How sound pushed the story of ‘Tár’s’ conductor into psychological territory.
“I was an unhappy teacher. It’s a fact,” said Tár’s conductor, Zsiga Tóth, a slender, bespectacled man with the high Slavic cheekbones and thin lips of the Hungarian nobles.
The comment might not have been entirely appropriate when he was first asked to play Tár’s music, but in the time since, Tóth has become a highly valued and respected conductor of the Budapest Philharmonic. The accolades have come from a number of corners. One of Tóth’s most cherished possessions, a rare cello, has been purchased by its owner in Moscow. And when Tóth conducted the London Symphony Orchestra in May to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Haydn’s death, the London Symphony Orchestra Orchestra, which had previously only conducted Haydn in London, was given permission to make the concert. Tóth’s conducting at that event became one of the most well-received professional performances in the history of music.
On April 6, 2007, Tóth conducted Tár’s Symphony No. 2 in Budapest, the first time many had heard a performance of the symphony since the fall of Communism in 1989. The next day, it was Tár’s birthday, and Tóth conducted the Tár’s Second Symphony. Three days later, on April 9, 2007, he conducted the Tár’s Symposium, the first time the symphony had been performed in Hungary since the war in 1944.
The performance in Budapest of Tár’s Symphony No. 2 was a turning point for Tóth. It was a night of high praise.
In the press, Szilárd’s story was lauded even by the conservative press. In the comments section of the Hungarian newspaper Magyar Hírlap, one of the top-rated news blogs, a headline proclaimed “Zsiga Tóth, my hero!”
“I was an unhappy teacher,” he said, “It’s a fact. I am a musician, and all I want is to be a good teacher.”
On the same day, there was a