Seconda Sinfonia in do minore op. 12
(Second Symphony in C minor, 1908-10)
(b. Turin, 25 July 1883 – d. Rome, 5 March 1947)
In early summer 1908, Casella started composing his Second Symphony. He wrote about it in his ’Segreti della Giara’ that ”I worked with great diligence on it. This score has remained unpublished. It is a work lasting about three-quarters of an hour, behind which arise imperiously the shadows of Mahler and Strauss and—less visibly—those of Rimsky-Korsakov and Balakirev. Curiously, the surrounding environment influenced me little, although I had lived in France for eleven years and had completed my training there. This was undoubtedly the result of my Italian nature, which had already become basically anti-impressionist and instinctively sought other paths than those followed by the better French music of the day. […]
Overture to Ferenc Erkel’s Hunyadi László
Opera in 4 Acts.
(b. Gyula, 7 November, 1810 — d. Budapest, 15 June 1893)
The Magyar Színház, ‘Hungarian Theatre’, opened in Pest in 1837, subsequently rechristened as the Nemzeti Színház, ‘National Theatre’ in 1840, inaugurated by a performance of Ferenc Erkel’s first opera. An institution originally conceived to cultivate theatrical works in the Hungarian language, the theatre nevertheless became the beating heart of Hungarian opera until the mid-1880s, with the opening of the Királyi Operaház, the Royal Opera House (today, the Magyar Állami Operaház, the Hungarian State Opera). Erkel quickly became vital to professional opera performance in Pest in his capacity as Principal Conductor of the National Theatre from 1838, remaining integral to Hungarian musical traditions thenceforth until his death some five decades later. During his long and productive career, […]
The Luthier of Cremona
(b. Pest, 15. September 1858 – d. Budapest, 12. March 1937)
The Luthier of Cremona is a two-act opera composed by Jenő Hubay in 1892. The libretto is based on a French drama by Francois Coppée and Henri Beauclair of 1876.
The opera is set in seventeenth-century Cremona around the luthier’s workshop of Taddeo Ferarri. His two apprentices, Filippo and Sandro, are both in love with Giannina, Ferrari’s daughter. Giannina is in love with Sandro, but not the hunchback, Filippo.
The opera opens in Ferrari’s workshop. Sandro watches the chorus praising the art of the luthier and playing instruments very badly. Ferrari enters announcing that the Guild of Luthiers is offering the prize of a golden chain for the maker of the best violin. As Ferrari sings of the honour of the violin, we hear Giannina chirping like a bird in the background. Ferrari tells Sandro that he will give his house and the hand of his daughter in marriage to the man who wins the golden chain. A love scene between Sandro and Giannina follows.
Giannina, left alone with her father is troubled when Ferrari tells her that he does not want her to marry Sandro. Whilst he goes down to the cellar to fetch wine, Giannina wallows in her grief. Sandro enters with a case containing the violin he has made, and they sing a love duet. …
László Lajtha – In Memoriam op. 35
Pièce symphonique pour orchestre (1941)
(b. Budapest, 30 June 1892 – d. Budapest, 16 February 1963)
László Lajtha was the greatest Hungarian symphonist and generally one of the most significant composers of orchestral and chamber music of his time. He entered the Budapest Music Academy in 1908 to study composition with Viktor Herzfeld (1856-1919) and Zoltán Kodály (1882-1967). In 1909, he went to Leipzig to study the music of Johann Sebastian Bach., and in 1910-11 he was a student of Liszt’s pupil Bernhard Stavenhagen (1862-1914) in Geneva. He was inspired by Béla Bartók and engaged himself in field research of the native traditional music of Transylvania. And he was encouraged by Bartók to go to the Paris Schola Cantorum where Vincent d’Indy (1851-1931) became his teacher in these formative years 1911-13. In 1913, his first composition «Des écrits d’un musicien» (nine fantasies for piano) appeared in print.
During First World War he voluntarily served as an artillery officer and was seriousl wounded twice. In the early 1920s the friendship with Bartók became intense. Lajtha consciously merged the achievements of his Parisian education with Hungaran idiom and Eastern European influences. In 1923 he wrote the first of his ten string quartets, and with his Third Quartet he won the Coolidge Prize in 1929; it was printed by Universal Edition in 1931. In 1932 the publishing house Leduc in Paris (later his regular publisher) started a collaboration with Lajtha. He was director of the open university of Hungarian Radio from 1935 to 1938. In 1936, he worte the first of his nine symphonies.