Born 120 years ago and died 50 years ago, László Lajtha was one of the most important Hungarian composers, ethnomusicologists and teachers of the first half of the twentieth century. After decades of being overlooked, it will take a long time for him to take the place he deserves in the Hungarian musical canon. Composed in 1943, his one-act ballet is the kind of work that never (perhaps just once) got performed in its time. The staged concert performance melts expressive dance, silent film and classical pantomime.
Emőke Solymosi Tari music historian writes about the ballet:
“A parody of Adolf Hitler, The Grove of the Four Gods (1943) was composed as a political statement.
As the librettist, József Révay, a classical scholar, recalled, they had sought to create the genre of ‘political ballet’ with the aim of ‘educating and fostering awareness’ :
To reveal how ridiculous and foul the dictatorship of the dull is, to show the flam, the cowardice, the servility, and the submission of the mob, and the tragicomedy of spinelessness.’”
The programme also includes one of the most popular concertos of all times, performed by the Armenian violinist Sergey Khachatryan who has won first and second prizes at numerous prestigious international competitions and has appeared with the New York, the Cleveland and the London Philharmonic Orchestras.
From the Artist’s Point of View
According to Judit Galgóczy, director of the ballet: „Lajtha’s music forges the 20th century’s „globalism” of styles: the altered tastes and accents of Hungarian folk music, the turmoil of American urban jazz and the perfect awareness and application of classical symphonic forms rooted in European traditions.”
Sergey Khachatryan, the young soloist of the Brahms violin concerto made a rather surprising statement: “I never started on piano, never wanted to. I started on the violin.”
“My father had a different view, as a pianist, and that’s special,” he says. “All I have is much more coming from pianists than violinists.”