Since I didn’t scan the booklet when I had this out from the library some years ago, I have absolutely no information about him, and none can be found on the interweb. So all I have to go on are my trusty ears and propensity for fraudulent concocticating. I’m pretty sure he’s related to Roby Lakatos, the gypsy violinist who’s wowing people nowadays, but Sándor was WAY better.
I do know one thing though, it does what it says on the label. Gypsy. Virtuoso. I have never heard anyone for whom those words are more fitting. He is certainly a virtuoso, to the full depth of the term. Quite frankly he is one of the best violin players I have ever heard. Ever. If you downloaded my fiddle mix-cd way back when, you know what I’m talking about. Even in the company of other masters, he stands out.
What makes him stand out so? Well, apart from pure technical ability (which is flawless to the point of sounding effortless), it is as though the violin itself were alive, and speaking through his deftly bowed touch. He’s not playing notes; he’s playing birds, and dances, and tears. He’s playing the joys and sorrows of the whole history of the gypsy race every time the hair of his bow alights upon the strings. And his tone! Engorged with vigor, yet pure and salient. He plays wild, yes. But it’s not an ego-based wildness – it’s the wildness that is natural to the gypsy people. Have you seen the colors of their outfits. These are the hummingbirds and peacocks of humanity – what seems like showing off is in fact the full and honest expression of their culture. As travelling people, they can keep very few posessions, but they can bring their music with them everywhere, and it carries for them their histories, griefs and memories, supplanting it all with an ever present impulse to BE HERE NOW.
That, I think, is why they are so prone to suddently change tempo and mood. To wake us up. To draw tears from our eyes and then get us to dance them away, or to stop us in the middle of a frantic dance and pierce through our lowered guard and touch our heart with a whispered B-flat. And no one I’ve heard accomplishes this drastic dynamic shift better than Sándor Lakatos and his crack Gypsy Band. From a whisper to a wail, to a bird and a whip and a long lonely lullabye and back. Good night!
…actually, I should mention the band too. They sound like a dixieland band that’s been posessed by the spirit of P.T. Barnum and has been let loose in the carnival to spread their joyful anarchy around like jelly on your sanity clause. oh, and that thing that sounds like a piano in the Gypsy Band is likely a cymbalom, the Eastern European version of a hammered dulcimer. To hear more, take a listen to Joseph Moskowitz, posted in the Last Great Post.
Label: Hungaroton (the national record label of Hungary!)
note: due to scratches on the cd when I got it, a couple of the tracks never imported and one skips out at the end.
1 Virtuoso Csárdás – Lakatos – 1:27
2 Venetian Carnival – Enrst – 3:52
3 Serenade in a Major – Kreisler – 2:24
4 The Sheperd’s Hora – Lakatos – 1:48
5 The Nightingale – Lakatos – 3:24
6 I Do Not Owe a Thing to Anybody – Feldolgozia – :39
7 Abandoned – Boulanger – 4:19
8 Caprice No. 24 – Paganini – 6:11
9 Stately Palotás Dance – Csermák – 3:07 *scratched
10 Song Medley Fantasy – Lakatos – 4:57 *missing
11 Dreamy Violin – Lakatos – 2:17 *missing
12 Madocsa Verbunkos and Quick Dance – Feldolgozia – 3:06
13 Rolling Balaton – Feldolgozia, Lakatos – 3:46
14 Fly, My Swallow – Feldolgozia – 5:11
15 Birdie on a Branch – Várady – 1:13
16 Laci Ráciz’s Tunes – Feldolgozia – 4:29
17 Memory – Lakatos – 1:53
18 Lujza Csárdás – Feldolgozia – 1:08
19 Memory and Quick Dance – Feldolgozia – 3:33
20 Hóra/Hora – Boulanger – 2:23
21 Variation Fantasy – Lakatos – 2:22
22 For Six Days Now the Band Has Played – Adorjan, Angyal, Feldolgozia – 1:23
23 Medley of Old Songs and Csárdás – Feldolgozia – 7:05
the devil’s music.
mp3 >192kbps vbr | w/ cover? | 91mb
looks like there’s another Sándor album over at Rebel Sounds, if you can navigate the Russian downloader.