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Ballet Suite for Wind Orchestra by LÁSZLÓ DUBROVAY (Hungary, 1943)

[#219] October 02, 2023

2021 | Wind Orchestra | Grade 5 | 15’-20’ | Suite

Hungarian composer László Dubrovay

In celebration of the 80th anniversary of Hungarian composer László Dubrovay, Ballet Suite, is our Composition of the Week.

The musical material of this suite comes from his two acts’ ballet “Faust, the Damned”, who was written in 1995.

He has composed four orchestral suites that ballet in 1996, which have also been released on record and can be performed in concert halls; as well as a suite for wind orchestra in 1997.

The latter was premiered on November 16, 1997, at the Hungarian Radio of Budapest, by Wind Band of the Customs and Finance Guard.

It calls for the following instrumentation:


Ballet suite has duration of 15 minutes, and it is structured in 4 movements.

I.Marsch – II.Mirroir, pas de deux – III.Aphrodite’s Farewell IV.Finale (pub scene)

Curiously, the world première of the complete ballet would be an event of the Budapest Spring Festival at Müpa Bartók Béla National Concert Hall on 22 April 2016, more than 20 years after its composition.

Dubrovay considers his ballet ‘Faust the Damned’ to be one of his most important and monumental works, which was commissioned by the Hungarian State Opera in 1995. Its story follows the Part One and Part Two of Goethe's masterpiece Faust; and like that philosophical drama, the music of this piece also strives for an encyclopedic thoroughness.

“All I know about the apparatus of contemporary music is in there,” said the composer once.

Production choreographer and director Balázs Vincze thinks Dubrovay’s vision of Faust is “monumental, its story worked out in great detail; it is astonishingly colorful, you can almost visualize the composition without the dance: the composer’s personality is at least as inspiring as Faust’s wanderings, loves and descent into hell.”

“Is damnation possible at the end of an honest, exemplary life? Can the forces of evil be victorious?” asks László Dubrovay. “This is the question addressed by this dance drama, whose music is one of the most extensive ballet compositions of the past seventy years. The dramaturgy of the plot allowed me to create a great many kinds of moods, and musical material rich in gestures and movements, all of which serves, together with the way dance and motion communicate, a harmonious presentation on the stage.”

László Dubrovay was born in Budapest on 23 March 1943. He studied composition with István Szelényi, Ferenc Szabó and Imre Vincze at the Budapest Academy of Music, graduating in 1966. Dubrovay continued his studies on a DAAD scholarship in West Germany (1972-1974), studying composition with Karlheinz Stockhausen and electronic music with Hans-Ulrich Rumpert.

In 1975, he was commissioned by Westdeutscher Rundfunk, Cologne, to create the electronic composition Sóhaj (Sigh) in the electronic studios of WDR. Between 1976 and 2008, he taught music theory at the Budapest Academy of Music. In 1985, he spent a year in West Berlin within the framework of the Berliner Künstlerprogramm. László Dubrovay has composed electronic and computer music in the electronic studios of WDR, the West Berlin University of Technology, Freiburg, Stockholm, Bourges, and Budapest.

His work for organ “Délivrance”, won first prize in 1973 at Szczecin, Poland. “Succession”, for orchestra, received second prize in 1974 in Triest.

Other distinctions and awards are the Erkel Prize (1985, 1975); Bartók-Pásztory Award (1996); Artist of Merit of the Hungarian People’s Republic (1998); Hungarian Arts Award (2001); Artisjus Prize (2006); Kossuth Prize (2013)


Other works for winds include:

  • Deserts (1989)

  • Psychographic No.2 (1990)

  • Triplekonzert, for trumpet, trombone, and tuba (1991)

  • March (1991)

  • Buzzing Polka (1992)

  • Suite “Il ricatto” (1992)

  • Little Suite (2005)

  • Spring Symphony (2009)


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