RTHK' s The Works focuses on Hong Kong's arts and cultural scene. The Works features news and reviews of visual and performing arts, design, literary and other “ works ” .
Later in the show, multiple award- winning cellist István Várdai is here with us, and he’s brought with him a very special instrument: a 1673 Stradivari cello previously owned by the late great British cellist, Jacqueline du Pré. But before listening to that 345-year-old Stradivari, we’re going to hear a form of folk music from Taiwan that also has a long history. There’s a wide variety of music in Taiwan that ranges from the polyphonic vocals of the island’s indigenous tribes to Western style classics and contemporary pop. Over the centuries, many Chinese migrated to the island. Among their own musical forms, they created Taiwanese opera, also known as Hokkien Opera, particularly popular with the Hakka people. And then, on a somewhat more modest scale, there’s the art of the traditional Taiwanese narrative song “Liām Kua”, usually played by a single performer.
Hungarian cellist István Várdai has been awarded Gold Medals at both the International Cello Competition in Geneva and the ARD Competition in Munich. He studied at the Franz Liszt Academy in Budapest and in Vienna. Since then, at 33, he has appeared internationally with many impressive orchestras and conductors.
He plays a 1673 Stradivari cello, one of fewer than 65 in existence from the legendary instrument-maker, and one that was once owned by one of the most celebrated 20th century cellists, the late Jacqueline du Pré. Várdai says he feels the instrument was “made for eternity” and that it helped him to find his voice as a musician. He’s here to tell us more.