Szabó, Ferenc distinguished Hungarian composer and teacher; b. Budapest, Dec. 27, 1902; d. there, Nov. 4, 1969. He studied with Kodály, Siklós, and Leo Weiner at the Budapest Academy of Music (1922-26). In 1926 he became aligned with the labor movement in Hungary and joined the outlawed Communist party in 1927; in 1932 he went to Russia, where he became closely associated with the ideological work of the Union of Soviet Composers. In 1944 he returned to Hungary as an officer in the Red Army; then was prof, of composition (1945-67) and director (1958-67) of the Budapest Academy of Music. He was awarded the Kossuth Prize in 1951 and 1954, and in 1962 was named an Eminent Artist of the Hungarian People’s Republic. His music initially followed the trends of Central European modernism, with strong undertones of Hungarian melo-rhythms, but later he wrote music in the manner of socialist realism; his choruses are permeated with the militant spirit of the revolutionary movement.
dramatic: Lύdas Matyi, ballet (Budapest, May 16, 1960); Légy jó mindhalálig (Be Faithful until Death), opera (1968-69; completed by A. Borgulya; Dec. 5, 1975). ORCH.: Suite for Chamber Orch. (1926; rev. as Sérénade oubliée, 1964); Class Struggle, symphonic poem (Moscow, April 27, 1933); Sinfonietta for Russian National Instruments (1935); Lyrical Suite for Strings (1936); Moldavian Rhapsody (1940); Hazatérés (Homecoming), concerto (1948); Számadás (Summary), symphonic poem (1949); Emlékezteto (Memento), sym. (1952). CHAMBER: 2 string quartets (1926, 1962); Trio for 2 Violins and Viola (1927); Sonata for Solo Cello (1929); 2 sonatas for Solo Violin (1930); Sonata alia rapsodia for Clarinet and Piano (1964). Piano: Toccata (1928); 8 Easy Piano Pieces (1933); 3 sonatas (1940; 1947; 1957-61); Felszabadult melódiák (Melodies of Liberation), cycle of pieces (1949). VOCAL: Meghalt Lenin (Lenin is Dead), cantata (1933); Foltámadott a tenger (In Fury Rose the Ocean), oratorio (Budapest, June 15, 1955); Vallomás (Declaration) for Chorus, Brass, and Percussion (1967); choruses.
A. Pernye, S. F.(Budapest, 1965); J. Maróthy, S. F. indulása (Budapest, 1970).
—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire