Personalities | Ferenc Erkel | Late Romantic | Classical

(Fer’-enk Er’-kel) 1810–93
Hungarian composer and conductor

A pioneer of Hungarian national opera, Erkel was conductor at the National Theatre in Pest from 1838 and later of the Budapest Philharmonic concerts. His early works in the style hongroise predate even Liszt’s Hungarian works, and he forged a national operatic style in such works as Hunyádi László (1844), with its Hungarian melodies and dances, and Bánk bán (1861), composed with his son Gyula, the first work to incorporate a cimbalom. The later, more Wagnerian operas, such as King István (1885), show Gyula’s notable contribution. Erkel was conductor of the National Choral Association and Director of the Music Academy in Budapest. One of his most famous works is the stirring Hungarian National Anthem (1845).

Recommended Recording:
Bánk bán, Hungarian State Opera Chorus and Orchestra (cond) János Ferencsik (Hungaroton)

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