Concerto for String Orchestra (1943)/Rozsa

October 5, 2011


Concerto For String Orchestra was composed in 1943 in the United States having left his country of Hungary. This tragic piece was written about the devastating effects World War II had upon his country. It is a very sad moving experience that you will certainly feel if you have any emotions. The twenty four minute work is divided into three movements. To put the work in a time frame with his soundtracks it was written around the same time as Five Graves to Cairo and before Double Indemnity.


“Moderato ma risoluto ed energico” begins like a Hollywood noir film as this somewhat tonal movement offers a measure of tragedy you can instantly feel. The movement offers a moment of brightness but quickly returns to the original melody one of darkness and despair. There is little hope if any in this movement.


“Lento con gran espressione,” the second movement begins with a slow moving melody. The string section is divided into three with each one offering a unique statement. A solo violin exchanges phrases with the cello. This is material of pure anguish and is as sad as you’ll ever hear.


“Allegro giusto” offers an agitated melody from the violins indicating a struggle. The pace is quick with a lot of feeling and well harmonized with the lower strings. The bass offer a second melody which is taken up by the violin section at a breakneck pace.


This work will reveal more upon repeated listens. It can easily be compared with his early noir work. This reviewer can hear a style that was used later in The Lost Weekend. This work is available as a download from


Track Listing:

1… Moderato, ma risoluto ed energico (9:41)

2… Lento con gran espressione (6:36)

3… Allegro giusto (8:28)

Total Time is 24:45

Isaiah Jackson conducts the Berlin Symphony Orchestra

Koch CD# is 3-7152-2HI


2 Responses to “Concerto for String Orchestra (1943)/Rozsa”

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  2. cg Says:

    Just heard this played on Radio IO’s Classical station — incredible piece of music.

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