March 15 National Day in the time of the Coronavirus

On March 15th Hungarians commemorate the Revolution and the War of Independence against the Austrian-Hapsburg rule in 1848–49.  Normally, on this day there are commemorations and family programs all over the country and in Hungarian communities all over the world.  In Budapest the main event takes place on the steps of the Hungarian National Museum just like on March 15, 1848.

Today the Covid-19 situation is tragic in Hungary.  According to the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) more people could become infected and die than ever before in the current third wave of the epidemic in Hungary. The analysis estimates that nearly 500 people may die every day due to the coronavirus by the end of March, and more than 40,000 deaths are expected by July.

Hungarian virologists call the IHME projection an “apocalyptic Covid forecast.”  There is enormous pressure on the healthcare system and we sincerely hope that the protection measures and the vaccination campaign will curb the pandemic.

We celebrate March 15th with Béla Bartók’s symphonic poem entitled Kossuth.

In 1903 Bartók was a young composer and optimistic nationalism was sweeping the country inspired by Ferenc Kossuth and his Party of Independence. The style is reminiscent of Richard Strauss and the symphonic poem celebrates the great patriot Lajos Kossuth, Ferenc’s father, who had led the revolution of 1848–49. At the first performance there was a scandal because the piece pokes musical fun at the Austrian national anthem.

The Budapest Festival Orchestra is conducted by Maestro Iván Fischer.


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