I Szechenyi - Dances for Piano, Serenade in A minor | Naxos 8574506

I Szechenyi - Dances for Piano, Serenade in A minor


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Label: Naxos

Cat No: 8574506

Barcode: 0747313450671

Format: CD

Number of Discs: 1

Genre: Instrumental

Release Date: 26th May 2023



Imre Széchényi was a distinguished diplomat who rose to become the Austro-Hungarian ambassador to Berlin, retaining the friendship and admiration of a gallery of leading figures of the age: Liszt, Johann Strauss II, Suppé, Waldteufel, Bismarck, and many others. He was also a pianist and composer, and his diplomatic career ran parallel to his musical life. Széchényi’s métier was the dance, and his series of polkas, mazurkas and serenades – infectiously engaging and ardently lyrical – were popular pieces in their day but are now little known. Orchestrations of many of these dances were made by the composer (Naxos 8573807) but five that were never scored for orchestra are included here.

Széchényi’s Waltzes and Hungarian Marches are on 8574307, performed by the same two pianists as on this latest album: ‘this effort of Kassai and György Lázár proves especially fruitful and gratifying, given that their chosen instrument, a 1908 Bechstein-Flügel in pristine condition with its original strings, owned by Richard Wagner’s grandson Wolfgang, produces a sound authentic to the period’ (Fanfare).

István Kassai has won many prizes including the Artisjus Prize (1976), Chevillion-Bonnaud Prize of the Fondation de France (1986), Hungarian Radio Nívó Prize (1990), ‘Ferenc Liszt’ Prize (2001) and the Leó Weiner Memorial Prize (2010).

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