Lajtha’s music shows both Hungarian folk and French impressionist influences. Bartok once said that Kodaly, Lajtha, and himself were the leaders of modern music in Hungary. But Lajtha is unquestionably Hungary’s most important composer of symphonies. He wrote nine in all, as follows: No.1, op.24 (1936); No.2, op.27 (1938); No.3, op.45 (1948); No.4 ‘Printemps’, op.52 (1951); No.5, op.55 (1952); No.6, op.61 (1955); No.7 ‘Autumn (Revolution)', op.63 (1957); No.8, op.66 (1959); No.9 (1961).
- Two Sinfoniettas for strings - No.1, op.43 (1946); No.2, op.62
- Opera Buffa: The Blue Hat, op.51 (1948-50)
- Mass: Missa in diebus tribulationis, op.50 (1950)
- Ballets: The Grove of the Four Gods (1943)(from which orchestral Suite No.2, op.38); Capriccio (1944)(from which three Suites de Ballet, op.39)
- Incidental Music to the ‘Lysistrata’ of Aristophanes, op.19 (1933) (from which Overture, and Suite No.1 for orchestra)
- Other Orchestral Works: Hortobagy, op.21 (1930s); In Memoriam, op.35 (1941); Variations for Orchestra, op.44 (composed as music for film of TS Eliot’s ‘Murder in the Cathedral’, 1947); Shapes and Forms, film music, op.48 (1949); Suite No.3 for orchestra, op.56 (1953)
László Karpati Goettler <akas1122hotmail.com> adds: Lajtha has written 10 stringquartetts and another mass, a Missa Choralis (in 1951/53?) too. Performed in 1963 in the franciscane church in Budapest. The composer listened - he lived near to the church - the performances till his last days (I’ve been one of the choir-members). Conductor: Rev. Dr. Laszlo Bucsi, Organ: Ferenc Gergely, O.Fr.
Lajtha studied in Budapest, Leipzig, Geneva and finally Paris (as a pupil of Vincent d’Indy in 1914). He collected folk-music and after war service taught in Budapest. He was connected with the League of Nations until the outbreak of World War 2; after the war he became director of music for Hungarian Radio but was evicted from his post by the Communist regime, who tended to suppress his music. He kept many contacts with France and was the only Hungarian composer - apart from Liszt - to be elected a member of the Academie des Beaux-Arts.