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Steve Arloff
MusicWeb International, June 2017

LAJTHA, L.: Orchestral Works, Vol. 3 (Pécs Symphony, Pasquet) 8.573645
LAJTHA, L.: Orchestral Works, Vol. 4 (Pécs Symphony, Pasquet) 8.573646

How often is it that music that is carefree, even jolly, was written at a time, when both the composer and his country were going through traumatic and turbulent times, as if the composer was trying his best to keep his spirits and those of his countrymen up, despite the reality of their lives? That is certainly the case with Lajtha’s ‘Spring’ symphony, composed after the composer had been removed from his academic post and had his passport withdrawn in the early days of Hungary’s Communist government, when old scores were being settled and freedom of thought and expression were being severely curtailed. This was only 5 years before the 1956 revolution was crushed with Soviet tanks. The music gives no such indication of these dark days and the symphony is indeed spring-like with an upbeat mood established right at the start…

The music on the disc gets effective treatment from the Pécs Symphony Orchestra under Nicolás Pasquet… © 2017 MusicWeb International Read complete review

Michael Wilkinson
MusicWeb International, May 2017

All the music demonstrates extraordinary facility, a keen ear for orchestration, superb technical skill…

…this is a CD which will give much pleasure. Performances are committed and idiomatic, and the CD is valuable also in reminding us of the riches of twentieth century Hungarian music. © 2017 MusicWeb International Read complete review

Bob Stevenson
MusicWeb International, May 2017

Recording and performance here are very much to the standard of other discs in this series—which is to say perfectly adequate to get to know the music… © 2017 MusicWeb International Read complete review

Barry Forshaw
Classical CD Choice, April 2017

This is colourful Bartokian music, delivered in workmanlike rather than inspired performances, but offering the only performances one will find of the music. László Lajtha’s passionate Third Symphony emerged from a fruitful period when the composer was based in London. …Lajtha’s Fourth Symphony uses Hungarian musical idioms with wit and charm to bewitch the listener from the outset, its escapist joie de vivre belying the dark circumstances that surrounded its creation, while the Second Suite is based on a ballet that uses Classical mythology to poke fun at fascist dictators. © 2017 Classical CD Choice Read complete review

Robert Benson, April 2017

Performances are excellent, as is audio quality. © 2017 Read complete review

David Denton
David's Review Corner, March 2017

This third of six discs marks the central part of the complete symphonies of László Lajtha, and the mid-point in the career of this highly prolific Hungarian composer. On the one hand he had the misfortune of living through the two World Wars and the effect that had on him, while on the other hand he had the good fortune of studying with Vincent D’Indy in Paris before that first conflict. From those years he profited with his mentor’s gift for colourful orchestration that was to pass through his output. When reviewing the First and Second Symphonies I commented on the scar that the first conflict had left on the young man and his music. Now in the Third, completed in 1948, the second conflict is even more bitterly presented, though the music was equally a follow-up to the film music he wrote for T.S. Eliot’s Murder in the Cathedral. Heard without knowledge of either, it is in symphonic terms a gripping two-movement score. Those dark thoughts had vanished in the ‘Spring’ Symphony that followed in 1951, a score often created in subtle hues, the opening Allegro of a wispish invention. The second movement also has moments of unease before happiness blossoms in the Vivace finale. The four movements of the Second Suite come from a satirical ballet, La bosquet des quatre Dieux, and forms the most extended part of the disc. With French Impressionism as its backdrop, it is a work of shifting moods that tend to flit through the music like ghosts before it eventually arrives at a brilliant finale. The recording dates from 1995 and was first issued on Marco Polo when the orchestra, from in the south-east of Hungary, was known as the Pécs Symphony, and was conducted by the German-based, Nicolás Pasquet. They were a fine ensemble well able to handle Lajtha’s considerable demands, and in the quiet passages the sound quality was lovely. Now showing its age in the more heavily scored passages, I still commend Lajtha as a composer of outstanding qualities. © 2017 David’s Review Corner

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