The sly students

In 1949, the Budapest Opera House gave me a commission that filled me with joy: they asked me to compose the music for a ballet entitled The Sly Students (Furfangos diákok).

I had one month to write the score : as soon as I had composed a few pages, I immediately sent them to the copyist and, as I had no longer at home what I had already written , I had to re-instrument the recurrent passages.

But what I didn’t know was that a first music, by Miklós Laurisin, had already accompanied this ballet a few years before. So during the dress rehearsal it was very uncomfortable for me to see him sitting next to me. — Ferenc Farkas

The ballet’s première took place in the Budapest Opera House

on 19 June 1949.

Farkas adapted his ballet music into a orchestral suite the same year, which would be transcripted for wind orchestra by Tony Kurmann in 2014.

The plot

The director of Debrecen College, Professor Horváth, intends his daughter, Rózsika, to marry Józsi, the son of the town treasurer. But she’s in love with Adám, a poor student.

To make a joke, Adám removes a boot from a teacher asleep on a bench and walks off by brandishing it. The teacher summons the students to find out who is the author of the farce and Józsi denounces Adám, his rival.

Wanting to punish him, his classmates bring wine. Józsi drinks as long as he rolls under the table. The drunken boy is transported in a comic funeral march to the house of Rózsika’s father.

Nothing can hinder the happiness of love anymore.