Who lived for the violin

My father was born in 1923 in Vép, a small town near Szombathely. Back at the time, the count used to give dinner to the children of the poor every Sunday. One Sunday, when my father also went for the dinner – he was about the age of four – the count offered him a violin. He shortly learnt to play the violin and he started making music in the neighbourhood. He got food in exchange for the music and he brought it home to his family.

The story goes that after primary school he got a job right away, he worked as a miner and as a shoemaker, but music had always had an outstanding role in his life. Later on, he bought a new violin and a suit of clothes from his salary and so he went to play music. He had already had a family when he bought a clarinet and signed in to music school once again. As a Gypsy violinist, he played in restaurants and abroad, and he played in the Budapest Gypsy Orchestra. At the age of 76, he even got to Japan. All he lived for was the violin.

We learnt to love music from him. One of my favourite story about him dates back to my childhood. At that time the so called “Pacsirta” radio was to be found in most households. I still remember the big, white buttons of the radio on which I used to play the piano until the radio broke down. I got very much upset for, on the one hand, I couldn’t play the piano any more and on the other hand, I was afraid of getting scolded. What happened after? Daddy left home in a rush and soon got back with a piano. I got my first piano from him at the age of six and I still have it today, I could never throw it away.

My father was a wonderful man and he always played from his heart.

Written by Vivien Balogh based on a discussion with Mária Rigó


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