Matthias Well – violin
Maria Well – cello
Vladislav Cojocaru – accordion
The trio Matthias Well, Maria Well and Vladislav Cojocaru joins a special tradition with this album: Hungarian folk music.
Already in their early childhood, the siblings Matthias and Maria Well came into contact with this musical genre through their maternal grandfather. The grandfather, who came from the Hungarian town of Balas-sagyarmat, grew up above a lively coffee house where musicians stopped in every day and played typical Magyar folk melodies with their instruments. As a young boy, he was handed a violin one evening with the words “Hegedüljed” (‘Play!’). This event awakened his love for Hungarian music, which was passed down through generations.
But decades earlier, Hungarian folk music had already conquered the world’s great stages: between 1869 and 1880, Johannes Brahms published his 21 Hungarian Dances. Influenced early on by his former touring partner, the Hungarian violinist Eduard Reményi, he appropriated motifs and passages to adapt them in his own style and create new melodies.
But the history of tradition of the Hungarian melodies that inspired Brahms goes back even further in time. They are mainly based on the music of the Roma:nja, which is why they also entered music history under the name “Gipsy music”. Brahms also used these terms synonymously, describing a musical style that went far beyond the Hungarian borders.
Well-known composers such as the Czech-born Antónin Dvorák with his 16 Slavonic Dances, the Romanian violinist Grigoraș Dinicu, the Hungarian pianist Rezső Seress and many others were also inspired by this music. In their pieces, folk melodies were taken up, varied and reassembled, creating an exciting and interesting exchange of tradition and innovation.
Vladislav Cojocaru also became acquainted with the genre early on in his native Moldova through the folk music prevalent there. During his studies at the Academy of Music and Theater in Chișinău and the Richard Strauss Conservatory in Munich, he deepened his knowledge and skills in this field. But also outside the academic side he gained a lot of experience in different ensembles.
So the trio picks up the tradition of Hungarian folk music with many of their own reference points – although the term Hungarian does not seem to do justice to the geographical diversity of the music. In their album they use pieces by the musicians mentioned above and other well-known composers. On the one hand, they adapt them in their own style, but also make specific reference to original themes. This can be seen especially in the work on the Hungarian Dances by Vladislav Cojocaru. New arrangements were created with a cha-racter that makes the pieces on this album seem like.