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Ferenc Lehár
 
 

Ferenc 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 great contributions.

Ferenc Lehár was born in 1870 in Komárom the son of a military bandmaster.

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 lives on.

 

   



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