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By Kevin Bazzana

Born in Budapest in 1903, Ervin Nyiregyházi (nyeer-edge-hah-zee) was once composing at , giving his first public recital at six, and acting in all places Europe by means of 8. He was once quickly famous as some of the most outstanding baby prodigies in background and have become the topic of a four-year examine via a psychologist. by way of twenty-five, he had all yet disappeared. Mismanaged, exploited, and insistent on an intensely Romantic variety, his occupation foundered in maturity and he was once lowered to penury. In 1928, he settled in l. a., the place he played sporadically and labored in Hollywood. Psychologically, he remained a baby, and located the normal calls for of everyday life hard — he struggled even to decorate himself. He drank seriously, used to be insatiable sexually (he married ten times), and lived in abject poverty, but such used to be his expertise and air of mystery that he numbered between his buddies and champions Rudolph Valentino, Harry Houdini, Theodore Dreiser, Bela Lugosi, and Gloria Swanson. Rediscovered within the Nineteen Seventies, he loved a sensational and debatable renaissance. Kevin Bazzana explores the bright yet afflicted brain of a geniune Romantic adrift within the smooth age. the tale he tells is among the so much attention-grabbing - and weird - within the historical past of music.

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His domestic was once continuously choked with humans, and he entertained lavishly. He loved painters, dancers, writers, yet had unique affection for musicians. Nyiregyházi frequently played at his events, notwithstanding he was once continuously taken care of as an honoured visitor, now not because the leisure. yet even in such congenial atmosphere, he needed to be fortified with the intention to triumph over his shyness. After arriving at Lugosi’s, he wanted a number of stiff beverages within the kitchen prior to he might even face a roomful of individuals, by no means brain play for them. together with his inhibitions loosened, although, he may perhaps play lengthy into the evening - continually critical song, occasionally his personal works or improvisations. Lugosi’s biographer Robert Cremer defined one functionality at a celebration in 1935: His gaunt body swayed to the cascading rhythm of his palms at the keyboard as he opened his live performance with Rhapsody in Blue, Bela’s favourite piece. After that, he drifted into a few of his personal compositions, which mirrored his personal frenetic character and perfect a night with the grasp of horror. Concerto in Blood rolled around the room like a fog around the moors after which rose the complete tales to the beamed ceiling. Imperceptibly, Ervin’s spirit grew to become misplaced in his track because it reached a crescendo. His arms have been like flashes of lightning, globules of perspiration beaded his brow, his physique writhed in an uncanny choreography to his track. Mercilessly, his arms pounded out the anguished notes till the faintest lines of blood seemed at the keys; Ervin had reached communion together with his musical soul, his focus measured through the depth of the crimson splotches around the ivory keyboard. Bela sat along with his eyes closed, his head swaying to the musical insanity coming from the live performance grand. He observed the blood-stained keys because the signal of a genius that he shared with few different artists. whereas overwrought, the anecdote captures the occasionally terrifying depth of Nyiregyházi’s taking part in whilst he felt encouraged. Bela G. Lugosi, the actor’s son, born in 1938 and at the present time a attorney in l. a., nonetheless recalls sneaking up and about and peering down from upstairs as Nyiregyházi performed on the backside of the winding staircase, and recalls, too, the blood at the keys. Duci de Kerékjártó’s ex-wife Marie instructed Cremer, “Bela loved Ervin, simply because he thought of Ervin a guy of extreme focus and commitment like himself. They have been rather kindred spirits, simply because every one had a slightly of real genius. Even the blood at the keys of the piano used to be an indication to Bela that Ervin had a unprecedented present of thought like himself. It was once anything you needed to see to think, notwithstanding. Very unsettling. ” Lugosi constructed nice affection for Ervin, and sometimes invited him for intimate dinners at his condominium or at neighborhood Hungarian eating places. He defended Nyiregyházi’s ingesting and carousing as prerogatives of a real “character” and an exceptional artist who had continued a lot discomfort. Lugosi as soon as truly expressed disgrace that he had rather a lot repute and cash whereas his pal, a far higher artist, had so little.

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