FARKAS Ferenc, Five Antique Hungarian Dances (version for wind quintet)
Lassú (Slow Dance)
Lapockás tánc (Shoulder Blade Dance)
Ugrós (Leaping Dance)
Ferenc Farkas studied with Leo Weiner at the Franz Liszt Academy in Budapest and later with Ottorino Respighi in Rome. On returning to Budapest in 1932, one of his first commissions was for a film score and he went on to compose extensively for film and theatre productions. At the same time, he began researching Hungarian folk music and began a distinguished teaching career: his pupils included Ligeti and Kurtág.
This work, officially titled Antique Hungarian Dances from the 17th Century, exists in versions for various solo instruments and ensembles, with the present wind quintet version dating from 1959. In a note on the work, Farkas himself wrote that ‘compared with the rich folk-song heritage of Hungary, our ancient airs and dances that have been preserved in writing have a more modest role. For this work I have been influenced by dances of the 17th century, written by unknown amateurs in a relatively simple style … My interest in this music was first captured in the 1940s. I was so fascinated that I decided to give these melodies new life. I fitted the little dances together, in rondo form, and leaning on Baroque harmony and counterpoint, I attempted a reminiscence of that atmosphere of provincial Hungarian life at the time.’
© Nigel Simeone