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Ernő [Ernst] [von] Dohnányi

Ernő Dohnányi (1877-1960)

Nationality: Hungarian
Born: July 27, 1877, Pozsony (now Bratislava)
Died: February 9, 1960, New York (age 82)
wikipedia

Piano Quintet No. 1 in c minor, Op. 1

(for 2 violins, viola, cello and piano)
I. Allegro
II. Scherzo: Allegro vivace
III. Adagio, quasi andante
IV. Finale: Allegro animato - Allegro
Composed: 1895 (age 17-18)
Duration: 30 minutes (approximately)
9 recordings, 28 videos
8:33
Trio Nota Bene, Ashkenasi, Imai
I. Allegro
5:13
Trio Nota Bene, Ashkenasi, Imai
II. Scherzo: Allegro vivace
6:31
Trio Nota Bene, Ashkenasi, Imai
III. Adagio, quasi andante
8:38
Trio Nota Bene, Ashkenasi, Imai
IV. Finale: Allegro animato - Allegro
8:39
Amernet String Quartet, Strezeva
I. Allegro
5:24
Amernet String Quartet, Strezeva
II. Scherzo: Allegro vivace
7:13
Amernet String Quartet, Strezeva
III. Adagio, quasi andante
9:03
Amernet String Quartet, Strezeva
IV. Finale: Allegro animato - Allegro
8:41
Argerich, et. al.
Part 1 of 3
13:43
Argerich, et. al.
Part 2 of 3
8:38
Audubon Quartet, Artymiw
I. Allegro
4:54
Audubon Quartet, Artymiw
II. Scherzo: Allegro vivace
7:58
Audubon Quartet, Artymiw
III. Adagio, quasi andante
8:34
Audubon Quartet, Artymiw
IV. Finale: Allegro animato - Allegro
28:10
Cleveland Quartet
8:24
Ensemble Raro
I. Allegro
4:41
Ensemble Raro
II. Scherzo: Allegro vivace
7:47
Ensemble Raro
III. Adagio, quasi andante
8:16
Ensemble Raro
IV. Finale: Allegro animato - Allegro
8:26
Gottlieb Wallisch, Ensō String Quartet
I. Allegro
5:06
Gottlieb Wallisch, Ensō String Quartet
II. Scherzo: Allegro vivace
7:20
Gottlieb Wallisch, Ensō String Quartet
III. Adagio, quasi andante
8:28
Gottlieb Wallisch, Ensō String Quartet
IV. Finale: Allegro animato - Allegro
30:51
Somogyi Quartet, Stellini
8:42
Zilber, et. el.
I. Allegro
5:05
Zilber, et. el.
II. Scherzo: Allegro vivace
8:00
Zilber, et. el.
III. Adagio, quasi andante
8:37
Zilber, et. el.
IV. Finale: Allegro animato - Allegro

Ernő Dohnányi [Ernst von Dohnanyi], 1877-1960

Piano Quintet in C Minor, Op. 1, 1895

Ernő DohnányiErnő Dohnányi is apt to be the greatest composer you have never heard. He is celebrated as the “greatest” Hungarian “musician” after Franz Liszt, great because his musicianship encompassed his diversity of profound gifts as a epic concert pianist, tireless conductor, superb composer, educator, administrator and ambassador that essentially encapsulated the entirely of Hungarian classical music culture for decades leading up to WWII. Likely owing to his international career and a bit of marketing, he often went by the more German version of his name, Ernst von Dohnanyi without the odd punctuation.

Dohnányi wrote nearly a dozen chamber music masterworks that should be more frequently played. His two most famous works are a Serenade for string trio and this extraordinary piano quintet, the first of two. You might be curious about how classical works often have a funny catalog label in their titles like “Op. 1”. “Op.” stands for the Latin word opus which means “work”, and the number is just used to order the works in a sequence. So, this is essentially Dohnányi’s “work number 1”, his first officially published composition, Dohnányi and the very start of his composing career. Dohnányi, who was only 18 at the time, started with a bang: Brahms looked at the quintet and is supposed to have said “I could not have done it better myself.” The music is often reminiscent of Brahms (who was mostly retired at this point), and perhaps, also, of Dvořák. Throughout the rest of his chamber music, Dohnányi maintains this excellence while expanding into more modern sounds and techniques, even more of the greatest music you have never (yet) heard.




From Edition Silvertrust:

Ernst von Dohnanyi "In 1895, while still at the Budapest Music Academy, Dohnanyi’s first published work, his First Piano Quintet, appeared and was championed by no less an authority than Johannes Brahms. Never known for passing out gratuitous compliments, Brahms, after having had a chance to look at the Quintet remarked, “I could not have written it better myself.” It’s highly unlikely that he ever gave higher praise to anyone or any other work. After hearing it through once, Brahms immediately arranged for a public performance of the Quintet in Vienna and played the piano part himself. It was an immense success."

---Taken from The Chamber Music Journal .

Ernst von Dohnanyi (1877-1960) (Ernö Dohnányi in Hungarian) is generally regarded, after Liszt, as Hungary’s most versatile musician. He was active as a concert pianist, composer, conductor and teacher and must be considered one of the chief influences on Hungary’s musical life in the 20th century. Certainly, his chamber music is very fine, with most of it being in the masterwork category (emphasis earsense). Yet, sadly and inexplicably, it has virtually disappeared from the concert stage. Dohnanyi studied piano and composition in his native Pressburg (Bratislava) before entering the Budapest Academy. Upon graduating in the spring of 1897, Dohnanyi embarked on a dazzling career as a concert artist, often playing in chamber ensembles. Later, he also devoted considerable time to teaching and conducting.

Ernst von Dohnanyi The opening movement to the quintet, Allegro, begins with a broad, spacious theme. The music is full of expectation and portents of great things to come. The strings then take over and bring the music to its first emotional high. The opening bars of the restless second movement, Scherzo, allegro vivace, remind one of a furiant, a Czech dance of the kind Dvořák often employed. The lovely trio has a vocal quality to it. The scherzo is followed by a very lovely Adagio quasi andante. The presentation of the entire main theme is entrusted to the viola alone with a soft piano accompaniment in the background. The theme has a valedictory and elegiac mood. There is an unmistakable sense of leave-taking, of farewell. The first violin then joins in and the theme is set as a duet, and with the entrace of the cello, the music becomes even more beautiful. The imaginative finale is literally pregnant with ideas. The opening theme to the Allegro animato in 5/4 bursts forth in a triumphant fashion. Particularly fine is the waltz-like second theme introduced by the cello. Out of this, Dohnanyi creates a fugue—but this is not a dry, academic ordinary fugue but a wonderful, lyrical one of the most astonishing beauty.

This is a masterpiece of the first order. Professional ensembles would do well to bring it with them into the concert hall and amateurs will relish the opportunity to play a work well within their grasp. We have reprinted the beautifully laid out original edition (unlike the modern reprint from another publisher) at a very affordable price in hopes players will be enticed to make the acquaintance of this marvelous work.

© Edition Silvertrust. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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