One of the most grown-up review sites around

52,670 reviews
and more.. and still writing ...

Search MusicWeb Here



International mailing

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

Some items
to consider

£11 post-free anywhere

Special Offer
Complete Chopin
17 discs
Pre-order for £100


100th birthday of Mieczyslaw Weinberg on December 8, 2019.
Renate Eggbrecht has recorded all 3 violin Sonatas

Works for Voice by György Kurtág


Best Seller

Cyril Scott piano music

Hahn Complete Songs

Piano Sonatas 6,7,8 Osborne

Symphony for solo piano

Support us financially by purchasing this from

László LAJTHA (1892-1963)
Symphony No. 4 ‘Spring’, Op. 52 (1951) [26.10]
Suite No.2, Op. 38 (1943) [25.28]
Symphony No. 3, Op. 45 (1948) [22.37]
Nicolás Pasquet (conductor)
Pécs Symphony Orchestra
rec. Ferenc Liszt Concert Hall, Pécs, Hungary, September 1995.
NAXOS 8.573645 [74.15]

This is the second recording in this reissued series I have reviewed – the other was the First Symphony, coupled with the Opus 19 Suite pour orchestra, and the more impressive In Memoriam (review). There was much to enjoy on that CD, first issued, like this one, on the sister Marco Polo label, some 20 years ago.

I find myself with similar reservations this time around. All the music demonstrates extraordinary facility, a keen ear for orchestration, superb technical skill, but there is something almost indefinable missing. One way to express it would be in terms of an absence of distinctive personality, the sense we get with a truly great composer of something being said that is unique. Perhaps I am trying to reflect the difference between cleverness or great talent and true genius, but there are lesser composers whose music could not be by anyone else.

Perhaps something of a clue to the elusive quality can be found in the Third Symphony, a two movement work composed in London. Its origin was a film score for Murder in the Cathedral, and, to be blunt, the music sounds like something for film, even down to the tubular bells. Cast in three movements, it evokes different moods, but in a generalised way. Adrian Boult gave the premičre, in London. One can understand very well the composer’s facility in writing music for film.

The Second Suite comes from a ballet, Le bosquet des quatre Dieux. This suite appears to be all that remains of the original, which was never performed. Some have heard these pieces, which are about Zeus, Hermes and their seduction of earthly maidens as being in some way satirical commentary on Hitler, but other than the date of its composition, there seems no obvious reason to read that intention into the music. It is best heard on its own terms, as a tuneful and very well-made piece.

The Fourth Symphony, which opens the CD, is an attractive and lively work, inventive and unclouded, in three movements. It is odd that the Communist government attacked its apparent subjectivism – perhaps general cheeriness seemed at odds with proletarian earnestness.

In short, this is a CD which will give much pleasure. Performances are committed and idiomatic, and the CD is valuable also in reminding us of the riches of twentieth century Hungarian music. I have just a niggle about the lack of distinctive personality, but that should not prevent others from sampling and enjoying this.

Michael Wilkinson
Previous reviews: Jim Westhead ~ Bob Stevenson



We are currently offering in excess of 52,619 reviews

Advertising on

Donate and keep us afloat


New Releases

Naxos Classical

Nimbus Podcast

Obtain 10% discount

Special offer 50% off
15CDs £83 incl. postage

Musicweb sells the following labels

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: See what you will get

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