Words by Simon Broughton
Grand designs and fiery fiddling
Violinist Félix Lajkó is pretty well known in Hungary, but not so much outside – despite being one of the most extraordinary violinists playing today. Lajkó was born in northern Serbia to Hungarian parents, and is now based in Hungary. He’s played with Boban Markovi’s brass band, with French rock band Noir Désir and composed for theatre productions and films.
His composes music and draws on both classical and folk influences. He usually performs in a duo with viola player Antal Brasnyó – which is how I last saw him in Hungary a couple of years ago. The intensity, fire and virtuosity of their playing is thrilling.
This is a live recording made from a concert tour in April and May 2011, during which Lajkó played in churches and other buildings designed by the visionary architect Imre Makovecz (1935-2011), a Hungarian equivalent of Barcelona’s Gaudi. It’s a rather inspired idea because Lajkó’s music could be seen as an aural equivalent of Makovecz’s designs – modern but with strong folk and vernacular influences. The music is often fast and muscular, but there are also moments of stillness and delicacy. ‘A Madárnak’ (To the Bird) begins with whistling while violin and viola bows just tap the strings, it then moves into pizzicato before the melody sings over a syncopated rhythm. At close to 80 minutes the CD is overlong. But that’s a small criticism of a major achievement.
Track to try: A Madárnak