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Aladar Rado

Aladár Radó was born on 26 December 1882 in Budapest (Hungary). He began to play the piano at the age of 4 and since 1904 studied composition under Hans Koessler at the Royal National Hungarian Academy of Music. In 1908 Hans Koessler retired and Aladár Radó continued his studies under Leo Weiner. His first composition - a Suite, a string quartet, the symphony "Petőfi" and the symphonic poem "The little tavern at the end of the village" - received immediate performances and Aladár Radó was one of the most promising young Hungarian composers of his time together with other Koessler students like Bela Bartok or Zoltan Kodaly. He received the Hungarian State fellowship, a Bayreuth fellowship, the Franz-Liszt-fellowship of Budapest, and the Franz-Joseph-fellowship which allowed Aladár Radó to move to Berlin. There he continued to compose and created the opera "The black cavalier" (on words of Heinrich Lilienfein) which was performed several times in Germany and Austria and brought him great success. Aladár Radó also composed for the theatres of Max Reinhardt and was the designated principal conductor of the Reinhard Theatres with a contract starting on 1 September 1914. But in July 1914 the World War I broke out and Aladár Radó immediately enlisted for military service and was sent as a reserve officier to the front line in Serbia. He was killed on 9 September 1914 in Boljevci near Belgrade. The stepdaughter of philosopher Constantin Brunner knew Aladár Radó closely and wrote in her published diary about the last moments of the composer: "Paul Neubauer retold us the report of an eyewitness, that Aladar Rado stormed the enemy lines of machine guns in such a naive, outmoded valour with his pulled out saber and the words "Hurrah Eljen!" like the old Hungarian heros, and his company followed enthusiastically. A head shot struck him down immediately."


Aladár Radó was a prolific composer and left dozens of unpublished compositions in his estate. The four years of World War I and his death let his music fell into oblivion. It is known that Bela Bartok asked his own publisher, the Universal Edition, in 1922 to have a look into the compositions of Aladár Radó and contemplate a publication. Bartok wrote: "I don't want to exert influence on your final decision of course, all the less I don't know these compositions. But what I know of Aladar Rado is just, that he had a massive knowledge and was a favourite student of professor Koessler."


In my possession is the autograph manuscript of the "Frühlingslied (Spring song), for violin and piano" by Aladar Rado. The small composition was composed in March 1906 and is dedicated to someone called "Bela".

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