LASZLO LAJTHA (1892 - 1963)
A collaborator with the Hungarian composer Bartók and Kodály in the collection of folksongs, László Lajtha held important positions in the musical life of his country as a teacher, conductor, ethnomusicologist, administrator and composer. His music reflects French and Italian influences, rather than German, in a generally tonal context.
Lajtha’s nine symphonies were written over a period of 25 years, from 1936 to 1961, and demonstrate the development of his individual style and his interest in counterpoint. His other orchestral works include suites derived from ballets or film scores, the source also of the Third Symphony, drawn from a score for a film of T.S. Eliot’s Murder in the Cathedral.
Lajtha made considerable and useful additions to chamber-music repertoire, including 10 string quartets, the first two of which remain unpublished, and a number of works for various chamber ensembles.
Lajtha’s Des Écrits d’un musicien was published in 1913, the year in which the composer completed his studies at the Budapest Academy of Music. It was followed in 1914 by Contes (‘Stories’), dedicated to Bartók. The Trois Berceuses were written for his grandchildren in America and England, at a time when Lajtha was banned from travel abroad.