March 17, 2013
With the modest success of their first release of Zador material
Naxos has introduced a second volume of Zador using the same orchestra and conductor with nothing short of spectacular results.
Did you know that when Rozsa signed his contract with MGM Eugene Zador (1894-1977) as his orchestrator was part of the deal? Zador worked for many years for Rozsa (1941-1963) and orchestrated Oscar and Oscar nominated films putting him in an elite class with names like Friedhofer. Unlike Friedhofer Zador did very little composing for films but concentrated on his own classical material writing music in a ‘Hungarian’ style as well as neo-classical. His writing is very tonal making it easy to listen to but his understanding of counterpoint gives the music so much more if you want to listen on a deeper level.
Elegie and Dance (1954) begins with a solo flute but quickly changes to a yearning mood offering chords that will remind you of noir film music from Rozsa. The flute continues with its fluttering but now seems to be in conflict with the mood of the piece. The track ends with the clarinet replacing the flute and a statement from the brass. The dance portion begins with majestic staccato chords from the brass which are complemented nicely by the strings creating nice counterpoint. The dance relates a sense of urgency and could be considered an active somewhat urgent composition. I’m including the elegie as an audio track to give you a sampling of what Zador has to offer. elegie zador
Oboe Concerto (1975), a favorite instrument of mine is nicely represented on this relatively short concerto in the ABA form with the third movement continuing the development of the first allegro. Sandwiched in between is a mournful sounding andante. The soloist Laszlo Hadady seemed right at home with this work and the recording is crystal clear with no hint of any distortion.
Divertimento for Strings (1954) was written for the world famous La Jolla music festival (near San Diego) this is another work that has a definite sound of Rozsa. The beginning of the work could have easily been written for a jovial frolicking part of “Ivanhoe,” while other parts have that noir feel that Rozsa brought to the screen in several different movies. Like the oboe concerto the andante is sandwiched with two energetic movements.
Studies for Orchestra (1969) were considered by Zador to be his finest work and could have easily been called contrasts for orchestra as the eight movements consist of many styles of orchestration that would have made Rimsky-Korsakov proud. Each idea is a different tempo and style including Scherzo, Capriccioso, Fantasy, Jazz, and Rhapsody. As an example the seventh movement begins ppp rises to fff and then becomes a mirror as the notes are played backwards. My favorite of the studies was the symphonic jazz piece which made excellent use of the trombone, an instrument I played for many years. It had a sound not unlike Shostakovich or Prokofiev yet his own style comes through crystal clear. The liner notes written by Frank DeWald include an explanation by Zador of the work itself.
If you’re interested in the works of Rozsa, both classical and film, this will be a welcome addition to your library. The Budapest Symphony is right at home with this material as the notes flow seamlessly.
Budapest Symphony Orchestra conducted by Mariusz Smolij
Oboe soloist is Laszlo Hadady
Elegie and Dance
1… Elegie (7:27)
2… Dance (5:13)
3… Allegro (3:44)
4… Andante (4:48)
5… Allegro (3:58)
Divertimento for Strings
6… Allegro moderato (6:37)
7… Andantino (5:06)
8… Moderato energico (5:05)
Studies for Orchestra
9… Prelude (2:36)
10.Slow Phantasy (2:54)
Total Time 68:21