses the Earth.
György Szabados - piano
About the album
All compositions by György Szabados
Recorded by Szabolcs Kapui at the rehearsal room of the Hungarian National Philharmonic Orchestra (Palace Of Arts), Budapest, 4-6 November, 2007
Mixed and mastered by Szabolcs Kapui and György Szabados at Harmónia Sound Studio, Győr
Photo: István Huszti
Cover Art-Smart by GABMER
Special thanks to Endre Penovácz for inspiration
Produced by László Gőz
Executive producer: Tamás Bognár
The recording was supported by the National Cultural Fund of Hungary, the Artisjus Music Foundation and the Harmónia Sound Studio
Ken Waxman - Jazzword (en)
Laurent Poiget - Citizen Jazz (fr)
Andreas Felber - Bühne (de)
AAJ Italy staff - All About Jazz **** (it)
Szigeti Péter - Gramofon ***** (hu)
Végső Zoltán - Élet és Irodalom (hu)
Sinkovics Ferenc - Magyar Hírlap (hu)
Tölgyesi Gábor - Magyar Nemzet (hu)
Márton Attila - Demokrata (hu)
Galamb Zoltán - Ekultura.hu (hu)
Győrffy Ákos - Magyar Krónika (hu)
György Szabados: Bells (The Land of Boldogasszony)
The album is available in digital form at our retail partners
The deep experience that binds me to the sound of bells is boundless. My childhood initiation. And if, as the writer Béla Hamvas said, sound is truly the “fire” of material, the sound of bells is the blissful breath of this fire, of fires embracing one another; a sigh that encompasses the Earth. This is also the sigh of this wonderful central European world, where I too live. The beautiful vibration of inter-embracing sounds near and far is the wide space in which I am at home. Their enchanting, complex and free rhythms are decisive for the impulse and medium of the music living in me.
This world is the land of Boldogasszony (the Ancient Mother Earth of Hungarian mythology) – a holy paradise. Blissful, secret, in proximity to the divine. Resplendent with poppies, reverential. The world of embraces and sublime rubato. Where today’s ungainly era is spread out by the lights and shadows of towers in the changeable sky, and the inter-tolling of bells keeps tally of it over us.
Translated by Richard Robinson
György Szabados (1939), composer and pianist, is known throughout Europe as a figure in improvised contemporary music. He studied music privately.
The development of his career was severely held back by the extremely closed intellectual and art life in the Hungary of the time, with limitations on ideology and travel, and in which every trend differing from the norm was banned. As elsewhere in Europe, in Hungary jazz was the main trend of development for live music, so naturally Szabados too found in jazz the living musical language which provided an arena for his skills in improvisation.
Be that as it may, Szabados is not unequivocally a jazz musician. His music is extremely dynamic and open, both European and Hungarian in terms of tradition and modernism, full of fresh spontaneity and intellectual power. His creative concept is based on the harmony of composition and free improvisation, on the interdependence between music as a natural language and man as an articulate medium.
He was only able to break out of his forced isolation after several attempts, in 1972. He won the first prize for free music at the San Sebastian Jazz Competition, though even after this he only found opportunities to play concerts in university circles. He founded a contemporary music workshop in which he initiated a series of pupils into the world of improvised contemporary music. With his music and personality he has created a school of his own. Only since the 80s has he had regular opportunities for concerts abroad, recordings and continuous creative work.
He has played in concerts with Roscoe Mitchel, Anthony Braxton (also recording with them), Peter Kowald, Johannes and Connie Bauer, Fred van Hove, Evan Parker, Jiri Stivin, Hans Ludwig Petrowsky and Vladimir Tarasov. He regularly publishes writings on music.
He has written a ballet (choreographed by Iván Markó), a dance opera (choreographed by József Nagy [Joseph Nadj]), a piece for string orchestra, a cantata to poems by Mihály Babits, ceremonial music, a work to commemorate the 1956 Hungarian revolution, solo and chamber pieces for piano, but is first and foremost committed to completely free, improvised music. He created the improvisatory group MAKUZ (Hungarian Royal Court Orchestra) as the successor to his contemporary music workshop.
In recognition of his work in 1983 he was awarded the greatest Hungarian music decoration, the Liszt Prize, in 2000 he won the Gábor Szabó Prize for life achievement from the Hungarian Jazz Federation, and in 2001 received the Prize for Hungarian Art.
B-A-C-H élmények (Modern Jazz Anthology 64, 1964, Qualiton LP) – the first free music recording in Hungary; trio
Az Esküvő (The Wedding) (1974, Hungaroton LP) – re-released 2001, Hungaroton CD; quartet
Adyton (1982, Hungaroton LP) – septett
Szabraxtondos (1984, Hungaroton LP) – with Anthony Braxton, duo
A szarvassá vált fiak (Boys become Stags) (1985, Hungaroton LP) – MAKUZ
Homoki zene (Sand Music) (1991, Adyton CD) – MAKUZ
Elfelejtett énekek (Forgotten Songs) (1992, Fonó CD) – trio
Az események titkos története (The Secret History of the Events) (1996, Fonó 2CD) – epic chant, Tamás Kobzos Kiss and trio (with the re-release of the album A szarvassá vált fiak)
Idő-zene (Time Music) (1997, Fonó CD) – for strings (disc by the Academy Soloists)
A szent főnixmadár dürrögései (Ruttings of the Sacred Phoenix Bird) (1997, Szabados and co. CD) – solo album
Jelenés (Revelation) (1998, Fonó CD) – with Roscoe Mitchell, sextet
Time Flies (1998, November Music CD) – awarded Jazz Record of the Year prize by Gramofon magazine; solo
A szépség szíve (The Heart of Beauty) (2004, Fonó CD) – with Miklós Mákó, duo
Triotone (2004, Leo Records CD) – with Anthony Braxton and Vladimir Tarasov, trio
Baltás zsoltár (Axe Psalm) (2007, Győrfree CD) – issue of recording from 1973, quintet
Készülődés a csatára (Preparation for Battle) (2007, Győrfree CD) – issue of recording from 1987, MAKUZ
Boldogasszony földje (Harangok) (Land of Boldogasszony – Bells) (2008, BMC CD) – solo