For the First Time Ever ...
... the Hungarian rare book dealers invite colleagues and collectors from across the world to Budapest. The 42nd ILAB Congress and 26th ILAB International Antiquarian Book Fair from 21 to 25 September 2016 will present Budapest as one of the most beautiful cities and one of the most fascinating book capitals in Europe.
The congress programme is as manifold as exciting and proves that Budapest is a city with many faces: the old Hungarian capital full of books and music, history and tradition and at the same time a lively and busy Eastern European centre full of young and amazing cultural concepts.
Have you already registered for the ILAB Congress and / or for the succeeding ILAB International Antiquarian Book Fair? Have a look at the promising programme and do not hesitate to subscribe.
In a series of articles we will introduce you to the most exciting places of Budapest – libraries, museums, archives, music halls and other famous sites. Joins us on our virtual tour through the Hungarian capital and be sure: the 42nd ILAB Congress and 26th ILAB International Antiquarian Book Fair in September 2016 are worth a visit.
Vigadó – The Elegant Book Fair Venue
The Antiquarian Booksellers’ Association of Hungary (MAE) is very proud to welcome its first International Antiquarian Book Fair. Never before, antiquarian booksellers had the opportunity to present their rare books, manuscripts and other documents at such a large-scale exhibition in Budapest. From 24 to 25 September 2016 it will take place in a most famous venue: the Vigadó.
By the end of the Ottoman occupation in 1686, Pest was a market town along an important trade route, and it lay in ruins. When it regained strength a few decades later, the stern stone blocks of a redoubt stood in the area of today's Vigadó tér to defend the city at its northern boundary. In 1789 this redoubt was demolished. For quite a while the people of Pest did not cease to demand a ballroom, and, finally, Mihály Pollack was commissioned to start its construction in 1829. This building is the predecessor of today's Vigadó. It became one of the finest pieces of neoclassical architecture in Pest, called Redoute.
The Redoute was opened in January 1833 with a grand ball and soon became much more than the centre of merriments. It was the only concert hall in Pest, where both Johann Strauss the Elder and the Younger and Ferenc Erkel performed several times. Ferenc Liszt gave the first concert at “the ballroom” after the great flood of 1838. After its destruction by invading Austrian troops in May 1849, Frigyes Feszl began to restore the Redoute in a Hungarian style. The new edifice, now called Vigadó, was opened in 1864.
The façade of the palace is decorated by the Hungarian Coat of Arms and the likenesses of outstanding figures in Hungarian history. The pillar statues were sculpted by Károly Alexy. The frescos inside the building were painted by Károly Lotz and Mór Than. After the Austro-Hungarian Compromise of 1867, the city leased the Vigadó, which then hosted a variety of programmes, including city council meetings.
Two or three decades later, the Vigadó had a busy schedule of events: ice balls, fancy-dress parties with characters from the novels of Mór Jókai or from Hungarian history. The most luxurious ball to be hosted at the Vigadó was the one organized by the National Rowing and Sailing Association in 1870, with a rich order of dances, lavish props, a sailor-suit military band, and a goldfish pool. The most noteworthy ball was the one commemorating István Széchenyi, known in Hungary as "the greatest Hungarian". In 1867 Emperor Franz Joseph attended the banquet hosted by the Vigadó in honour of his coronation, and it was also here that Budapest was born by the merger of the old cities of Pest, Buda and Óbuda (old Buda).
Liszt – Strauss – Bartók
The Vigadó developed a rich concert life. Ferenc Liszt conducted his oratorio, The Legend of Saint Elisabeth, on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of the Pest-Buda Conservatory. In 1869 the Vigadó hosted the first all-Liszt concert in Hungary, and it was here that Liszt conducted the premier of the orchestral versions of Mihály Vörösmarty's great poem "Appeal" and the Hungarian National Anthem, Ferenc Kölcsey's "Hymn". At the Vigadó celebration of his half-century artistic career, Liszt was presented with a gold laurel wreath and a number of foreign awards, including honorary membership of the St. Petersburg Academy of Music. In 1875 Liszt and Wagner co-organized a concert to raise funds for the construction of the Bayreuth Festspielhaus. Johann Strauss the Younger, Dvořak, Debussy, Arthur Rubinstein – they all played at the Vigadé. Ernő Dohnányi had his first solo concert here. Béla Bartók and Annie Fischer made their debuts in the Vigadó in 1905 and 1932, while Richard Strauss conducted several times from the rostrum of the Vigadó, and Prokofiev appeared on stage as a pianist.
Treasure House of Culture
The Vigadó was seriously damaged in World War II, and again its future was called into doubt. Experts rallied to save this "the unique masterpiece of romantic architecture conceived in the revolutionary spirit of the struggle for freedom". Finally, in 1954 the Vigadó building was declared a National Monument, and the authorities permitted its reconstruction in the late fifties. In 1968, construction work started, and on 15 March 1980, the rebuilt Vigadó was opened to the public, now as a house of music and art. The Vigadó Gallery hosted many exhibitions by contemporary artists, including Béla Czóbel, Gyula Hincz, and Ferenc Martyn. World-famous artists appeared on the stage, such as György Cziffra, Sviatoslav Richter and Ken-Ichiro Kobayashi conducting the Hungarian State Symphony Orchestra.
Despite its fame and success, the Vigadó was closed in 2004. But not for long. When in 2011, the Hungarian Academy of Arts became an independent association, they acquired ownership of the Vigadó building, which, once again, was restored and reconstructed. Now the Vigadó’s main auditorium shines in its original beauty. The main staircase, the lobby and the music room have been fully restored to their former grandeur. Under the motto "Art in the Centre", the official opening ceremony of the Vigadó was held on 14 March 2014.
Over the centuries and through its changeful history, the Vigadó has become the cultural centre of Budapest, where art and music are celebrated in a magnificent setting. Here the Antiquarian Booksellers’ Association of Hungary (MAE) will welcome booksellers and book collectors from all over the world to the first ILAB International Antiquarian Book Fair in Hungary from 24 to 25 September.
We hope to see you there.
26th ILAB International Antiquarian Book Fair
Pesti Vigadó, Budapest, Hungary, from 24 to 25 September 2016
>> To register online and for more information please visit the official website.
>> For any further questions please contact the organizer at firstname.lastname@example.org
(Pictures: Antiquarian Booksellers’ Association of Hungary, MAE)