György Sándor : Volume Number One : Rarely seen 1950s Budapest street photography shot by a Hungarian classical pianist. A scratchy symphony of composition and poise in turbulent times.

György Sándor (1912 – 2005),
Hungarian concert pianist, writer
(and photographer).

A very rare glimpse at Budapest as seen through the lens of the Hungarian concert pianist and writer, György Sándor (1912 – 2005). In the classical world, Sándor was up there. He recorded piano works by Bach, Beethoven, Brahms, Chopin, Liszt, Rachmaninov and Schumann amongst others; he toured the world, playing at New York’s Carnegie Hall and was friends with, and mentored by the legendary composer Béla Bartók; he married the divorced wife of the Archduke Karl Pius of Austria, Prince of Tuscany: and he wrote a book, “On Piano Playing: Motion, Sound, Expression”.

It now transpired that Sándor was a also a keen amateur photographer. The Fővárosi Szabó Ervin Library in Budapest recently found, dusted off and donated over 500 previously unseen Sándor photographs to a Hungarian public archive for found photography. The images date from the aftermath of the Hungarian Revolution of 1956. He covered funerals, shows us bullet ridden buildings and the nation’s capital rebuilding, getting back on it’s feet once more. Resurrection. Sándor recognised a grand theme playing out when he saw one.

György Sándor wasn’t taken in by showy piano players, preferring gravitas and poise: “Today more than ever, audiences mistake the excessively tense muscular activities of the performer for an intense musical experience,” he said, “and all too often we see the public impressed and awed by convulsive distortions and spastic gyrations.”

He seems to have taken this approach, this philosophy, and applied it to his personal photography. As with his concert performances, every photograph is unpretentious and grounded, thoughtfully composed, evocative and true.

Well, if you sit down and play the piano and they like you,” said Sándor in an 1990 interview, “what would you think would be their normal reaction? They want to hear you again!”

If you want to see more of Sándor’s photography, you can:

György Sándor : Volume Number Two

with György Sándor by Bruce Duffie, February, 1990, Wikipedia.

Városligeti körút. Front of the ruined building of the former Hungarian Transport Museum, c. 1956-7.
Untitled. 1959
Untitled. 1959.
Fiumei út National Cemetery on April 19, 1957. Funeral services for officers of the Hungarian Revolution who fell at the radio station and at Kertész Street in October 1956.
Fiumei út National Cemetery on April 19, 1957. Funeral services for officers of the Hungarian Revolution who fell at the radio station and at Kertész Street in October 1956.
Fiumei út National Cemetery on April 19, 1957. Funeral services for officers of the Hungarian Revolution who fell at the radio station and at Kertész Street in October 1956.
Fiumei út National Cemetery on April 19, 1957. Funeral services for officers of the Hungarian Revolution who fell at the radio station and at Kertész Street in October 1956.
Fiumei út National Cemetery on April 19, 1957. Mrs. Józsefné Csikesz, a member of the Budapest Management Committee of the Hungarian Socialist People’s Party, gives a farewell speech for the Hungarian Revolution officers who fell at the radio station and at Kertész Street in October 1956.
Clark Adam Square, the Chain Bridge espresso terrace. 1960.
Hardware store at Thököly út 16. Undated.
Shoppers at store window. 1957.
Keve street, Emőd street corner. 1959.
Kossuth Lajos Square, statue of Lajos Kossuth (Zsigmond Kisfaludi Strobl, András Kocsis, Lajos Ungvári, 1952). Retoration and repair of the monument’s’s sunken pedestal.
Kossuth Lajos Square, statue of Lajos Kossuth (Zsigmond Kisfaludi Strobl, András Kocsis, Lajos Ungvári, 1952). Retoration and repair of the monument’s’s sunken pedestal.
Untitled portrait. 1960.
Untitled. 1957.
Károlyi István (Táncsics Mihály) street 10. Danube Shoe Factory, main entrance, 1959.
Milk bottlers at work at Erzsébetváros plant of the Budapest & Vidéke Dairy Company on Kálvária utca 23. 1958.
Horse fair near the intersection of Mester utca & Vágóhíd utca. 1958.
Horse fair near the intersection of Mester utca & Vágóhíd utca. 1958.
Horse fair near the intersection of Mester utca & Vágóhíd utca.
The Bulgarian Orthodox Church of St. Cyril and St. Methodius in the background. 1958
Horse fair near the intersection of Mester utca & Vágóhíd utca. 1958.
Untitled. 1958.
Oktogon (November 7 Square), opposite the Teresa (Lenin) boulevard facing King (Mayakovsky) Street. 1959.
Untitled. 1958.
Elizabeth (Lenin) Boulevard 17, corner of Barcsay Street, 1959.
Teréz (Lenin) körút, the mouth of Szobi utca on the left, the Béke hotel further away. 1958.
Untitled. 1958.
Untitled. 1959.
Mayor György Marosán at People’s Park, Budapest X. 1958.
Fiastyúk utca 61. Youth post office in the housing estate,
139 Posta. 1958
Ice Rink building as seen from the bridge over Lake Városligeti. 1959.
Hunyadi Square, Christmas tree shopping in front of the Market Hall. 1959.
Hunyadi Square, Christmas tree shopping in front of the Market Hall. 1959.
Dob utca 41.1958.
Andrássy út (People’s Road), on left is the corner of Izabella utca, No.73-75, MÁV Board of Directors building. Undated c. 1958.
Geduly utca 1-3., School furniture factory. Undated. c. 1958.
Free press road with Gellért Hill in background. Undated. c. 1958.
Pest Lower quay near the Reformed Church on Bratislava Road, police action on prohibited bathing. Undated. c. 1958.
Somogyi Béla utca 9-15. (Rökk Szilárd utca 11.) 1959.
Untitled. 1958.
Untitled. 1959.
Árpád út 197. Júlia Bányai children’s home. 1959.

This was Volume Number One.

This is Volume Number Two.

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