Three Hungarian Sketches, Op. 14/Rozsa

January 28, 2011

Originally written in the spring of 1938 under the title Capriccio, Pastorale e Danza, Op. 14 and was revised in 1958, something Rozsa did with many of his works. It premiered in France in 1939 to great acclaim at the International Music Festival in Baden-Baden Germany. This work can hardly be categorized as modern 20th century music, far from it. It is extremely accessible and easy on the ears.

 

The “Capriccio”, the first of the three is a happy frolic which offers a theme repeated and developed by all sections of the orchestra given an opportunity to explore. It has a hint of Hollywood American Indian music that appears, fades away and then returns a couple of times during the 5+ minute movement.

 

Opening with a statement from the oboe “Pastorale” is a quiet and peaceful journey into the world of a pretty tranquil countryside. It evolves into an easy flowing melody from the flutes and the string section. It evolves into a second melody from the woodwinds and is much more festive, a time of celebration. The sketch could easily stand on its own as a separate work and could have been developed further if Rozsa had chosen to do so.

 

Danza, the third and final sketch is a lively Hungarian peasant dance filled with powerful brass fanfares, three themes all wanting attention in this wonderful piece. I could easily picture this as a dance number on stage with colorful costuming. It is played in vibrant fashion. I love the quick abrupt ending by the brass as they play in perfect harmony.

 

Like the Overture to a Concert Symphony the Budapest Symphony on the Naxos CD8.572285 seems to have the feeling of this piece in their blood and the performance certainly is indicative of that. Released this month it is one to add to your collection.

 

Again Gamba and the BBC Philharmonic on Chandos CD10488 seem to fall just short of the mark in their overall performance. It lacks the passion that the Hungarian Orchestra offers. The CD does offer one of his powerful later works Tripartita, Op 33 from 1972.

 

This is yet another piece for you to explore from Rozsa. It is nice to see companies such as Hyperion, Chandos, and Naxos making his material available.

 

Track Listing:

 

Overture to a Symphony Concert, Op. 26a (revised version)

1.                 Overture to a Symphony Concert, Op. 26a (revised version) 00:09:27

Rhapsody, Op. 3

2.                 Rhapsody, Op. 3 00:15:07

Notturno ungherese, Op. 28

3.                 Notturno ungherese, Op. 28 00:10:02

3 Hungarian Sketches, Op. 14a

4.                 No. 1. Capriccio 00:05:20

5.                 No. 2. Pastorale 00:08:25

6.                 No. 3. Danza 00:08:18

 

Total Playing Time: 00:56:39

 

 

 

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