Author Topic: László Lajtha (1892-1963), the greatest Hungarian symphonist  (Read 14109 times)

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kyjo

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Re: László Lajtha (1892-1963), the greatest Hungarian symphonist
« Reply #20 on: August 04, 2013, 07:17:29 PM »
I listened to the Symphonies 7, 8 and 9 at the prompting of this thread.

I found them enthralling, rhythmically exciting, though I understand what people mean when they say the symphonies aren't that memorable melodically. However, the rhythms and textures, the use of percussion and low woodwind particularly, are compensation.

What does it sound like: I heard Ravel, Bartok, Kodaly, Janacek, Shostakovitch and even Vaughan Williams (4th Symphony) in there, but it doesn't sound like anyone else really. The three symphonies are reactions to the crushing of the 1956 Hungarian revolt against communism. The 7th is angry and outraged, and ends with a movement that alternates bustling stressful music with a noble paean/elegy for the dead. The 8th and 9th are more reflective, but contain almost as much angry music.

Well worth listening to, I'm going to try the String Quartets next.

Your impressions echo mine quite closely! I especially agree with you about the rhythms, textures and orchestration compensating for the relative lack of memorable melodic material and that Lajtha doesn't really sound like anyone else. I'm thrilled that I've been able to prompt so many members to explore or re-evaluate Lajtha's music :) Onwards to page two ;D
« Last Edit: August 04, 2013, 07:19:28 PM by kyjo »

Offline Sergeant Rock

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Re: László Lajtha (1892-1963), the greatest Hungarian symphonist
« Reply #21 on: August 05, 2013, 01:41:02 AM »
Onwards to page two ;D

Congratulations, you made it!  ;)

The Lajtha discs I ordered should arrive tomorrow.


Sarge

the phone rings and somebody says,
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Mahler, you ought to go see it.
he was as f*cked-up as you are."
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Offline Roberto

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Re: László Lajtha (1892-1963), the greatest Hungarian symphonist
« Reply #22 on: August 05, 2013, 03:02:54 AM »
According to forvo.com, it is pronounced something like "loy-teh". Interesting! And please do investigate Lajtha's music!
That pronunciation on forvo.com is correct. I've heard Lajtha's music years ago in concert hall (it was the 4th symphony I think) and I liked it. The performers said they wanted to perform more works from him but the descendants wanted so much royalty they couldn't pay.

Sean

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Re: László Lajtha (1892-1963), the greatest Hungarian symphonist
« Reply #23 on: August 05, 2013, 07:22:09 AM »
I'm thrilled that I've been able to prompt so many members to explore or re-evaluate Lajtha's music :) Onwards to page two ;D

I wouldn't get too excited.

However I'm always impressed at the knowledge at GMG- there are crazies here familiar with music by almost any character you start a thread on. Certainly over a thousand composers you can talk about, I'd say...

kyjo

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Re: László Lajtha (1892-1963), the greatest Hungarian symphonist
« Reply #24 on: August 05, 2013, 07:36:53 AM »
That pronunciation on forvo.com is correct. I've heard Lajtha's music years ago in concert hall (it was the 4th symphony I think) and I liked it. The performers said they wanted to perform more works from him but the descendants wanted so much royalty they couldn't pay.

I would love to hear Lajtha's music played in the concert hall! But I seriously doubt that will happen in my lifetime.....

kyjo

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Re: László Lajtha (1892-1963), the greatest Hungarian symphonist
« Reply #25 on: August 05, 2013, 07:39:39 AM »
I wouldn't get too excited.

Why not? It gives me great satisfaction to be able to convince people to explore or re-evaluate a composer's music which I admire.

Offline Mirror Image

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Re: László Lajtha (1892-1963), the greatest Hungarian symphonist
« Reply #26 on: August 05, 2013, 07:45:34 AM »
Why not? It gives me great satisfaction to be able to convince people to explore or re-evaluate a composer's music which I admire.

But, ultimately, the person has to want to explore or re-evaluate the composer's music. No amount of convincing would have ever made me give Schnittke's music another try, but there was always this lingering doubt in my mind that I'm missing something. The same applied to Holmboe for me. You can go back through my posts and you will find someone who wasn't very thrilled with Holmboe's music, but I continued to be persistent about his music because I knew there was something great about it. So people have to decide for themselves and make up their own minds in the end.
“Works of art create rules; rules do not create works of art.” - Claude Debussy

kyjo

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Re: László Lajtha (1892-1963), the greatest Hungarian symphonist
« Reply #27 on: August 05, 2013, 07:55:13 AM »
But, ultimately, the person has to want to explore or re-evaluate the composer's music. No amount of convincing would have ever made me give Schnittke's music another try, but there was always this lingering doubt in my mind that I'm missing something. The same applied to Holmboe for me. You can go back through my posts and you will find someone who wasn't very thrilled with Holmboe's music, but I continued to be persistent about his music because I knew there was something great about it. So people have to decide for themselves and make up their own minds in the end.

I can't argue with that! I apologize if I came across as being somewhat selfish when making my point :-[

Offline Mirror Image

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Re: László Lajtha (1892-1963), the greatest Hungarian symphonist
« Reply #28 on: August 05, 2013, 07:58:02 AM »
I can't argue with that! I apologize if I came across as being somewhat selfish when making my point :-[

Nonsense! You didn't come across that way at all. I was more or less just making an observation. :)
“Works of art create rules; rules do not create works of art.” - Claude Debussy

kyjo

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Re: László Lajtha (1892-1963), the greatest Hungarian symphonist
« Reply #29 on: August 05, 2013, 08:00:04 AM »
Nonsense! You didn't come across that way at all. I was more or less just making an observation. :)

 :)

Offline Brian

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Re: László Lajtha (1892-1963), the greatest Hungarian symphonist
« Reply #30 on: February 22, 2016, 12:29:57 PM »
BUMP

I don't know how much people have listened to Lajtha in the past 2.5 years - I know Harry and Daverz love a lot of music by this composer, and Sarge ordered a whole ton of CDs the first time this thread was active.

I'm listening to some Lajtha for the first time, today. To counterbalance the symphony-heavy discussion so far, I'm starting with chamber music.



The Piano Trio, intriguingly, sounds a lot like Martinu, but with extended solo cadenzas for each player. It's a lively piece, and formally the way that it occasionally reduces down to duos and solos is intriguing, but I enjoy the slow movement maybe most of all.

The Sonatina is a tiny little piece and again it combines Martinu's rhythmic drive with a moody atmosphere and a slightly guarded emotional attitude. Neither of these is likely to be super-favorites, but I like them fine.



The first string trio is a light serenade with two marches and a "Fox-trott," but No. 3, "Transylvanian Nights," reminds me of stuff like Pavel Haas. This is a pretty cool work. Its four movements represent (or "represent" in quotes) a night in each season.



Suite No. 1 finally introduces me to Lajtha's Hungarian side. There's a lot of French puckishness and lightness of orchestration, too, but I also hear lots of Kodaly and even the very young Ligeti (e.g. 'Concert romanesc'). That said...I don't actually like this piece that much. It's goofy and insubstantial, but 22 minutes is a long time for a goofy but insubstantial piece to last, especially when only a few moments are really memorable.

Symphony No. 1 is the best-orchestrated work yet (saxophone!), and I recognize the voice/style as something I really should like, but it just doesn't connect with me. You know whose music this is making me want to hear? Dag Wiren. Now there's a guy whose enigmatic neoclassical symphonies are really awesome. I think I'll listen to some Wiren after this and return to Lajtha later...

EDIT: The second and third movements of the Symphony have great episodes that feel like they were taken from a really dramatic, powerful symphony. But the context required to make them really dramatic and powerful is missing because this piece is shorter and more episodic. It's like if you took 3 bits you loved from a Mahler symphony and smooshed them together into a piece 20% as long as the original. More and more, these "obscure symphonies" are striking me as almost all being attractive, but poorly organized.
« Last Edit: February 22, 2016, 12:44:42 PM by Brian »

Turner

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Re: László Lajtha (1892-1963), the greatest Hungarian symphonist
« Reply #31 on: February 22, 2016, 12:46:20 PM »
Ferencsik recorded symphonies 4+9 for Hungaroton, it´s an exciting disc and a bit sharper than some releases of the Marco Polo series.

Offline vandermolen

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Re: László Lajtha (1892-1963), the greatest Hungarian symphonist
« Reply #32 on: February 22, 2016, 01:11:29 PM »
Have several of the symphonies on Marco Polo. My favourite of the ones I know is Symphony 2.
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

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Re: László Lajtha (1892-1963), the greatest Hungarian symphonist
« Reply #33 on: February 22, 2016, 01:25:50 PM »
Thanks for the report, Brian. Lajtha was a composer that had flown under my radar a few years ago, but I listened to two or three of his symphonies (forget which ones) and didn't think much of any of them. He seemed to be a composer of many influences but he just didn't have a unique sound-world of his own unlike so many of his other compatriots. Now, Wiren, on the other hand, is very much an enjoyable, distinctive composer that I need to revisit. Thanks for giving my memory banks a jolt! :)
“Works of art create rules; rules do not create works of art.” - Claude Debussy

pjme

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Re: László Lajtha (1892-1963), the greatest Hungarian symphonist
« Reply #34 on: February 23, 2016, 06:55:47 AM »
Ferencsik recorded symphonies 4+9 for Hungaroton, it´s an exciting disc and a bit sharper than some releases of the Marco Polo series.



I find both symphonies quite remarkable. Nr 4 is light,tinged with melancholy, and almost impressionistic. Nr 9 is totally different, much darker . impressive use of percussion and a Gregorian theme.

Ferencsik has also the better orchestra.

P.

Offline k a rl h e nn i ng

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Re: László Lajtha (1892-1963), the greatest Hungarian symphonist
« Reply #35 on: February 23, 2016, 06:57:41 AM »


I find both symphonies quite remarkable. Nr 4 is light,tinged with melancholy, and almost impressionistic. Nr 9 is totally different, much darker . impressive use of percussion and a Gregorian theme.

Ferencsik has also the better orchestra.

P.

I thank you, but my wallet does not  8)
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Offline Sergeant Rock

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Re: László Lajtha (1892-1963), the greatest Hungarian symphonist
« Reply #36 on: February 23, 2016, 07:29:08 AM »
Sarge ordered a whole ton of CDs the first time this thread was active.

I did:

SYMPHONY #2 OP.27
SYMPHONY #3 OP.45
SYMPHONY #4 OP.52 "SPRING"
SYMPHONY #5 OP.55
SYMPHONY #6 OP.61
SYMPHONY #8 OP.66
SYMPHONY #9 OP.67
LYSISTRATA OVERTURE OP.19
SUITE #2 OP.38
VARIATIONS OP.44

But I didn't make a concerted effort to listen to it all then. I'll have to give it another try.

Have several of the symphonies on Marco Polo. My favourite of the ones I know is Symphony 2.

I'm listening to it now. The first three or so minutes remind of...Havergal Brian! The militaristic brass, the heavy percussion, the odd, disjointed melodies, the seeming lack of structure.

Sarge
the phone rings and somebody says,
"hey, they made a movie about
Mahler, you ought to go see it.
he was as f*cked-up as you are."
                               --Charles Bukowski, "Mahler"

Offline k a rl h e nn i ng

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Re: László Lajtha (1892-1963), the greatest Hungarian symphonist
« Reply #37 on: February 23, 2016, 07:40:23 AM »
Have several of the symphonies on Marco Polo. My favourite of the ones I know is Symphony 2.

I'm listening to it now. The first three or so minutes remind of...Havergal Brian! The militaristic brass, the heavy percussion, the odd, disjointed melodies, the seeming lack of structure.

Sarge

Oh . . . .
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[Matisse] was interested neither in fending off opposition,
nor in competing for the favor of wayward friends.
His only competition was with himself. — Françoise Gilot

Offline k a rl h e nn i ng

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Re: László Lajtha (1892-1963), the greatest Hungarian symphonist
« Reply #38 on: February 23, 2016, 07:41:07 AM »
I thank you, but my wallet does not  8)

Though I said that, I managed to find a cost-effective copy . . . .
Karl Henning, Ph.D.
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[Matisse] was interested neither in fending off opposition,
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His only competition was with himself. — Françoise Gilot

pjme

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Re: László Lajtha (1892-1963), the greatest Hungarian symphonist
« Reply #39 on: February 23, 2016, 01:52:57 PM »
Good !

 :)