Magazine article Gramophone

Weiner: Ballad, Op 28

Magazine article Gramophone

Weiner: Ballad, Op 28

Article excerpt

Weiner Ballad, Op 28 (a). Csongor and Tunde, Op 10 (b) (a)Mate Szucs va (b) Dubilate Girls Choir; Budapest Symphony Orchestra / Valeria Csanyi Naxos (B) 8 573491 (66' * DDD)

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During the first half of the 20th century Leo Weiner was a bigwig in Hungarian musical life, especially as an educator. His students included Georg Solti, Fritz Reiner, Janos Starker and Gyorgy Sebok, and while his compositions have been exported in dribs and drabs (his chamber music particularly), his orchestral works are hardly known.

The incidental music to Csongor and Tunde, based on a dramatic poem by the 19th-century writer Mihaly Vorosmarty, started out as a 22-movement piece but was compressed to a nine-movement ballet; when the ballet was revived after the Second World War (by which time the Jewish Weiner was back in favour) it grew again, this time to 14 movements, which is what we have hear. There's a shorter sequence on Hungaroton played by the North Hungarian Symphony Orchestra under Laszlo Kovacs but, good though that is, I think this version by the Budapest Symphony Orchestra is finer, not only because there's so much more music on offer, but because conductor Valeria Csanyi shapes the score as if she really loves it, right from the opening movement, 'Prince Csongor and Mirigy the Witch', and in the third, 'Fairy's Dance and Mirigy', with its highly imaginative woodwind-writing. …

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