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                                                                                                                                                Tóth Aladár

(Analogous translation of  Szegeder newspaperarticles , publishes in the homepage of Szegedin)




Ferenc Fricsay,  born 1914 in Budapest , studied at the Academy of Music  under Kodàly





After his studies, he led from 1934 to 1944 the local military band  in Szeged, the Philharmonic Orchestra and the Municipal Theatre as conductor, from 1938 he organized also the perma-nent opera company.

Excerpt of an original recording  1938 of the "King Lajos II march " (composer K. Stefan) conducted by Ferenc Fricsay

"...I took over the management of the military band in Szeged,  the second largest town of Hungary (at that time 160.000 inhabitants). The place got vacant,  because my predecessor went to Budapest to take the job of my father who had just retired. In addition I was  elected at the same time, among 53 applicants, as conductor of the Szeged Philharmonia, what was more important to me than all the other positions. I became a sergeant, then second lieutenant, lieutenant and finally chieftain . Of course I had to wear uniform and on the left side a sabre. Carrying the sabre I felt as a burden.   


..as I took over the Philharmonia of Szeged, there were only 260 subscribers ... I am still proud today that during my 10-year activity the number has increased to 2000. During the annual 12 concerts guest-conductors as Dobrowen and Mengelberg came, as soloists Dohnànyi, Thibaud, Cortot, Szigeti and other great artists. Unforgettable memories bounded me with Bartòk with whom I had the chance to work repeatedly."                                        
                                                                                                             Ferenc Fricsay

" .... at  his first concert Fricsay  introduced himself to the Szeged audience as a promising conductor. The public realized his solid musical education, his outstandig, bright talent and his ability to take over the artistic management of the orchestra.
                                                             Dunszt Kálmán: Memory book of the Philharmonic Union of Szeged


The "Lehàr Festival" finished full of dignity with the sunday concert of the members of the Philharmonia. The new conductor, the young Ferenc Fricsay has introduced himselve with his concert.  It was a greatful task and the performance excellent. He has conducted pieces of Léhar, full of empathy, very musically and with much love of the detail. Particularly skilfully he arised stormy topics  from "pianos", which filled the audiance with enthusiasm. Sometimes tempi could have been increased by more temperament. However, this is not a defect and we are full of hope, concerning his future. The audience welcomed him warm-heartedly.

„Délmagyarország“, 27. November 1934 

Excerpt of original recording 1938  "Lyuk, lyuk - march", composer Franz Léhar, conducted by Ferenc Fricsay

"In the second year of my stay in Szeged I was allowed to conduct the performance in the Municipal Theatre. There-by I  got the opportunity to become aquainted with the organi-sational framework profoundly."     
                                                                                        Ferenc Fricsay              

"The great successes during the last year of the musical life in Szeged fulfils everyone with hope: as well artists as audiance. New targets and new ideas will be developed in the traces of great successes. This motivates everyone who is involved  in the developement and achievement of the musical culture of Szeged, making the town to number two in the field of art in the country."
                                                                               Szegedi Új Nemzedék, 12. April 1936

"The audience of the town can be grateful  for  Fricsay's valuable effort. He dedicates himself  with the greatest success  in triple challenges: As a conductor of the Philharmonia, as composer and as choirmaster."
                                                                           Gábor Arnold, Szegedi Napló, 5. Mai 1936

In the second half of the Thirties the sacred music has been given its important, justified place: 1936 Fricsay has achieved, beside several little compositions, great success  with his "Great Mass", devoted to Gyula Glattfelder.

Excerpt of original recording 1939
"Sounds of native country", arranged and conducted by Ferenc Fricsay




In the course of time Fricsay forms The Szegedin Symphony Orchestra out of members of his mililtary brass band.  With this new ensemble, he performs,  among other things, operas and concerts in the Municipal Theatre  very successfully.


                                                   Summer Festival of Szeged  1935

Once again Ferenc Fricsay has taken an important role as conductor, composer and organi-zer of the openair performance: So he conducted 1936 - 37 the opera "Jànos Vitéz" and composed the incidental music to "tragedy of mankind" written by Madàcs.

"The highlight of the music days of Szeged was the second premiere of Sunday evening: The eternally beautiful melodies of "Jànos Vitéz" flew up to the sky of  the Cathedral square, the place with its wonderful panorama. That evening the audience of Szeged  realized once again what pure enthusiasm, without any egoism, was capable to cause  for art and beauty. As a extraordinary  example of appreciation the audience occupied the last place. A special appreciation deserves the performance of Fricsay: his convincing work as conductor had consequences up to the last detail and kept the orchestra and choir attracted to each other.
                                                                                                       Délmagyarország, 3. August 1937





"The Philharmonia of the city of Szeged does not accept Fricsay's resignation"

(our reporter) In the whole town the news, that Ferenc Fricsay, conductor of the Phil-harmonia, denounced his position in connec-tion with the programme of the openair festi-val, has caused a great sensation. The fact that he was not considered in the election of the conductors disappointed him so much, that he gave notice. Thereby the Orchestra of the Philharmonia of Szeged is shaken in its foun-dations. We have asked Dr. Pàlfy Jozsef, the mayor,  what will happen by the cancellation of Fricsay.

The mayor has answered as follows: " We do not accept the cancellation,  he must keep the management of the Philharmonia."

This remark, surely also used somewhere else, never the less in which wording, leaves hardly any doubt that Fricsay will change his intention to give up the management of the Philharmonia.

Szegedi Napló, 21. Januar 1938

Excerpt of "Éljen a Magyar" by Johann Strauss

"Dr. Szent-Györgyi Albert led the delegation of the Philharmonia to the mayor,
in reason of the resignation of F.F.,  

(our reporter) Within the last few days the message that F.F., leader of the philharmonia, has denouced his function at the orchestra  caused excitement in Szeged. There were different versions for the reasons of the notice of cancellation. He felt not being considered in the participation of the Openair festival. Therefore he gave his demission of the leadership of the Philharmonia and the management of the municipal choir. The management of the Philharmonia  discussed and decided with excitement to send a delegation to the mayor Dr. Pàlfy, president of the Philharmonia, to find a way to appease the insulted conductor. The vice-president of the Philharmonia, Dr. Albert Szent-Györgyi (Nobel prize winner of sciences),  led the delegation. Due to the fact that the notice of the conductor meant a great danger for the cultural life in Szeged, the vice-president asked the mayor to find a conjoint solution with FF.
                                                                                                                                           Szegedi Napló, 26. Januar 1938

F. Fricsay (on the right) in company of Dr. A. Szent-Györgyi, Nobel prize winner (on the left) and Desiré Defauw, director the Royal Academy of Music Brussels (in the middle)

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