1896 · Budapest
Binding slightly worn and soiled; small blue ink stain to upper. Light uniform browning. István király [King István], to a libretto by Antal Váradi after Lajos Dobsa, premiered in Budapest at the Royal Hungarian Opera on March 14, 1885.
While Erkel collaborated with his sons Gyula (1842-1909) and Sándor (1846-1900) on many of his later works, it is not clear how much, if any, of the elder Erkel's music ended up in the final version of the present work. It was extremely popular after its premiere, and had a celebrated production for the 1,000th anniversary of the founding of Hungary.
"Erkel mainly used a major-minor scale system, although there are also elements derived from the Hungarian scale and amalgams of the church modes, besides the whole-tone scale, offering him an opportunity for fresh melodic and harmonic patterns. The music is mostly continuous in a Wagnerian sense, though with organically arising set numbers and large finales, and the orchestra's role approaches a Wagnerian level of relative importance; nevertheless the work is not wholly derivative, but much more an organic transformation of Erkel's own style. The chromaticism and such harmonic elements as 13th chords and chords constructed of superimposed 5ths show a marked similarity to the style of Liszt; the treatment of folk music foreshadows that of Bartók." Dezső Legány in Grove Dictionary of Opera. (Inventory #: 32256)