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FRIGYES HIDAS 1928 – 2007

THE LAST HUNGARIAN ROMANTIC COMPOSER

Biography - Memories – Programme Notes by

Laszlo Marosi – Eeva Saarela – Jozsef Csikota – Reiner Hobe

Published 2014 AMICUS AUCTORIS MUSIK VERLAG

Volker AngerhoferMusikalien & Bucher

Waldseer Strasse 7, D-88368 BERGATREUTE

Germany

This is a first rate book by close colleagues of Hidas who knew the composer and his music well. Based on the research for a thesis by Reiner Hobe, the text brings the man alive wonderfully, with comments of his career and programme notes on all of the amazing wealth of music written for every possible combination of wind instruments, though sadly not an opera with wind band. This project was mooted by Csikota Jozsef, it met with an enthusiastic response but sadly the composer passed away shortly afterwards.

Felix Hauswirth’s new edition of 1,000 Selected Works gives a generous listing of his contribution with 15 works, many of which appear on Youtube videos.

The warmth, humanity and sheer joy in making music are characteristics which leap off the page of this excellent account of his life and works. I find Hidas in his more serious vein. Suite for Band, a little pompous and lacking originality and I think that he is at his best in the lighter works such as the Circus Suite with an opening march of the genre of Eric Coates, and a second movement which is quite delicious, light music at its best. The third movement, a solo for euphonium is for me a little sentimental, but I enjoy the other movements which are charming.

SUITE FOR BAND

CIRCUS SUITE

In my brief article on Hungarian music for my website I wrote:

Undoubtedly the most successful composer of wind band music in Hungary of the last fifty years is Frigyes Hidas, with a career embracing administrative posts at the National Theatre and the Operetta Theatre in Budapest. There is an ease and fluency about his music which brings to mind the compositional style perhaps of Gordon Jacob, occasionally the wit and sophistication of Joseph Horovitz, the mastery of effective scoring of Alfred Reed, but every so often there is a touch of Angst and an edge which adds a piquancy often lacking in much of his music.

REQUIEM

Dedicated to all victims of all wars in human history

Returning to this piece after some years, I find myself very impressed with its simplicity and humanity. I remember years ago being impatient when hearing it on a CD at a CBDNA Conference with its conservative idiom and traditional fingerprints, but now in a period riven with war and terrorism, his Requiem speaks clearly to us all.

His Concerto Semplice for clarinet and orchestra or wind band is typical of his music - charming – I think of the Finzi Bagatelles for Clarinet and Piano while listening.

CONCERTO SEMPLICE Mvt 1

CONCERTO SEMPLICE Mvt 2

CONCERTO SEMPLICE Mvt 3

Somehow the rather sentimental style at which I balk seems particularly suited to the Fantasy for solo cello and wind ensemble; there is real passion from time to time and this is a work worth considering alongside Luis Serrano Alarcón’s Tramonto.

FANTASY FOR CELLO AND WIND ENSEMBLE 1

FANTASY FOR CELLO AND WIND ENSEMBLE 2

His Rhapsody for Bass Trombone is the first of his works which I heard, perhaps thirty or forty years ago, and it is certainly one of the finest works written for that instrument as a soloist, and is couched in a sort of central European lingua franca which we find in composers such as Sulek or Serocki, but I think with a great deal of real interest. Is there a better workout for Bass Trombone? I remember too being impressed with his Oboe Concerto.

RHAPSODY FOR BASS TROMBONE

I remember hearing Save the Sea at a WASBE Germany conference in Stuttgart, and being impressed by the colours, the fluency, but having a question mark over how a composer might write such romantic music in the late 20th century; this led to arguments with Reine Hobe, and listening to the work anew, I must confess I am enjoying it hugely. However this is what I wrote at the time:

It was good to be able to pay tribute to one of the great stalwarts of WASBE for over a quarter of a century, the Hungarian composer Frigyes Hidas, 1928 - 2007, who died four days later in Budapest. Hidas has contributed considerably to the medium, and his works have found a place in the international repertoire. He said of himself "I am the last Hungarian Romantic composer", and his, Save the Sea, while wonderfully scored and constructed, might have been written over one hundred years ago. Can a composer ignore say the legacy of Bartok, Janacek or Stravinsky and write music which has a real integrity? I find his music sometimes very beautiful but all too often too sentimental rather than being full of feeling and sentiment. I asked a distinguished conductor if he ever programmed Hidas - "Too sweet" was the rejoinder, an opinion which I share albeit reluctantly.

SAVE THE SEA

Again quoting from my website, I wrote:

Writing this article took me back to the WASBE Conference of 1999 in San Luis Obispo, and a performance of his Concerto for Symphonic Band in a concert by the Young People’s Symphonic Band of North Rhine-Westphalia 3141-MCD, as with all of his music superbly scored, grateful to play and to listen to. His Concerto for Bassoon is recorded on Klavier K 11128 by the North Texas Wind Symphony; the slow movement has real pathos, and the outer movements are very attractive fun. The Folk Songs of the Balaton and Folk Songs of the Bekes Country naturally have a strong folk idiom in their arrangements, and I find them more interesting and possible for programming where some dances are needed. Coriolanus played at WASBE Sweden by Kiskunfelegyhaza on CD 4735-MCD is also stronger and well worth considering, while Song of the Sea has many advocates.

Among his many works, too numerous to mention, are a Double Concerto for oboe and bassoon, a Concerto for Brass Quintet and Band, Flute Concerto, Oboe Concerto, a Divertimento for wind orctet and Five Miniatures wind sextet, (pairs of clarinets, horns and bassoons). Many of his works were written for friends, and with his welcome lack of pretension, it is possible to think about similar works by Alec Wilder, and maybe even Derek Bourgeois, all three composers careless of musical fashion who wrote works to entertain.

If you are seeking a work which your band will enjoy playing and your audience listening to, which does not present too many problems, it will be well worth searching through the catalogue of Stormworks and scanning Youtube for a piece by Hidas, and well worth buying the book. Much of his music is available from Edition Musica Budapest www.EMB.hu

or

Stormworks Europe

PO Box 134, 7470

AC, GOOR, The Netherlands

info@stormworkseurope.com

For further information conact:

Marosi Laszlo Marosi80@hotmail.com

Csikota Jozsef csikotaj@csikotajozsef.hu