Fine Hungarian Song – book and movie premiere in the Danube Palace

2018. April 26.
The book, Fine Hungarian Song, edited by József Béres and published in two volumes so far, has opened a new chapter in its story. It was republished in a one-volume revised and extended edition and presented together with a documentary on the book directed by Katalin Petényi and Barna Kabay in the Danube Palace on 26 April. At the presentation event, József Béres spoke about his thoughts concerning the new release, and Katalin Petényi told us about the idea and messages of their movie.

Primarily known for being the CEO of Béres Pharmaceuticals, producer of the Béres Drops and many vitamin products, József Béres is a committed admirer of the Hungarian folk songs and folk music. His first collection of songs was published in 2009 and it contained 430 Hungarian folk songs, popular songs and sacred songs. Its publication was soon followed by the release of a complete audio track of the whole book. The second volume was issued in 2016 and it mainly added Transylvanian songs to the collection. The story of Fine Hungarian Songs continues. József Béres merged the two volumes for practical reasons and enriched the collection with further curiosities and additional information. The books inspired the Kabay-Petényi filmmaker duo to create a poetic documentary conceiving the message of fine Hungarian songs for today’s people.



“With these songs, I would like to give a “magic stone” to the people,” said József Béres on the ceremony, “because I experienced in my own life what Zoltán Kodály taught to our nation, ‘Did you find a magic stone among the treasures that can knead your flesh over, stir your blood up and remedy your doubt of identity, binding you here the way you can go nowhere else anymore?’ It became my conviction that these magic stones fill us with joy and self-esteem in the strictest sense of the word and I try to show this to many.”



Katalin Petényi, one of the creators of the documentary said, “The Hungarian folk song is the mirror of the Hungarian soul, it is the same age as the Hungarian language; our traditional folk music that formed throughout Hungarian history and got chiselled in use for several centuries, even millennia is a value that equals our mother tongue. Each of us can recognize himself in them while others can learn about us from them. The truth of Zoltán Kodály’s words is proven by József Béres’s book, Fine Hungarian Song, that motivated us to attempt to translate this truth into the language of film. Beneath the unique sight of the gentle hills of Mezőség, the mountains of Csík and the Transylvanian villages, songs are sung expressing human joy, sorrow, and desire."



The main character of the movie is József Béres collecting his most cherished secular and ecclesiastical songs, as he says, to take the wonderful mirth of singing to families, and companies of friends. We can see an abundant diversity and the community-building power of the Hungarian folk song, folk music and dance due to his committed work. The camera accompanies him to a Transylvanian journey where they meet “informants” – mainly elderly peasants – together with the most illustrious researchers of folk and ecclesiastical music, namely Zoltán Kallós, István Almási, János Bereczky, Tamás Bubnó and János Dombóvári. As a counterpoint to the archaic world conserving the past, there appears a summer camp at the Castle of Válaszút, Mezőség where hundreds of kids carry on the ancient heritage with their love for folk music.


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