Early music, ancient instruments, Renaissance music, the culture of ancient times...
We can list the key words that bring to everyone's mind the romanticism of the age of knights, the grounds of castles, the atmosphere of kingly feasts and minstrels. Our music speaks to those who know these things. We want to evoke this world and give it voice through our period-accurate instruments. With three members our ensemble general travels about the country or abroad, but we strengthen our ranks with colleagues, especially in concerts and performances.
The ensemble gets its name from the Bourdon style, a representative musical style of the middle ages. In the Bourdon style the use of accompanying or Bourdon strings first appears. In this manner the bagpipe, the hurdy gurdy, and the zither are capable of sounding the tonic to accompany the music and add color, but they do not use the accompanying chords which appear only later in art music. In our programs we always use some form of the hurdy gurdy, which is the most characteristic instrument in the Bourdon style, but we also use many other interesting instruments in the course of our performances.
Shakespeare writes in the Merchant of Venice:
"The man that hath no music in himself, Nor is not moved with concord of sweet sounds, Is fit for treasons, stratagems, and spoils; The motions of his spirit are dull as night, And his affections dark as Erebus. Let no such man be trusted."
Let us add to this, by way of expanding these wise lines: Pay attention to the experience of every fellow musician as one pays attention to literature. Music and literature in past centuries formed an unbreakable union. Poetry existed together with music then, but a well-crafted lyric added power of its own as well. The music and verse of Medieval and Renaissance Hungary and the rest of Europe appears through preservation of the ensemble, and it is our belief that the temperament of the people at that time is the temperament of people today as well.
The founding members, who ensure the sound of the ensemble
Katalin BENNŐ - recorders, hurdy-gurdy, voice
Balázs NAGY - hurdy-gurdy, koboz, oud, voice
Gábor KURDI - bagpipe, koboz, pastor's flute
Márton PUSKÓ - violin, oud
... and those who helped our band a lot:
József BOLDIZSÁR- violin Elemér KONKOLY- drum, cello Kálmán VIKOL - flute, schalmei, voice
Ádám BUDA - hurdy-gurdy, koboz, lute, voice
Péter MOLNÁR - pastor's flute/whistle, gemshorn, kaval
László HERCZEG- drum, voice
Guest artists: Dr. András Szabó - performer, literary historian, Anna Németh - violin, bagpipe, Szabolcs Koroknai - bagpipe, koboz
We often take part in events where observers can see the musicians in period clothes and scenery. We have appeared multiple times in Renaissance fairs, such as the Visegrád Palace Games or in the Diósgyőr Castle. We have also been booked to perform for important dinner engagements in Budapest's Vajdahunyad castle, in the "Borgála 2000" in Budapest's Hilton, and in the first "Bországgyűlés" (National Wine Congress) in Zalaegerszeg. We have appeared a number of times as guests of the Kecskés Ensemble in Szentendre we appear on loan to complete each other's performances and give joint concerts. In conjunction with our concerts, we also hold exhibitions of our instruments for students and those interested in historical instruments.
A Hollókői Várjátékon
Kosovo, Prizren - Early Music Festival
At Győr, in the Rómer Flóris Art and Historical Museum, during the exhibition of Péter Váczy.
--In a millennial concert in Budapest
In an outdoor concert at Óbuda
SAVARIA HISTORICAL CARNEVAL
In the great hall of the Petőfi Sándor Culture Center, Lőkösháza.
In the Castle of Hollókő, with the Pavane dance troupe.
Our instruments are typical of the middle ages in type, craftsmanship and sound. Most of our instruments were obtained in instrument shops, but we make some of our instruments as they are otherwise impossible to obtain. In our programs we play pieces written specifically for our instruments to show their characteristic sounds or we provide our own instrumentation of period music if no instrumentation already exists.
HURDY GURDY (Hungarian TEKERŐLANT) - an instrument which a turning wooden disk sounds the strings and which is played with the help of wooden keys. A favorite instrument in Europe since the middle ages. This "mechanical fiddle" played a major role in classical music as well as in folk music. The medieval masters prepared the hurdy gurdy in a variety of forms, both in lute form and guitar form. The instrument was used in Hungary as well, but only in folk music--even today it is used only in music coming from traditional roots.
OUD - of Arab origin, similar to the instruments of the lute family, the oud is used even today in, for example, Turkish music. Short-necked, with 11 strings, a convex back, no frets and a clean finger board. Its form and sound make it ideal for use in music true to the medieval sound.
Renaissance lute- a kind of plucked string instrument, formed in the XV. century and become the most popular instrument of the Renaissance in Europe. It is suitable as an accompaniment instrument and for orchestral playing as well. There are many varieties depends on the number of the strings, the tuning or the size.
GEMSHORN - wind instrument in a variety of sizes fashioned from the horn of an animal. Closing the open end of the hollow horn and providing a fipple produces an instrument similar to the pastor's flute/whistle. A pleasant, humming sound made this a favored instrument in the music of the middle ages.
KAVAL - flute-like, well-known at the Balkans, the pecularity of this is that it does not contain a built-in whistle, so the sound is produced directly on the edge of the tube.
KOBOZ - A plucked instrument in the lute family. Primarily used in folk music to accompany fiddle and pastor's flute/whistle. An instrument favored by the medieval minstrel.
CRUMHORN - one of the preferred instruments in the Renaissance period, it belongs to the double-reed instrument family. It is interesting in that the blade of the reed is not touched by the player -- a wind cap protects the reed and makes it possible to blow into the instrument.
BLOCKFLUTE (RECORDER) - the universally recognized form of the pastor's flute whose development made this ancient instrument ideal for use in classical music because of its clear sound and wide range. One of the most important instruments in the music of both the Renaissance and Baroque periods, it has preserved its primacy to this day in early music ensembles.
SHAWM - a wind instrument of ancient origin similar to the oboe which developed into many different forms, both in classical music and in folk music. E.g., the zurna/zurla, the pommern, and the Turkish pipe or tárogató. A simple double-reed produces the sound. Simpler types rely on covering the finger holes to change the sound, while more advanced types have keys.
FOLK SHAWM (TURKISH PIPE or TÁROGATÓ) - double reed instruments were popular in Hungary as well. With its simple form and powerful sound the Turkish pipe was very important in medieval Hungarian music, especially after the end of the Turkish occupation.