A Memorial Album: Ernst von Dohnanyi Plays His Own Music For Piano (1960/2013) High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 24bit/192kHz
Сomposer: Ernst von Dohnányi (1877-1960)
Artist: Ernst von Dohnányi
Title: A Memorial Album: Ernst von Dohnányi Plays His Own Music For Piano
Label: © Everest Records | Countdown Media GmbH
Release Date: 1960/2013
Quality: High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 192kHz/24bit
Recorded and played by Ernst von Dohnányi – January, 1960
On February 5, 1960, Ernst von Dohnanyi, one of the great composers and piano virtuosi of the twentieth century, was busily engaged in the New York studios of Everest Records, making recordings of music by Beethoven. Shortly thereafter, he suffered a heart attack, followed by an attack of influenza. Four days later he was dead. Thus, the music he recorded for Everest represents the very last performances by this remarkable artist. At eighty-two, an age when most musicians have long since retired, Dohnanyi, as these recordings will attest, still possessed a commanding technique, an enormous tone and an authoritative interpretive style.
The music which Dohnanyi recorded here offers a representative cross-section of his art as composer and pianist. Ruralia Hungarica, dating from 1924, is a suite of seven pieces for piano, based on authentic Hungarian folk material. Later, Dohnanyi arranged five of these pieces for orchestra and three for violin and piano. The Three Pieces, Op. 23, were written about ten years earlier. The Etudes de Concert, Op. 28, were composed in 1916. There are six in all, the three recorded here constituting Book 2. Of these, No.6, the Capriccio in F Minor, is the most popular of all Dohnanyi’s works for the piano. The Rhapsody in F sharp Minor is the second of four Rhapsodies, Op. 11. The composer said that he wrote them with the movements of a sonata in mind, and frequently performed them consecutively. Concluding this program is Dohnanyi’s brilliant pianistic transcription of the Treasure Waltz from the operetta The Gypsy Baron by the “Waltz King,” Johann Strauss, the Younger.
Among the dominant figures in Hungarian music during the first half of the twentieth century, pianist, composer, and conductor Ernst von Dohnányi is still regarded as the most versatile musician to emerge from that country since Franz Liszt. Dohnányi was born in present-day Bratislava in 1877, where he received his earliest musical instruction (piano and the rudiments of theory) from a local church organist and friend of the family. Entering the Budapest Academy in 1894, Dohnányi studied piano with Thóman and composition with Koessler for three years before making his 1898 debut as a pianist in London (under the baton of Hans Richter). Dohnányi's astounding skills at the keyboard earned him quick recognition throughout the musical establishment, even as his early compositions began to win approval. Brahms himself organized the Vienna premiere of Dohnányi's 1895 Piano Quintet in C minor, Op. 1 (despite its opus, the work is not the composer's first, following some 70 earlier efforts), and in 1899 his Piano Concerto, Op. 5, won the Bösendorfer Prize for piano composition.
At Joachim's invitation Dohnányi served on the faculty of the Berlin Hochschule from 1905 to 1915, after which he returned to Budapest to take a more active part in his homeland's musical development. Traditionally, the majority of Hungarian musical talent left the homeland for training and careers in the more financially and culturally rewarding European careers. Hoping to curb this trend, Dohnányi committed himself to the cause of then-lesser-known Hungarian composers such as Bartók and Kodály, and, in doing so, changed the landscape of Hungarian music forever. These years were busy indeed: in addition to his own activities as a composer and as a professor of piano at the Budapest Academy, Dohnányi maintained a hectic performance schedule including over 100 annual appearances in Budapest alone!
Ousted from the Academy in 1919 by the new fascist regime, Dohnányi took to the podium, first as chief conductor for the Budapest Philharmonic Society (1919-1944) and later with the New York State Symphony Orchestra as well (1925 on). His concert career slowed somewhat during the 1930s (owing to persistent illness), and he returned to the Academy as director in 1934, but when the Second World War erupted, Dohnányi chose to resign from the Academy rather than conform to its anti-Semitic demands. Dohnányi refused to dismiss members of his Budapest orchestra on racial or religious grounds, and eventually disbanded the Philharmonic to avoid such action. Frustrated by the state of affairs in his homeland during the early 1940s, he relocated to Austria in 1944 (a highly criticized move which would later make reappearance on the international music scene difficult) and, in 1949, accepted a position at Florida State College in Tallahassee. Dohnányi continued to perform and conduct on a limited basis until his death in 1960.
Although his reputation as one of the century's greatest pianists is secure, Dohnányi's fame as a composer has suffered from the whims and fancies of the twentieth century. Heavily influenced by Brahms during his youth (most noticeably in the first Piano Quintet), Dohnányi soon developed a style which owes more to the noble structures of German Classicism than to late Romantic or early twentieth century aesthetics (and unlike Bartók or Kodály, owes very little to eastern European folk music). While his output includes entries in virtually every genre (including three operas and two symphonies, the first very early and the second relatively late, from 1901 and 1943 respectively), it is his masterful chamber music, particularly the three string quartets and two piano quintets, which remains vital to the repertoire. --Artist Biography by Blair Johnston
Ernst von Dohnányi (1877-1960)
Ruralia Hungarica, Op. 32a
1 No. 1: Allegretto, molto tenero 02:07
2 No. 3: Andante poco moto, rubato 06:24
3 No. 4: Vivace 02:53
4 No. 5: Allegro grazioso 01:50
5 No. 7: Molto vivace 01:57
Three Pieces, Op. 23
6 I. Aria 04:02
7 II. Valse Impromptu 03:46
8 III. Capriccio 03:13
Etudes de Concert, Op. 28
9 No. 4 in B-flat Minor 05:38
10 No. 5 in E Major 03:37
11 No. 6 in F Minor (Capriccio) 02:32
12 Rhapsody in F-sharp Minor, Op. 11, No. 2 06:30
Johann Strauss (Son), arr. by Ernst von Dohnányi
The Gypsy Baron („Der Zigeunerbaron“)
13 Treasure Waltz („Schatzwalzer“), arr. for Piano 06:33
Ernst von Dohnányi, piano
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