Here’s a welcome reissue from Marco Polo, now on the less expensive Naxos line. László Lajtha (1892-1963) was the major 20th century Hungarian symphonist. He had the good fortune to be picked up by an important publisher early on (Leduc), but suffered from being largely out of favor with the Communist regime for most of his career. He wrote major works in all the traditional forms, in a style recognizably personal and immediately appealing, but without pandering. Aesthetically (as Leduc recognized) his voice was audibly French in orientation, and if I had to categorize him I might say that he was a sort of Hungarian Martinu. The melos of Hungarian folk music underlies much of his thematic substance, but the translucentRead more textures and colorful orchestration have an impressionistic tinge.
All of this is quite evident in the First Symphony, a pithy work in three movements that consistently captivates the ear. In memoriam is a big, powerful funeral march that takes a few minutes to get going, but once it does, proceeds memorably. Its central climaxes are aptly harrowing. The early Suite for Orchestra has four movements, including a parodistic Marche burlesque and an equally ironic Can-Can conclusion. Its Valse lente third movement is lovely, as are these performances. The Pécs Symphony Orchestral plays well for conductor Nicolás Parquet, and they are also naturally recorded in a warm, open acoustic. If you missed this series the first time around, grab these reissues as they come.
In memoriam, Op. 35by László Lajtha Conductor:
Pecs Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century Written: 1941; Hungary
Symphony no 1, Op. 24by László Lajtha Conductor:
Pecs Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century Written: 1936; Hungary
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Orchestral Series Starts StrongSeptember 28, 2016By Ralph Graves (Hood, VA)See All My Reviews"Laszlo Lajtha, along with colleagues Bela Bartok and Zoltan Kodaly collected folk music in his native Hungary. Their aim was to not only preserve their cultural heritage but incorporate it into their own music. Lajtha may be the least famous of the three, but his music can be just as rewarding to listen to. Lajtha retained a neo-classic style throughout his career. His 1933 Suite for Orchestra is an intriguing mixture of lush harmonies, restless syncopations and sometimes spiky melodies. The suite is comprised of music from his ballet Lysistrata. Dynamic and dramatic contrasts abound in the score. It's a great opener -- I'm surprised the Suite isn't regularly programmed by orchestras. The first of Lajtha's nine symphonies was completed in 1936. To my ears, it has more in common with Martinu's music than it does with Bartók's or Kodály's. There is similar syncopation that gives the themes a dancing quality, and Lajtha's use of the harp to punctuate parallels Martinu's use of the piano for the same purpose. The influence of folk music is close to the surface of this work. The harmonies have a modal sound to them, and the melodic turns -- especially in some of the fast passages -- sound very close to Hungarian folk dances. Lajtha studied with Vincent d'Indy, and to my ears, his influence can be heard in Lajtha's orchestrations. Lajtha ran afoul of Hungary's communist regime in 1956, and his music ceased to be performed. Recordings such as this should help rectify this wrong. In his native land, Lajtha is considered one Hungary's most important composers. With this release, it's easy to hear why."Report Abuse