If you visit Hungary’s recently opened House of Hungarian Music to hear great music, no doubt your expectations will be met. Beautiful pieces selected from a wide range of the world’s musical literature will please your ears. It will refresh your mind and fill you with joy. But not only that. You will get a lot more. The venues will impress your eyes. The building, the exhibition, and the programs will communicate with all your senses. And finally, it will touch your heart and embrace your soul.
‘Music belongs to all,’ says the mission statement of the House of Music. Visitors of all ages with a preference for any genre of music and with every level of musical skill, as well as everybody with an openness to all forms of musical interaction are welcome. The diverse range of events provides plenty of musical experiences, including exhibitions, concerts, playing music together, singing, dancing, exciting music education workshops, and lecture courses.
When you approach the building, from the outside you already realize that this is not just another museum or event hall.
This is a site that does not fall into any ordinary categories. The building is an architectural marvel, surrounded by an inviting environment, including an open-air stage and a music play-ground. Within the building, there are two floors above, and two floors below the ground floor.
The glass walled concert and lecture halls are located on the ground floor, the permanent exhibition and the sound dome are found below ground, while the facilities serving education and research, such as the multimedia library and club, as well as lecture rooms, are on the top floor.
Sou Fujimoto, the architect of the House of Music Hungary, who also designed the Serpentine Gallery Pavilion in London, says that this project represents the essence of his philosophy: the symbiosis of architecture and nature. His goal was to show something new about the relationship between humanity, nature, and space to visitors. He created an inspiring space where the quality of music is highlighted by the beautiful environment.
One of the main attractions is the permanent exhibition, inviting you to take at least two to three hours to wander through the labyrinth of different genres and eras of music.
Our journey begins far back in time and space, back at the birth of music itself where we can grasp the roots of Hungarian folk music and European music. Progressing through the centuries, we will follow the development of music, discovering what a series of organized tones has meant to mankind, with the emphasis on Hungarians in the light—or sometimes the shadow—of Europe. Through the language of music, the exhibition speaks for itself: Everywhere we go, we hear music playing; the subject of the exhibition is music itself,”
says the website of the House of Hungarian Music.
If you wish to have an all-round experience of vision and sound, do not miss the twenty-minute performance played in the sound dome. What is a sound dome? It is a dome-cupola, which emits sounds. It includes a projection screen with a sound system behind it. Sitting in the middle you will hear sounds coming from all directions. Per the website: “The world of sounds is evoked here, starting with those of nature to composed music, but the experience visitors have here expands beyond this dimension. This dome is also a laboratory producing new sounds: alchemy at the highest level. It is a unique creation with unforeseeable potential. It is worth returning here from time to time to make new discoveries. The first show conveys the sounds and images of the Carpathian Basin from unique audio and visual perspectives.”
Everything is set for us to endeavor on our own adventures here, to learn by experience. Just let your curious self indulge in the possibilities. As the creators of the House of the Hungarian Music put it: “Sound is the most volatile thing; even a fragrance can be captured more easily than sound. Installed in this space are instruments that enable us to create the components of music, and thus the whole process of sound- and music creation is objectified. By using ingenious devices, visitors can experiment with and study the nature of several aspects of sound such as pitch, vibration, tone, and rhythm. Last but not least, an organ ‘speaking volumes’ is installed here addressing visitors in the language of not only musical sounds… In a word: a palace of musical wonders will open up here. A fantastic game for children and adults alike.”
I am sure I will return with my family to the House of Music Hungary. Right now, you need to plan far ahead to book a ticket for a concert, but I am sure it is worth the patience required to reserve your seat. Spring is coming, trees will soon blossom. I already smell the fragrance, and hear the beautiful melodies played inside the house. Make sure you don’t miss out.
Photos by Attila Lambert/Hungary Today