11 Jan Miklós Pászti and the Hungarian State Choir (National Choir)
The Hungarian State Choir was founded in 1985. The core of the choir was the 35-member mixed choir of professional singers who, as part of the Hungarian State Folk Ensemble, travelled all over the world for decades under the leadership of Miklós Pászti. It was under his guidance that the Hungarian State Choir developed into an 80-member group, capable of singing oratorios and a’cappella works, and at the same time becoming one of the three professional concert choirs in Hungary.
The group had its first official performance in the Matthias Church in Budapest on 15 March, 1986, singing works by Liszt, conducted by Miklós Pászti.
Their concert was recieved with appreciation and pleasure both by the public and the musical press. Since their formation the choir has performed musical works such as Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis with Antal Doráti as conductor, as well as the Requiems by Cherubini, Verdi and Dvorak, conducted by Lamberto Gardelli.
They took part it the performance of the 2 nd and 3 nd Symphonies as well as the “Klagendes Lied” by Mahler under the baton of Kobayashi Ken-ichiro. They performed Mozart’s Mass in c minor and Requiem with – among others – Kobayashi Ken-ichiro, Rico Saccani and Zoltán Peskó as conductors, while they song Rossini’s Stabat Mater with Lamberto Gardelli and Dvorak’s Stabat Mater with Jiri Belohlavek as conductors. They gave impressive concert performances of Bartók’s Cantata Profana with Péter Eötvös, Kodály’s Psalmus Hungaricus with Ervin Lukács and Kodály’s Te Deum with Lamberto Gardelli.
By performing oratorios by contemporary Hungarian composers, such as Sándor Balassa’s Kassák Requiem with János Kovács, Zsolt Durkó’s “Halotti beszéd” (Funeral dirge) with Lyonel Friend and Rezső Sugár’s “Hősi ének” (Heroes’ Song) with Ervin Lukács as conductors they have proved that the Hungarian State Choir is also capable of performing – besides classicai works-compositions by contemporary musicians authentically.
The State Choir operates under the authority of the National Philharmony just like the Hungarian State Concert Orchestra. As a result the two groups perform together at most concerts, however, the choir is ready to cooperate with other symphonic orchestras as well.
In 1987 Miklós Pászti, the founding conductor of the choir, became seriously ill, so he handed in his retirement in March, 1988. His death some months later meant a serious loss to the muskallife of Hungary, mainly to the Hungarian State Choir.