Having just returned from two weeks in Ukraine, with flight arrival and departure from Budapest, Hungary, I thought it would be appropriate to post a recording of a composition inspired by my last visit to Budapest.
This is a demo of the University of Pittsburgh Jazz Band playing “Budapest.” The song comes from a set of songs called the European Suite, which I wrote after returning from a year in Salzburg and vicinity in 1989. The following year I scored the movement “Budapest” for a jazz arranging class.
I would be entirely willing to score the entire set of songs for jazz band. (Yes, jazz band directors, that’s a hint.) Until that time, you’ll need to satisfy your European cravings with this aural bon bon: Budapest MP3.
Does this recording still capture your feelings toward the city?
To tell you the truth, the songs weren’t really tone poems inspired by cities. I was taking an independent study with the jazz prof at URI and I had a half dozen songs that needed names. Poof! The “European Suite” was born.
But having given that horribly unemotional and uninteresting response, let me point out that Budapest is still a beautiful city. 15 years ago it had a bit of an Eastern Bloc fog, but today it has all the vibrancy you’d expect from one of the historic centers of the Habsburg Empire.
I’ll show you some pictures when I get home. (That offer is only open to a limited section of my readership, specifically my wife, Amy.)