Endre Szervánszky

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Endre Szervánszky (b. Kistétény, December 27, 1911 - d. Budapest, June 25, 1977) was a Hungarian composer.

Biography[edit]

(Note: There appears to be some discrepancy regarding the composer's birth date. Valeria Szervánszky is certain that this one is correct.)

Szervánszky studied the clarinet at the Budapest Academy of Music (1922–7). He played in various orchestras before returning to the academy to study composition with Albert Siklós (1931–6). He then worked as an orchestrator for the Hungarian Radio and taught musical theory. He was appointed professor of composition at the Budapest Academy in 1948.

Szervánszky first came to public attention with his First String Quartet (1936–8) and his works of this period were influenced by his compatriots, Zoltán Kodály and Béla Bartók. Works for this time include the Clarinet Serenade (1950) and the Flute Concerto (1952–3).

From the early 1950s Szervánszky embarked on a series of larger compositions, one of the longest being the Concerto for Orchestra in memory of Attila József. Each of the concerto’s five movements is based on a quotation from József. The fourth has folk music elements and the whole demonstrates the influence of Bartók. Both the String Quartet no.2 (1956–7) and the Wind Quintet no.2 (1957) also demonstrate the composer’s increasing interest in serialism.

For his Six Orchestra Pieces, composed in 1959, Szervánszky employed 12-note serialism and the piece is particular in its use of percussion. Szervánszky did not compose another major work until 1963 – the oratorio Requiem, based on a text by János Pilinszky which takes the concentration camp of Auschwitz as its theme. Works which followed include the Variations (1964) and the Clarinet Concerto (1965).

Endre Szervánszky was given the "Righteous among the Nations" award by the State of Israel to honour non-Jews who risked their lives to save Jews from the Nazis.

He is the brother of artist, Jenö Szervánszky, violinst, Peter Szervánszky and the uncle of Valeria Szervánszky.

Works[edit]

Stage and vocal works

  • Napkeleti mese – “Oriental Tale”, (a "dance play") 1948–9
  • Népdalszvit – “Folksong Suite”, 1949
  • Honvédkantáta – “Soldier’s Cantata”, 1949
  • Tavaszi Szél – “Spring Breeze” (cantata), 1950
  • 8 Petőfi Songs, 1951
  • 3 Petőfi Choruses, 1953
  • 3 Songs, 1956–7
  • 3 Male Choruses (ancient China), 1958
  • Requiem – “Dark Heaven” to words by János Pilinszky (oratorio), 1963
  • Az éj – “The Night” (cantata), 1974–5

Orchestra

  • 3 divertimentos, 1939, 1942, 1943
  • Serenade, strings, 1947–8
  • Rhapsody, 1950
  • Serenade for clarinet and orchestra, 1950
  • Flute Concerts, 1952–3
  • Concerts for Orchestra, 1954
  • 6 Orchestral Pieces, 1959
  • Variations, 1964
  • Clarinet Concerto, 1965

Chamber

  • String Quartet no.1, 1936–8
  • 20 Little Duos for 2 violins, 1941
  • Sonata for violin and piano, 1945
  • 25 Duos for 2 violins, 1946
  • Trio for flute, violin and viola, 1951
  • Sonatina for flute, and piano, 1952
  • Wind Quintet no.1, 1953
  • 5 Koncert etűd – “5 Concert Etudes” for flute, 1956
  • Suite for 2 flutes, 1956
  • String Quartet No.2, 1956–7
  • Wind Quintet no.2, 1957
  • 2 Duos for 2 flutes, 1972
  • 7 Studies for flute, 1974–5

Piano

  • Folksong Suite, 4 hands, 1935
  • Little Suite, 1939
  • Sonatina, 1941
  • Sonatina, 4 hands, 1950

References[edit]

  • Don Randel, The Harvard Biographical Dictionary of Music. Harvard, 1996, p. 895.