Personalities | Franz Lehár | Modern Era | Classical
(Frantz La’-här) 1870–1948
Of Hungarian ancestry and Czech training (his contemporary Dvořák helped him as a young man), Lehár began his career as an army bandmaster, while also writing waltzes in his spare time. These were so successful that he was able to leave the army in his early thirties to begin a long career composing operettas. Welcomed by the Viennese as the successor to Johann Strauss the Younger (1825–99), his background enabled him to add Eastern European local colour to such works as Die lustige Witwe (‘The Merry Widow’, 1905, his first international success) and Zigeunerliebe (‘Gipsy Love’, 1910).
Das Land des Lächelns, soloists, Bavarian Radio Chorus and SO (cond) Willi Boskovsky (EMI/Warner)
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