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JANOS FERENCSIK

János Ferencsik studied conducting with Fleischer and composition with Lajtha at the Hungarian National Conservatory; having joined the Budapest Opera in 1927 as a répétiteur, he started to conduct there in 1930. His musical career was subsequently to be concentrated primarily within his home country of Hungary, although he also worked as a musical assistant at the Bayreuth Festival in 1930 and 1931, and as a conductor at the Vienna State Opera between 1948 and 1950. Ferencsik was most well-known as the chief conductor of the Hungarian State Symphony Orchestra, a position which he took up in 1952 and held until his death in 1984; he toured extensively with this orchestra, visiting America in 1972 and Japan and Australia in 1974. In addition he served as chief conductor of the Hungarian State Opera from 1957 to 1974, and of the Danish State Radio Symphony Orchestra from 1966 to 1968.

One of Hungary’s most distinguished musicians, Ferencsik appeared regularly at the Salzburg and Vienna Festivals and as a guest conductor in the USSR and North and South America, leading such orchestras as the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. He made his British debut with the London Philharmonic Orchestra in 1957, and appeared at the 1963 Edinburgh Festival with great success at the head of the Hungarian State Opera and Ballet in a triple bill of Béla Bartók’s stage works. He taught conducting at the Franz Liszt Academy in Budapest and was twice awarded Hungary’s highest musical award, the Kossuth Prize, in 1951 and 1961.

Ferencsik was most acclaimed for his highly idiomatic performances of the music of Hungary, notably in works by composers such as Bartók and Kodály. Exceptional as these were, they tended to cause critics to overlook his merits as an interpreter of the more general nineteenth- and twentieth-century orchestral repertoire. Fortunately his recordings allow his musical strengths to be heard and appreciated. Of particular interest is the complete cycle of the Beethoven symphonies which he recorded with the Hungarian State Symphony Orchestra, stylistically assured and highly musical. Other notable recordings include a sturdy account of Brahms’s Piano Concerto No. 2 with Julius Katchen as the soloist for Decca; a concert performance of Schoenberg’s Gurrelieder, with Dame Janet Baker as an enthralling Wood Dove, recorded by Danish State Radio and commercially issued by EMI; and a complete recording of Wagner’s Parsifal with the forces of the Hungarian State Opera.

In Ferencsik’s extensive recordings of Hungarian repertoire, notable are his account of Liszt’s Requiem with the Hungarian Army Male Chorus; a complete recording of Kodály’s Háry János with the Hungarian State Opera and the Suite from the same work with the Budapest Philharmonic Orchestra; Kodály’s Concerto for Orchestra with the Hungarian State Opera Orchestra; Bartók’s Viola Concerto with Géza Németh and the Budapest Philharmonic Orchestra and his opera Duke Bluebeard’s Castle with Klara Palankay and Mihály Székely and the Budapest Philharmonic Orchestra. Ferencsik also conducted the London Philharmonic Orchestra in an interesting and representative coupling of Kodály’s Psalmus Hungaricus and Bartók’s Dance Suite for the American company Everest, recorded in the early days of stereophonic sound.

© Naxos Rights International Ltd. — David Patmore (A–Z of Conductors, Naxos 8.558087–90).


Albums featuring this artist are available for download from ClassicsOnline.com
Role: Conductor 
Album Title
Catalogue No  Work Category 
BEETHOVEN, L. van: Symphonies Nos. 2 and 6, "Pastorale" (Hungarian National Philharmonic, Ferencsik) Capriole
CA18364
Orchestral
BEETHOVEN, L. van: Symphonies Nos. 3, "Eroica" and 8 (Hungarian National Philharmonic, Ferencsik) Capriole
CA18363
Orchestral
BEETHOVEN, L. van: Symphonies Nos. 4 and 5 (Hungarian National Philharmonic, Ferencsik) Capriole
CA18362
Orchestral
BEETHOVEN, L. van: Symphony No. 9, "Choral" (Andor, Szirmay, Korondy, Solyom-Nagy, Hungarian National Philharmonic, Ferencsik) Capriole
CA18366
Orchestral
Choral Music - BORTNIANSKY, D. / SCHUBERT, F. / BRUCKNER, A. / BRUCH, M. / MENDELSSOHN, Felix / SILCHER, F. / RHEINBERGER, J.G. Capriccio
C67136-38
Opera
Choral Music (Sacred) - SCHUBERT, F. / BRAHMS, J. / MENDELSSOHN, Felix / VERDI, G. / MONTEVERDI, C. / BRUCKNER, A. / MOZART, W.A. / GRIEG, E. Capriccio
C49341
Choral - Sacred
CLASSIC MASTERWORKS - Joseph Haydn Capriccio
C49026
Orchestral
FAMOUS AUSTRIAN COMPOSERS - STRAUSS / MOZART, W.A. / SCHUBERT, F. / BEETHOVEN, L. van / HAYDN, F.J. / HAYDN, M. / ALBRECHTSBERGER, J.G. Capriccio
C49370
Orchestral, Concertos
HAYDN, F.J.: Symphonies / Concertos / String Quartets / The Creation (Masterpieces) Capriccio
C49520
Choral - Sacred
HAYDN, J.: Symphonies Nos. 82, "The Bear" and 94, "Surprise" (Hungarian State Orchestra, Ferencsik) Capriole
CA14007
Orchestral
HOLMBOE: Cello Concerto / Benedic Domino / Quintet BIS
BIS-CD-78
Concertos
LISZT, F.: Dante Symphony / A la Chapelle Sixtine / Hungarian Rhapsodies / Piano Concertos / Totentanz / Wanderer Fantasy Capriccio
C49450
Orchestral
LISZT, F.: Orchestral Pieces - Hungarian Rhapsodies / Dante Symphony / Symphonic Poems (Korodi, Haenchen, Ferencsik, Nemeth) Capriccio
C7090
Orchestral
MESSEN (Masses) - MOZART, W.A. / HAYDN, G.F. / SCHUBERT, F. / WEBER, C.-M. von / BEETHOVEN, L.V. / CHERUBINI, L. / GOUNOD, C.-F. Capriccio
C7161
Choral - Sacred





 
 
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