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Piano Music from a Hungarian Dynasty (1800–1920)

  • István Kassai, piano
  • György Lázár, piano

The Széchényi dynasty stood at the heart of Hungary’s political and musical life in the 19th and 20th centuries. Their ideal milieu lay in vibrant, melodious dance-patterned music, of which Imre’s Waltz No. 1 is a perfect example. Ödön’s highly accomplished works reflect his sophisticated wit, whilst in Franciska, Hungary had its first female composer, and in Gisa, the world’s first female film composer.

This recording was made on a modern instrument: Steinway, Model D


Széchényi, Félicie
Dorette, Polka française, Op. 4 () * (00:02:52)
Herzblatt (Sweetheart), Polka-Mazur, Op. 1 () * (00:03:46)
Immer lustig (Always Cheerful), Polka française () * (00:02:53)
7 Uhr früh (7 in the Morning), Polka schnell, Op. 3 () * (00:01:43)
Széchényi, Franciska
6 Ländler () * (00:02:39)
Széchényi, Lajos
3 Magyar tántzok (3 Hungarian Dances) () (00:07:00 )
No. 1. — * (00:02:34)
No. 2. — * (00:01:46)
No. 3. — * (00:01:08)
Deutscher mit Coda () * (00:03:35)
10 Ländler und 1 Mazurka () * (00:08:12)
Széchényi, Ödön
Hajósegyleti Polka (Shipowners Association Polka) () * (00:02:30)
Marien-Polka () * (00:01:59)
Viszontlátási örömhangok keringő (Joyful Sounds of Goodbye, Waltz) () * (00:07:44)
Pull-on! galopp () * (00:02:38)
Regatta négyes (Regatta Foursome) () * (00:04:21)
Ez az élet gyöngyélet, Csilli csárdás (This Life is a Pearly Life) () * (00:03:14)
Hableány polka (Mermaid Polka) () * (00:01:56)
Széchényi, Gisa
Abendsonne (Setting Sun), Act III: Vorspiel (arr. R. Gound for piano) () * (00:03:23)
Széchényi, Andor
Ein Marsch mehr! (One More March!) () * (00:02:47)
Gedanken-Walzer (Thinking Waltz) () * (00:06:14)
Tritsch-Tratsch-Polka () * (00:03:10)
Széchényi, Imre
3 Walzer for piano 4 hands: No. 1. — (1889) * (00:06:01)
World Première Recording
Total Time: 01:17:05

The Artist(s)

István Kassai Kassai has won several first prizes in international competitions such as the International Piano Competition for Young Artists in 1972 in Czechoslovakia, the Piano Competition organised by Hungarian Radio in 1979, and the Paris International Debussy Piano Competition in 1982. Moreover, Kassai’s artistic talent was acknowledged by such prestigious awards as the ARTISJUS-Prize in 1976, the Bonnaud-Chevillion-Prize of the Fondation de France in 1986, the Nívó Prize of Hungarian Radio in 1990, the Ferenc Liszt Prize in 2001 and the Leó Weiner Memorial Prize in 2010. He has been a full member of the Hungarian Academy of Art since 2013.
György Lázár Lázár regularly appears with the Yvette Bozsik dance ensemble and the Arts Harmony artists’ society, of which he is artistic director. In 2004 György Lázár was awarded the Cross of Merit of the Republic of Hungary.

The Composer(s)

Andor (András) Széchényi Andor (András) Széchényi was the son of Ödön Széchényi, from his first marriage, to Baroness Almay. He was born in Pest in 1865 and died in 1907, in Nieder-Ollwitz. He composed dances for the piano, including the Gedanken-Walzer (‘Thinking Waltz’), Ein Marsch mehr! (‘One More March!’) and his Tritsch-Tratsch-Polka, published in 1889 by J. Engelmann, Wien.
Félicie Széchényi Félicie Széchényi published her polkas Herzblatt (‘Sweetheart’), 7 Uhr früh (‘7 in the Morning’) and Dorette with the Vienna publishers, Musikaliendruckerei von Jos. Eberle & Co. The Eberle house was established in 1873 and operated under the name Waldheim-Eberle from around 1890. The works must therefore date from between 1873 and 1890. Félicie wrote these pieces in the same year her daughter was born or shortly afterwards, seemingly in the flush of motherhood. Immer lustig (‘Always cheerful’) was published in 1914 by Max F. Aichwalder Musikalienhandlung und Verlag Wien.
Franciska Széchényi Franciska Széchényi composed works for piano, songs, duets and religious works (liturgical songs, numerous four-part choral works, a German Mass and a Latin Mass), which have all survived in manuscript form. Two of her spiritual songs have been published, appearing in the work Orgeltöne (‘Organ Sounds’) assembled by Ladaslaus Pyrker.
Gisa Széchényi Gisa Széchényi, née Haas von Teichen, wife of Ferenc Széchényi’s great-grandson, the naval officer Gyula, was born in Vienna in 1890, dying there in 1945. Baroness Gisella was the daughter of the industrial magnate Baron Philipp Haas von Teichen. Gisa Haas von Teichen was a beautiful woman with a gift for music, and an excellent pianist. It is said that a number of her admirers once hauled a piano to the top of a mountain for her to play.
Imre Széchényi Count Imre Szechenyi of Sarvar-Felsovidek was born in Vienna in 1825. His father, Lajos Szechenyi, was chief court chamberlain for the Archduchess Sophie, mother of the future Emperor Franz Joseph I of Austria. Because of his father’s position, Imre grew up with Franz Joseph and his brother, later Maximilian I of Mexico. He was educated by private tutors, spoke five languages, played the piano and composed music.
Lajos Széchényi Lajos wrote music for piano, songs, chamber music and orchestral works. His compositional oeuvre, such as we are aware of it, can be dated largely to the period of his first marriage (1801–22), to Countess Aloyzia von Clam-Gallas.
Ödön Széchényi There are a number of piano works and one song known to have been composed by Ödön Széchényi. The works for fire brigade orchestra have been lost.


“István Kassai and György Lázár all play with fiery verve and a good deal of humour.” – Piano News