Cinematic concert — 15.11.2023 18:00

Working in tandem, Tibor Szemző and Péter Forgács have long been presenting us with the documents of a lost world. Their “Private History” is in fact very public: few of the events or pictures fail to afford identification with oneself, one’s own ancestors, family photographs, unwritten memories or stories. What is true about the pictures is also true about the sound: the music now concretely, now remotely, but in every instance, generates the feeling of an “object trouvé”. Aesthetics is brought about not so much by intention; rather, it comes as a result of the joint efforts of the audience on the receiving end, and the creator providing the conditions of reception. Only this way can we view as a film such intimacy which would appear improper even to a private company of one’s closest friends; and only this way can something become music that would never stand up to being printed (László Vidovszky).

Performed by Gordian Knot
Ildikó Fodor - vocals, violin
László Kéringer - vocals
Tibor Szemző - narrator, composer
film by Péter Forgács

When all the Jews of the Nazi occupied Europe vanished, the Hungarian Jewish community was still intact in the early spring of 1944. What happened with the Hungarian Jews in a country which was a close ally to the third Reich since the beginning of the war? This story has been already told in several ways. One could hear the painful confessions of innocent peoples’ death marches, and see thousand meters of provoking film images of the Nazi science and of the bureaucratic mass homicide system.
The Hungarian Holocaust - a private history saga - is recited by Free Fall Oratorio.
How did it happen?
How did they fall, fall down, and / or in?
How can one suppress the fearful signs of threatening evidence?
Slowly eroding security, unpredictable events, and hopes, until the last…
Do you understand the Hungarian Jewish Law, if ‘angels’ voice recites them into your ear?

The home movies of Mr. György Pető are the magic sources of the Free Fall Oratorio. The images are recorded from the late thirties to the sixties, and the original films preserved by the Private Photo & Film Archives, Budapest.
Mr. Pető was a talented violin player, a banker - class lottery businessman in the southern Hungarian City of Szeged. He survived the Jewish Forced Labor and the Soviet POW camp.
After returning in 1946 he had to learn that many of his family members - including his mother, son and brother - were killed. After the brutal war all his property was confiscated, this time by the communist regime in 1949. He escaped with his family to Budapest and established himself as viola player in the Budapest Operetta Theater. The text of the Free Fall Oratorio is based on the memories of the Pető family, historical documents and the Hungarian Jewish Laws being into force between 1938-1944. The live concert oratorio follows the film created by the authors.

Previous public performances of Free Fall Oratorio:
25-26 July 1999 Szeged, Hungary, Old Synagogue building (Hungarian)
3 October 1999 Nagykanizsa, Hungary, Old Synagogue building (Hungarian)
21 October 1999 Budapest, Hungary, Páva utca Synagogue building (Hungarian)
21 May 2000 Cluj / Kolozsvár, Romania, Tranzit House, in the building of the former Poalei Tzedek Synagogue (Hungarian)
23 July 2000. San Francisco, Castro Theatre, at SF Jewish Film Festival (English)
29 July 2000. Berkeley, CA. UC Theatre, at SF Jewish Film Festival (English)
17-18 August 2000 Zuerich, Switzerland, Theaterspektakel, International Theatre Festival (English)
30 September 2000 Samorin, Slovakia, Old Synagogue building (Hungarian)
12 September 2001 Budapest, Goethe Institute (German)
15 September 2001 Munich, Goethe Forum (German)
17 September 2002 Los Angeles, Getty Museum (English)
28 May 2003 Budapest, A 38 Boat on the Danube (Hungarian)
1 February 2004 Stockholm, Hörsalen Kulturhuset (English)
29 April 2004 Budapest, A 38 Boat on the Danube (Hungarian)
25 May 2004 Budapest, Műcsarnok (Hungarian)
30 November 2004 Budapest, Holocaust Memorial Center (Hungarian)
10 November 2007 Amsterdam, Pakhuis de Zwijger (English)

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