Lavotta Suite

During my research into the field of Hungarian Baroque I discovered some fragments, airs and melodies written by the violinist János Lavotta (1764–1820). These seemed so interesting that I thought to create a work in the style of the Hungarian early Biedermeier period.

I am not the first contemporary composer to play with styles from earlier times. This pasticcio is never ironic and contains no ‘wrong’ or ‘foreign’ tones. I have really tried to shape the simple but original motifs in the way that Lavotta would have done, had he been of the level of composition of his contemporary masters. We know that Lavotta studied but briefly in Vienna, and yet his minuets and his German dances (having no upbeat) are rhythmically and melodically anchored in the Hungarian musical tradition.

“Lavotta Suite”, in the form of a divertissement, was composed in 1951 for orchestra. In 1967, I adapted the work for wind quintet with the title “Lavottiana”.

— Ferenc Farkas