Valéria Csányi / Budapest Symphony Orchestra MÁV

Leó Weiner: Toldi - Symphonic Poem

  • AllMusic Rating
  • User Ratings (0)
  • Your Rating

AllMusic Review by

Leó Weiner was well known as a Hungarian music educator, not so much as a composer during the years when modernism ruled the roost. Since a broader range of styles has become acceptable, his neo-Romantic music, slightly Hungarian-flavored, has been revived; this is the second album in a series by Naxos devoted to his orchestral music, and it's a lot of fun. His educational career is also relevant here, for if you're wondering how so much American symphonic music-making has a Hungarian tinge, it's because of Weiner's teaching. Georg Solti and Antal Doráti were among his students. Weiner did not come to America (he retired just before things turned ugly culturally in the Eastern Bloc), and he did not write film music. But Toldi, based on an epic poem by 19th century Hungarian writer János Arany, is film music without any attached film, and it ought to delight anyone who likes that genre. Few non-Hungarians will be familiar with the literary work, but the booklet for this release, also available online, reproduces Weiner's detailed subtitles for each movement: you can sample track 6, "Miklós lays the wolves beside György's bed in the darkness of the night -- Moonlight -- Everyone is asleep (only his mother is awake, crying) -- Miklós says farewell to his mother -- The barking dogs wake the sleeping -- György's men chase after the fleeing Miklós." The music is episodic; the movements are connected, making the sense of narrative even stronger. The score is absolutely action-packed. The Budapest Symphony Orchestra MÁV under Valéria Csányi is one of the few ensembles that might have some experience with Weiner, and they deliver an exciting, enthusiastic performance, augmented by strong engineering from a Hungarian Radio studio. Delightful.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
Toldi - Symphonic Poem (Twelve Orchestral Pictures after the Epic Poem by Mános Arany, Op. 43)
1 07:28
2 05:47
3 02:38
4 07:24
5 02:11
6 05:49
7 07:41
8 05:12
9 06:46
10 06:49
11 03:30
12 03:28
blue highlight denotes track pick