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Mátyás Seiber Ulysses



Born in Budapest on 4 May 1905, Seiber began to learn the cello at the age of ten. He studied composition at the Budapest Academy of Music under Kodály from 1919 to 1924. In 1925 he entered his Serenade for wind sextet in a Budapest competition and when it failed to win the prize, Bartók resigned from the jury in protest. In 1935 Seiber settled in London, where he founded the Dorian Singers and helped Francis Chagrin to found the Society for the Promotion of New Music. He taught at Morley College and privately and his pupils included Don Banks, Peter Racine Fricker, Anthony Gilbert, Malcolm Lipkin, David Lumsdaine, Anthony Milner and Hugh Wood. Seiber stayed in touch with continental musical developments and frequently attended the International Society for Contemporary Music’s festivals, several of which featured his own compositions. On 24 September 1960, at the age of 55, he was killed in a car crash in South Africa during a lecturing tour of the country’s universities. At the time of his tragically early death, Seiber was one of the most respected teachers of composition in Britain. His own body of work is distinguished by a natural versatility and by the wide range and eclecticism of his musical interests. It incorporates the successful pop song By the Fountains of Rome (1956), which entered the top ten of the charts and won an Ivor Novello Award, and his score for the animated film Animal Farm(1954), as well as numerous examples of incidental music for radio, television, and the stage.

Mátyás Seiber Ulysses


"Joyce's writings are difficult to set, possibly because there's so much music in them already. But Seiber shows it's possible in these distinctive pieces, well-executed and confidently performed." BBC Music Magazine, Oct 2015

“As is the norm with this label, Lyrita’s high artistic quality and superb sound are very much in evidence. Excellent, informative annotations are provided by Hugh Wood, Paul Conway and Alan Gibbs, whose article ‘Seiber’s Joyce Cantatas’, published on the MusicWeb International site, provides insightful and scholarly context. Texts for Ulysses and the Three Fragments are supplied. Each of these performances is delivered with purposeful intensity and commitment, and all concerned prove worthy advocates of these alluring scores. This stimulating release offers much food for thought, and is seriously worth a punt… A stimulating release that offers much food for thought, and is seriously worth a punt.” Stephen Greenbank,

'Ulysses and Three Fragments from 'A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man' attest to Seiber's very real gift for word-painting and searching poetic instinct and frame the moving Elegy for solo viola and small orchestra.' Gramophone, August 2015

'This is a disc that should reawaken interest in a great but sadly short-lived composer, with excellent performances, recorded some years ago but with no need to apologise for the sound. It is well presented with good notes and the full texts. This must surely be one of the most important discs of neglected music issued by Lyrita. That's saying a great deal.' John Sheppard,