Symphony No.2 in C minor op.93
Jenő Hubay – Symphony No.2 in C minor op. 93 (1914–15)
(b. Pest, 15 September 1858 – d. Budapest, 12 March 1937)
The Great Decision p.1
In the Camp p.45
Memories – Dream Pictures p.69
Battle and Victory p.93
Supplement: Original finale of the version Sinfonie 1914 (1917)
Jenő Hubay was one of the foremost violinists and educators of his time, the formation of the Hungarian school of violin playing is linked to his name. In 1886 at the request of Franz Liszt he returned home from Brussels (he was successor to Vieuxtemps and Wieniawski as Professor at the Conservatoire), and for 50 years he directed Hungarian violin teaching in Budapest. In the first half of his life he primarily composed violin works (short Romantic character pieces and arrangements in the Hungarian style), initially for his own concerts and then to commissions from publishers. At the end of the century he increasingly turned towards large-scale compositions, along with concertos he began to write operas. He achieved his greatest success in 1894 with the premiere of The Violinmaker of Cremona, which received performances on more than 70 stages in Europe, and went on to New York. Amongst the later operas, Anna Karenina received several performances in Germany and Austria in the 1930s (it was revived in Braunschweig/Brunswick in 2014 and in Bern in 2016).
Hubay made use of the term ‘Symphony’ in connection with five of his works. As early as around 1885 during his Brussels period he begun his first piece, in B-flat major (op.26), which was performed in Budapest in 1888 and in St. Petersburg in 1893. The composer himself was neither satisfied with it nor did he submit it for publication (a revised version was premiered by Josef Krips in Budapest, 1941). Symphony No.2 in C minor (op.93) was premiered in 1915, then in the 1920s he produced two further large-scale works, this time also employing chorus and solo voices: the Dante Symphony (Vita nouva) of 1921 written for the 600th anniversary of the poet’s death, and the Petőfi Symphony in 1923 marking the birth centenary of the Hungarian poet. The fifth work, Ara pacis (to words of Romain Rolland), begun at the time of the First World War and completed immediately before the composer’s death, is a cantata, but was frequently referred to by Hubay under the title Friedenssymphonie. He intended this work as his ‘magnum opus’, a companion piece to the Symphony No.2, a War Symphony, to which the Ara pacis, a Peace Symphony, can be viewed as a sequel.
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