Lajtha's teacher in Paris before 1914 was Vincent d’lndy. While Lajtha's music does not have much to do with d'Indy it certainly has a French impress.
That Gallic side is pretty clear from the Milhaud/Satie world of the Très vif of the Suite No. 3. It is uproariously cut with the absurdist world Kodály's Háry János. The finale is marked Gai but the other three movements adopt the standard linguistic conventions to signal mood. After a cool Andante comes a gawkily caricatured Presto and a super-romantic Allegretto which owes more than a little to Kodály's Peacock Variations. The Gai movement is jokily high-spirited, looking back to the way the suite began but also indulging a silvery gleam.Read more Lajtha's combination of zany good humour and emotional lilt should ensure that his music makes firm friends including among those many who enjoy Malcolm Arnold. What of the other suites? Suite No. 1 is drawn from the ballet Lysistrata. The second draws on a one-act ballet-comedy, The Park of the Four Gods.
The Hortobágy suite uses music written for a film about the Hortobágy Puszta - a great expanse of Hungarian grasslands. The first of two movements is potently atmospheric and evocative of an open landscape. The second is a gallop across the plains. It would make a nice companion to Waxman's Ride to Dubno, superbly done not so long ago by John Wilson at the Proms and before that by Charles Gerhardt on RCA. The Lajtha is perhaps a bit more nuanced than the Waxman.
The three-movement Seventh Symphony is said to owe its inspiration to the Hungarian Revolution and the Soviet insurgency that followed. For its premiere in 1958 György Lehel conducted the Hungarian Radio Orchestra in the Salle Pleyel in Paris. It's a tough nut and the opening Modéré - Agité and the short finale, Agité make few concessions. One of these is the grand string-led theme at 3:40 which speaks of aspiration and nobility. Tragic gloom, lashing violence and bitter disillusion otherwise hold sway - indeed parts of the first movement strongly recall Rozsa's music for his three film noirs of the late 1940s. The long Lent that follows loosens the grip but the mood remains chill. Once again there are prominent moments for the saxophone - some of them quite sour. It's strange that Lajtha did not write a concerto for the instrument. As far as I know he was never approached for that purpose by Sigurd Rascher who was very active in commissioning such works.
This disc takes its place in a Naxos series which began life on Marco Polo. There are nine symphonies in total: 8 and 9 will be next in line. The good notes are by Em?ke Solymosi Tari. The excellent sound is well up to the very high standards evidenced in earlier Lajtha volumes.
The range of Lajtha - ever the tonal composer - is wide. The Symphony deals with tough issues and speaks accordingly while the other two pieces show Lajtha's more relaxed and brilliant aspect.
Suite no 3, Op. 56by László Lajtha Conductor:
Pecs Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century Written: 1952; Hungary
Hortobágy Suite, Op. 21by László Lajtha Conductor:
Pecs Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century Written: Hungary
Symphony no 7, Op. 63by László Lajtha Conductor:
Pecs Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century Written: 1957; Hungary
Average Customer Review: ( 1 Customer Review )
A Revolutionary SymphonyOctober 12, 2017By Ralph Graves (Hood, VA)See All My Reviews"In some ways the 1957 "Revolution Symphony" is one of Lajtha's most honest works (not that he was one to dissemble). Lajtha wrote it in reaction to the Soviet suppression of Hungary's revolution the year before. It's a dissonant, turbulent work that includes some big, heroic gestures. They reminded me somewhat of Shostakovich's fifth symphony. Unlike that work, though, Lajtha's symphony seems designed to provoke rather than appease. "La Marseilles" is obliquely referenced, and the piece ends with an altered form of the Hungarian National Hymn, a mordant commentary on the New Order. Nicolas Pasquet and the Pecs Symphony Orchestra seem to understand what Lajtha was trying to express. Their performance conveys a sense of urgency, as they breathlessly relate the birth and death of a revolution. And yet they also perform the quieter passages with restraint and sensitivity. The emotional intensity of the Revolution Symphony is lightened by the other works on the release. Lajtha's Suite No. 3 reminded me a little of Vaughan William's "The Wasps" Overture, mixed with a dash of Prokofiev's "Love of Three Oranges." Lajtha composed the work for the 100th anniversary of the Hungarian Philharmonic, and each section gets a turn in the spotlight. It's a beautifully orchestrated, light-hearted work that should really be performed more often. Lajtha extracted an orchestral suite from his score to "Life on the Hortobagy." This 1937 film depicts the destruction of the Hortobagy Plainsmen's traditional life by the arrival of mechanization. The suite effectively depicts that conflict by mixing traditional Hungarian folk elements with daring modern dissonances."Report Abuse