One of the most grown-up review sites around

Search MusicWeb Here

     
  
 

 

International mailing


  Founder: Len Mullenger             Senior Editor: John Quinn               Contact Seen and Heard here  

Some items
to consider

in the first division


extraordinary by any standards


An excellent disc


a new benchmark

summation of a lifetime’s experience.


Piano Concertos 1 and 2
Surprise Best Seller and now
RECORDING OF THE MONTH


A Garland for John McCabe


ABRAHAMSEN Quartets


DIETHELM Symphonies


The best Rite of Spring in Years


BACH Magnificat


Brian Symphs 8, 21, 26


Just enjoy it!


.
La Mer Ticciati

Eriks EŠENVALDS

Detlev GLANERT

Jaw-dropping

 

 

 

REVIEW Plain text for smartphones & printers

Support us financially by purchasing this from

László LAJTHA (1892 - 1963)
Suite pour orchestra, Op.19 [21:38]
In Memoriam, Op.35 [20:32]
Symphony No. 1, Op.24 [19:53]
Pécs Symphony Orchestra/Nicolás Pasquet
rec. 1996, Ferenc Liszt Concert Hall, Pécs, Hungary, May
NAXOS 8.573643 [60.02]

‘How did you enjoy that music?’

‘It was fine.’

‘Are you suggesting it wasn’t that good? You don’t seem too enthusiastic?’

‘No, it was fine, really.’

There is such a phenomenon as well-made music, which has much of interest, and yet, somehow, does not linger in the memory for very long. There is nothing to dislike, nothing less than well-crafted, nothing to give offence. This CD, at least for me, falls rather neatly into that category.

Lajtha was a composer very popular in Hungary. He was a prolific, and on this evidence, very competent composer. As well as the obligatory nine symphonies, he composed in a range of genres, including ten quartets, ballets and film music. One can hear at once why he was so successful at the latter—his late-romantic style, orchestral mastery and sense of colour mean that he can quickly capture a variety of moods, tunefully and giving offence to none.

The First Symphony, a cheerful piece, has much melodic interest, including the use of folk-tunes. Lajtha was, after all, a keen collector of Hungarian folk music and a member of the International Folk Music Council. But I did not find the piece especially memorable or distinctive, even after half a dozen hearings. There is nothing to dislike, but nowhere did I find the composer’s distinctive voice.

The most substantial work on the CD is In Memoriam, written during the Second World War in tribute to its victims. The composer knew what he was writing about, having served for four years as a frontline artillery officer in the First World War. It was dedicated to the BBC and premiered in London by Sir Adrian Boult. The piece has some wide dynamic contrasts and some moments of silence, and is not without interest. Lajtha’s music had some international appeal, with much performed abroad, but it has not established itself in the repertory.

This recording first appeared on the sister label of Naxos, Marco Polo, in the 1990s. Its reissue in a cheaper format may bring it to a wider audience. It fills a significant gap in our awareness of twentieth-century Hungarian music in very good and committed performances by Nicolás Pasquet and the Pécs Symphony Orchestra, now known as the Pannon Philharmonic Orchestra.
 
Michael Wilkinson

Previous review: Bob Stevenson

 

 




Advertising on
Musicweb



Donate and keep us afloat

 

New Releases

Naxos Classical


Nimbus Podcast


Obtain 10% discount


Special offer 50% off

Musicweb sells the following labels
Acte Préalable
(THE Polish label)
Altus 10% off
Atoll 10% off
CRD 10% off
Hallé 10% off
Lyrita 10% off
Nimbus 10% off
Nimbus Alliance
Prima voce 10% off
Red Priest 10% off
Retrospective 10% off
Saydisc 10% off
Sterling 10% off


Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing
sample

Sample: See what you will get

Editorial Board
MusicWeb International
Founding Editor
   
Rob Barnett
Senior Editor
John Quinn
Seen & Heard
Editor Emeritus
   Bill Kenny
Editor in Chief
   Vacant
MusicWeb Webmaster
   David Barker
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger