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László Lajtha

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Lajtha with phonograph collecting folk songs in Transsylvania

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Biography

László Lajtha (IPA: /ˈlaːsloː ˈlɒjtɒ/) (in Hungarian Lajtha László) (30 June 1892 – 16 February 1963) was a Hungarian composer, and conductor.

Born in Budapest, Lajtha studied with Viktor Herzfeld in the Academy of Music in that city and then in Leipzig, Geneva and finally Paris where he was a pupil of Vincent d’Indy. Before the First World War, in collaboration with Béla Bartók and Zoltán Kodály, he undertook the study and transcription of Hungarian folk song, heading up a project to produce a series of folk music recordings. Throughout the war he served at the front as an artillery officer, an experience recalled in his sombre Second Symphony (1938) - a work that remained unperformed until 1988. In 1919 he began teaching at the Budapest National Conservatory. (Among his pupils was the conductor János Ferencsik, who was later one of the principal champions of his music.) From 1928 he was a member of the International Commission of Popular Arts and Traditions of the League of Nations. He was also a member of the International Folk Music Council based in London.

After the Second World War, Lajtha was appointed Director of Music for Hungarian Radio, director of the Museum of Ethnography and of the Budapest National Conservatory. His symphonic piece In Memoriam was the first new work to be premiered in Budapest when concerts could be given there again. In 1947-48 Lajtha spent a year in London, having been asked by the film director Georg Hoellering to compose music for his film of T.S.

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  • KraeheK

    His string quartets are very fine - in that mid-century dark/rugged tonal vein that is so enjoyable to listen to.

    4 Jul 2010 Reply

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