Concert in St. Stephen’s Basilica

Today Women’s Voices Chorus gave our first European concert! We provided the music for the noon mass at St. Stephen’s Basilica, the most prominent church in Budapest. During the mass, we sang from the organ loft, which gave us a beautiful and unique perspective on the cathedral. For the final piece of the mass, Allan Friedman’s “Nunc Dimittis,” we stood on the steps in front of the altar, and stayed in that location to give an hour-long performance immediately afterward. Our audience seemed attentive and appreciative – I got the sense that they particularly liked the two Hungarian pieces that we performed, “Esti Dal” and “Huszt” by the Hungarian composer Zoltán Kodály.

From the organ loft we had a particularly great view of the sculptures and elaborate gilded ornaments. Although St. Stephen’s Basilica looks old, it was actually only completed in 1905. As our tour guide shared with us later, the edifice took a long time to build, in part because the dome collapsed partway through the construction process. The basilica also houses the reliquary containing St. Stephen’s hand. (St. Stephen, the first king of Hungary around the year 1000 who began converting the nation to Christianity, is much revered here.) Below you can see some photos of the choir practicing in an upper room of the basilica before our performance, and some views of the interior. Stay tuned later for more information and photos from our tour this afternoon – and tonight we’re going on a dinner cruise on the Danube!

WVC Rehearsing in St. Stephen's Basilica

WVC Rehearsing in St. Stephen’s Basilica

The organ in St. Stephen's Basilica

The organ in St. Stephen’s Basilica

The interior of St. Stephen's Basilica

The interior of St. Stephen’s Basilica

Detail of the decoration in St. Stephen's Basilica

Detail of the decoration in St. Stephen’s Basilica

 

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