Free Fall Oratorio

 by Tibor Szemző and Péter Forgács
CD 2000, FOB 021, Authors publication

Free Fall Oratorio
Free Fall Oratorio
1. Szeged introduction 4’53”
2. Under the circumstances… (1938) 1’51”
3. In the chamber of press
(1938/XVI.) 3’39”
4. That is regarded to be Jewish
(1939/i) 1’33”
5. Under the application of this current Law
(1939/IV./1-2) 4’21”
6. Black Eye paraphrase interlude 
7. As civil servants
(1939/IV./5) 1’34”
8. Jews shall not be
(1939/IV./10-11-12) 2’23”
9. Salvage
10. MUSZ
11. The Law Maintains
(1942/ind.) 2’24”
12. Szeged, The Lengyel Family
13. An Offense is Committed… (1941/XV./15) 3’21”
14. Prices
15. Nor for transport (1944/1240) 2’17”
16. As of the enforcement of this decree quasi canon 
17. less than ten thousand inhabitants
(1944/1610) 4’30”
18. The distinguishing insignia
(1944/1830) 1’58” 

An Offense is Committed – Prices 5’54”
CD +  Free Fall.mpg video track (PC and  MAC) 

As of the enforcement… – mp3 extract 1’50”


Working in tandem, Tibor Szemző and Péter Forgács have long been presenting us with the documents of a lost world. Their „Private History” is in fact very public: few of the events or pictures fail to afford identification with oneself, one’s own ancestors, family photographs, unwritten memories or stories. What is true about the pictures is also true about the sound: the music now concretely, now remotely, but in every instance, generates the feeling of an „objet trouvé”. Aesthetics is brought about not so much by intention; rather, it comes as a result of the joint efforts of the audience on the receiving end, and the creator providing the conditions of reception. Only this way can we view as a film such intimacy which would appear improper even to a private company of one’s closest friends; and only this way can something become music that would never stand up to being printed.László VidovszkyThis record is not for commercial sale.
Fodderbasis / For-Creation Bt. 2000
Š Tibor Szemző – Péter Forgács BIEM Artisjus

Sung in Hungarian
Cover images from FREE FALL video oratorio
Graphic design: Dezső Kiss – Y21
Fodderbasis Vol. 21.

Recorded at the Fodderbasis and Mirage Sound Studio 1992-96 by László Hortobágyi,
vocal parts: HEAR Studio, 22nd January, 2000 by István Horváth

Performed by The Gordian Knot Company
Ildi Fodor – female voice; László Kéringer – male voice; Éva Posvanecz – violine (4,17,18); Enikő Balogh – viola (4,17,18); Klára Schnierer – cello (4,17,18); Kinga Székely – prepared piano (4,8,11,13,17,18); János Németh – cimbalom (5); Gábor Váradi – viola (5); Gyula Maka – acoustic bass (5); Vilmos Búza – acoustic bass (18); Péter Forgács, István Bálint – narration (CD +); Tibor Szemző – conductor, voice (3,16), flutes, sound devices


When all the Jews of the Nazi occupied Europe vanished, the Hungarian Jewish community was still intact in the early spring of 1944. What happened with the Hungarian Jews, in a country which was a close ally to the third Reich since the beginning of the war. This story has been already told in several ways. One could hear the painful confessions of innocent peoples’ death marches, and see thousand meters of provoking film images of the nazi science and of the bureaucratic mass homicide system.

The Hungarian Holocaust – a private history saga – is recited by Free Fall Oratorio.
How did it happen?
How did they fall, fall down, and / or in?
How one suppress the fearful signs of threatening evidences?
Slowly eroding security unpredictable events, and hopes, until the last …
Do you understand the Hungarian Jewish Law, if ‘angels’ voice recites them in to your ear?

The homemovies of Mr. György Pető is the magic sources of the Free Fall Oratorio.
The images are recorded from the late thirties to the sixties, and the original films preserved by the
Private Photo & Film Archives, Budapest.

Mr. Pető was a talented violin player, a banker – class lottery businessman in the southern Hungarian City Szeged. He survived the Jewish Forced Labor and the Soviet POW camp.
After returning in 1946 he had to learn, many of his family members – including the mother, son and brother – were killed. After the brutal war all his property was confiscated, now by the communist regime in 1949. He escaped with his family to Budapest and established himself as viola player in the Budapest Operetta Theater

The text of Free Fall Oratorio is based on Pet family memories, historical documents and the Hungarian Jewish Laws (1938-1944).

The live concert oratorio follows the film created by the authors.

“Awards of Free Fall” Documentary 1996/97 (75 min.): 

‘BUDAPEST Film Week’ 1997: the ‘Best Short and Experimental film’ prize
Berlin Prix Europe 1997, the ‘Best Non Fiction of the Year’
Marseilles 1997, vue sur le docs, International Documentary Film Festival 
‘Grand Prix’ and CNC ‘Special Prix’ 
Leipzig 1997 ‘FIPRESCI Prize’ 
Hungarian Film critics prize 1997 ‘Best Non Fiction Film’ and ‘Best Music’ award