Faà di Bruno, Giovanni Matteo [Horatio, Orazio] 83

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Ferencsik, János

(b Budapest, 18 Jan 1907; d Budapest, 12 June 1984). Hungarian conductor. He studied composition with Lajtha and conducting with Fleischer at the Budapest National Conservatory, and joined the State Opera there as répétiteur in 1927, becoming conductor in 1930. His career was based entirely at Budapest, apart from brief spells as musical assistant at the Bayreuth Festival (1930–31) and guest conductor with the Vienna Staatsoper (1948–50 and 1964). In 1953 he was appointed general musical director at the Budapest Opera and chief conductor of the Hungarian National PO. His British début was with the LPO in April 1957, and at the 1963 Edinburgh Festival he conducted a triple bill of Bartók’s stage works by the Hungarian State Opera and Ballet at the King’s Theatre. He first appeared in the USA in 1962, and was a frequent guest at the Salzburg and Vienna festivals. Besides his wide reputation as a dynamic conductor of Hungarian music, he was a reliable and unpretentious exponent of a wide standard repertory, much of which he recorded with Hungarian, and some with Danish and British, orchestras. A professor at the Franz Liszt Academy, Budapest, he twice received Hungary’s highest musical award, the Kossuth Prize, in 1951 and 1961.

Ferenczy, Oto

(b Brezovica nad Torysou, 30 March 1921). Slovak composer. He studied philosophy and musicology at Bratislava University, taking the doctorate there in 1945 with a dissertation on the experience and perception of music. As a composer he was self-taught. After working in the Bratislava University Library (1945–51), he taught theory and aesthetics at the Academy of Music and Dramatic Art (VŠMU), where he became dean (1953–5) of the music faculty and eventually overall rector (1962–6) of the Academy; he was appointed professor in 1965. He was twice chairman of the Slovak Composers’ Union, and in 1983 he was awarded the title National Artist.

With his critical acumen and knowledge of new European music, Ferenczy was an influential figure in Slovak music after World War II. As early as 1946 he published a critique of Alexander Moyzes’ generation of composers on their orientation towards the aesthetics of the Czech composers Novák and Suk. As a teacher and publicist, he focussed on the music of Bartók, Stravinsky, Hindemith, the Second Viennese School and Messiaen. Ferenczy’s own compositions are influenced largely by Stravinsky and Bartók, though he also developed an individual language characterized by formal precision, elegance, humour and an intellectual approach. Hudba pre štyri sláčikové nástroje (‘Music for Four String Instruments’) – a prizewinning work at the 1948 Bartók international competition – was the first of his pieces to employ not only a technique of Bartók’s (working with tonal material consisting of 2nds and 3rds) but also his intense form of expression. His playful oscillation between restrained lyricism and humour, as in the Serenade, or even the grotesque (e.g. Capriccio, 1957) is less pronounced in later works and ends with the intropsective vocal work Tri poézie Stepana Ščipačeva (‘Three Poems by Stepan Shchipachev’, 1973).


(selective list)

Op. Nevšedná humoreska [An Unusual Humoresque] (1, Ferenczy, after K. Goetz), 1966–7; Košice, 25 Oct 1969

Orch: Concertino per 10 stromenti, 1974, arr. of Noneto, 1948; Hurbanovská [Hurbanovo Ov.], 1952; Obraz z môjho kraja [A Picture from my Country], 1954; Selanka [Idyll], dance scene, 1955; Serenade, fl, cl, bn, hp, str, 1955; Capriccio, pf, orch, 1957, rev. as Pf Conc., 1987; Elegy, after W. Shakespeare: Romeo and Juliet, 1958; Finale, 1958; Partita, chbr orch, 1965; Sym. Prologue, 1974; Ov., 1976

Vocal: Detské obrázky [Children Pictures] (R. Fabry), children’s chorus, 1951; 3 zbojnícke piesne [3 Brigand Songs] (folk poetry), Bar, orch, 1952; 3 Songs (J. Kostra, P. Országh Hviezdoslav), chorus, 1956; 3 Male Choruses (Š. Žáry), 1959; Hviezda severu [Star of the North] (cant., J. Smrek), Bar, chorus, orch, 1960; Kytica lesná [Bunch of Forest Flowers] (Fabry), song cycle, Bar/Mez, pf, 1961; 3 Sonnets (Shakespeare), Bar, pf, 1963; 2 Nocturnes (I. Krasko), chorus, 1972; 3 poézie Stepana Ščipačeva [3 Poems by Stepan Shchipachev], Mez, pf, 1973

Chbr and solo inst: Fantasia, org, 1943, rev. 1957; Noneto, 1948; Intermezzo, pf, 1943, rev. 1957; Hudba pre 4 sláčikové nástroje [Music for 4 Str Insts], str qt, 1947–8, rev. 1973; Str Qt no.1, 1962; Sonata, vn, pf, 1963

Principal publishers: Opus, Panton, Slovenský hudobný fond, Štátne hudobné vydavateľstvo


I. Hrušovský: Slovenská hudba v profiloch a rozboroch [Slovak music in profiles and analyses] (Bratislava, 1964), 344–54

J. Hatrík: ‘Ferenczyho Shakespearovské sonety – poznámka k analýze’ [Ferenczy’s Shakespeare Sonnets – remarks for an analysis], SH, xi (1967), 375–9

I. Parík: ‘Dynamická umelecká osobnost'’ [A dynamic and creative personality], Hudobný život, xviii/6 (1986), 4

V. Bokes: ‘Oto Ferenczy’, 100 slovenských skladateľov, ed. M. Jurík and P. Zagar (Bratislava, 1998), 90–93


Fergusio, Giovanni Battista

(b Savigliano, Piedmont; fl 1612; d Sardinia). Italian composer. He also held the degree of Doctor of Law. The title-page of his only publication describes him as a musician to the house of Savoy. In the following year, 1613, Serafino Patta of Pavia dedicated a motet to him. His Motetti e dialoghi per concertar (Venice, 1612) is a comprehensive compendium of liturgical music for one to nine voices and continuo, in a mixture of new and not so new styles. The small-scale pieces are more forward-looking: they display the characteristic florid lines and varied rhythms and harmonies of the concertato style. The bass line is fairly lively, which is not true of the recitative style of other church composers such as Alessandro Grandi (i), but there is no feeling for melodic development, and ornaments are not used to shape the melodic line. However, Plorans et lacrimans, for three voices, opens with some striking slow suspensions. The larger pieces in the collection are more transitional in style: in the six-part Omnis terra short passages for two voices, again lacking in melodic polish, alternate with imitative polyphonic tuttis – rather than solid chordal ones – in a 16th-century manner. One of the dialogues of the title is an interesting seven-part Christmas piece, Gloria in altissimis, in which the shepherds and angels are represented by separate blocks of voices. In his preface Fergusio illuminates the contemporary treatment of separated choirs when he remarks that each choir may be united or separated according to the players available and the possibilities of the church. (J. Roche: North Italian Church Music in the Age of Monteverdi, Oxford, 1984)


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