Miklós Rózsa: String Quartet No. 1, Op. 22 – IV. Allegro Feroce

This is day 18 of the A-toZ Challenge in which I attempt to blog every day (excepting Sundays) during the month of April. During this month, I am curating a collection of “classical” music pieces, which are lesser known or by lesser known composers (to me at least).  Today’s composer is Miklós Rózsa (1907 – 1995).

Miklós Rózsa was a Hungarian composer better known for the 100+ high-quality soundtrack he cranked for films.  Among his work in that field were Spellbound, El Cid, and Ben Hur.  As a youth, I was completely spellbound by the last two films and had copies of those recordings.  I loved the pageantry of Ben Hur, especially, but little did I know Rózsa led a double life as as serious composer as well.  In fact, before getting intrigued by film in 1934, he had a promising career as a serious composer and an early composition Theme, Variations, and Finale, Op. 13, (1929) was conducted by such notables as Charles Munch, Karl Böhm, Georg Solti, and Eugene Ormandy.

After he made his names in film, he became quite sought-after, but he was able to stipulate in his contract with studios that he be given 3 months off every year, which he could devote to his “serious” musical pursuits.

Even though my dad was the son of Hungarian immigrants and boasted of famous Hungarians, I never heard him mention Rózsa .  And, I’ve never listened to Rózsa’s serious music either until today.  Pity, because this fourth movement of his String Quartet Number 1, it quite interesting.  Rózsa had good relationships with and wrote pieces for many famous musicians of his day including Heifitz (violin) and Starker (cello).  I hope you like today’s piece.

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