Third concert HARBIN  

12 hours travelling from the South to the North, with a car journey (brand new highway) two flights, fortunately, everything goes smoothly

I have a feeling the drivers are not very comfortable with all these new roads. The way they drive is so strange; on a two lane highway, once they are parallel to one another, they slow down completely, blow their horns first then overtake. No trust is displayed…

About 9 million people, the most “European” among the Chinese cities, with a long-standing tradition of Russian influence

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Entering the nice old building of the Concert Hall, at ground level we arrive in a billiard saloon hall, with pictures of famous players on the wall. Am I in the right place? The real Concert Hall is then on the first floor, also with famous players on the wall. Actually, what happens in the two rooms is quite similar: playing. In the first one with billiard balls, in the second one with notes.

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It is a pleasure to see a lot of youngsters in the audience; they all come to see me afterwards for a picture

Dinner in the “development zone” means the most modern part of the city. Enormous, high-tech buildings – clearly, it’s the new business people’s area. Very fancy restaurants. An incredible variety of fish, sea food, beautifully presented, still swimming, or on ice, everything freshly prepared. Fantastic cuisine!

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By coincidence, my concert falls on the same day as the General Manager’s birthday. This influences the number of empty beer bottles that have been left behind in the private dining room… I learn that if you say “cheers” in Chinese and clink glasses, you have to drain your glass to the dregs! Dangerous…

Late at night, I find a channel on the television showing a traditional Chinese Opera. I try hard to understand something – no way. On another channel in English, I see concerts of Chinese music, big orchestration, sometimes soloists, singers. It is also very far removed from western music, but it is possible to recognize some similarities with the folk music of my own country. There are Hungarian folk songs based on a 5 tone (pentatonic) scale like Chinese music. Time to start some endless speculation on the origins of the peoples…

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