Lehár b. 1870-d. 1948
The operetta which is the forerunner of the musicals of today is
a genre in which Hungarian composers such as Pongrác Kacsóh Jenô
Huszka Imre Kálmán Viktor Jacobi and especially Ferenc Lehár made
Ferenc Lehár was born in 1870 in Komárom the son of a military
After finishing his musical studies in Prague he followed in his
father's footsteps and travelled from one garrison town to another
as a military bandmaster of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. He was
a young man at the time of the belle époque which was a particularly
favourable period for the flowering of Lehar's musical genius. In
addition being a bandmaster as well as assuring him the rank of
officer also meant that he was financially secure.
In Vienna he composed 2 violin concertos which made him famous
and in 1905 he wrote his world-famous operetta "The Merry Widow"
the style of which was widely imitated. "The Merry Widow" is full
of emotions and gaiety with rapid changes of events and sparkling
wit and this together with its musicality and modernity explain
why it and "The Count of Luxembourg" are still performed today in
theatres all over the world.
Although Lehár lived most of his life in Vienna he always kept
his Hungarian citizenship and after 1945 even tried to return home
but the communists under Mátyás Rákosi prevented him from doing
so. He finally died in 1948 in Bad Ischl the spa town famous during
the time of the Austro-Hungarian Empire but his enchanting music