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The Music Room => Composer Discussion => Topic started by: Scarpia on November 26, 2010, 11:25:50 AM

Title: Ernst von Dohnányi (1877-1960)
Post by: Scarpia on November 26, 2010, 11:25:50 AM
The early works of this composer are often remarked to show strong influence of Brahms.  His later works become more modern and personal.  Most of his efforts seem to have gone to performance, so the list of compositions he has left for us is not enormous, but I find all of his works to be of high quality.  These include two symphonies, piano concerti, violin concerti, a cello concerto and some interesting chamber music.  Recently listened to a wonderful serenade for string trio, and two Quintets for piano and strings (Schubert Ensemble, on Hyperion).   I didn't find a tread dedicated to this composer, so I thought I would put my comments here, instead of the WAYLT thread.

The first piano quintet sounds like it could have been written by a young Brahms, the first movement in particular begins with a sweeping theme with wistful, dissonant harmony.  The second piano quintet, written 20 years later, is more compact, and overtly expressive, but in a more modern way.  The string trio seems to carry forward the tradition of Mozart, whose serenade for string trio, like Dohnanyi's, is more substantial that the light instrumentation and character would suggest.  It is all music which uses tradition tonality in an inventive way.

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51l-AmCeQZL._SL500_AA300_.jpg)
Title: Re: Ernst von Dohnányi (1877-1960)
Post by: The new erato on November 26, 2010, 11:28:49 AM
In the "listening to" thread I've repeatedly recommended the wonderful 3 disc series of the complete chamber music on Praga.
Title: Re: Ernst von Dohnányi (1877-1960)
Post by: Scarpia on November 27, 2010, 09:42:28 AM
I've had my eye on those releases for a while, a complication being that they are not widely distributed in the US, which means I must organize myself to investigate the overseas sellers.

Listened to the second quintet again.  A really special work.  The first quintet made an immediate impression because it channeled Brahms so clearly it seemed immediately familiar.  Listening to the second quartet again, it reveals itself as the more interesting work.  Several things struck me, including the second movement (an intermezzo) which effortless shifts moods between sentimentality, playfulness, and vigour.  The finals is also a marvel.  It opens with an academic-sounding fugato for strings which halts and yields to a choral-style passage on the piano.  From there on there is a succession of moods, using the same basic thematic material but ranging from playful and melodic, to anxious and strained, to a luminous catharsis, and a soft closing.

I must hear more music from this composer.
Title: Re: Ernst von Dohnányi (1877-1960)
Post by: springrite on November 27, 2010, 09:52:22 AM
I've had my eye on those releases for a while, a complication being that they are not widely distributed in the US.

One of the PRAGA discs is available at BRO:

Dohnanyi, Piano Quintet #1, Op.1; Piano Quintet #2, Op.33; Cello Sonata, Op.8. (Michal Kanka, cello. Jaromir Klepac, piano. Kocian String Quartet. Total time: 80'. SACD: Hybrid Super-Audio disc) $8.99
Title: Re: Ernst von Dohnányi (1877-1960)
Post by: Scarpia on November 27, 2010, 09:55:42 AM
One of the PRAGA discs is available at BRO:

Dohnanyi, Piano Quintet #1, Op.1; Piano Quintet #2, Op.33; Cello Sonata, Op.8. (Michal Kanka, cello. Jaromir Klepac, piano. Kocian String Quartet. Total time: 80'. SACD: Hybrid Super-Audio disc) $8.99

Yes, I saw that.  Trouble is, that encourages me to pad the order to make the shipping charge more palatable, which is the sort of incentive that puts you into the position of Greece and Ireland.   :'(  I don't think Merkel will agree to bail me out. 
Title: Re: Ernst von Dohnányi (1877-1960)
Post by: The new erato on November 27, 2010, 09:58:07 AM
Yes, I saw that.  Trouble is, that encourages me to pad the order to make the shipping charge more palatable, which is the sort of incentive that puts you into the position of Greece and Ireland.   :'(  I don't think Merkel will agree to bail me out.
Perhaps if you promise to work until you're 80.
Title: Re: Ernst von Dohnányi (1877-1960)
Post by: Brahmsian on November 27, 2010, 09:58:30 AM
I must hear more music from this composer.

Same here!  I've only heard the Serenade for String Trio (absolutely love it), and the Violin Concerto, which I also really enjoyed.  Must hear those quintets.
Title: Re: Ernst von Dohnányi (1877-1960)
Post by: lescamil on November 27, 2010, 10:29:27 AM
Of course, the two piano concertos and the Variations on a Nursery Theme are worth checking out. Dohnányi, being a pianist, really knew how to write for his instrument. The first concerto is a really nice relic of Brahmsian/Wagnerian romanticism with some really nice melodic development. The second concerto could not be more of a contrast, with its Bartókian angularity and bouncy finale. The Variations are a hilarious classic that surely would have had his crowd rolling in their seats in the 1910s.
Title: Re: Ernst von Dohnányi (1877-1960)
Post by: Scarpia on November 27, 2010, 10:40:27 AM
The Variations are a hilarious classic that surely would have had his crowd rolling in their seats in the 1910s.

Perhaps, but I heard that piece for the first time perhaps 10 years ago and it left me with no desire to hear anything else by Dohnanyi.  (A Katchen recording turned up as a filler on a disc with other music.)   The chamber music has proven to be a revelation.  In my mind, he is similar to Enescu, who also produced a small body of works which are of high quality, if not stunning originality.

The fact that he didn't write too much makes him an attractive project.  In contrast to Weinberg, for instance, who also resides on the boundary between competent composer and "genius" but who wrote symphonies, quartets, concerti, literally by the dozen, which requires you to sort through a lot of uninspired stuff the find the few gems.
Title: Re: Ernst von Dohnányi (1877-1960)
Post by: Luke on November 27, 2010, 12:33:05 PM
Perhaps, but I heard that piece for the first time perhaps 10 years ago and it left me with no desire to hear anything else by Dohnanyi.  (A Katchen recording turned up as a filler on a disc with other music.)   The chamber music has proven to be a revelation.  In my mind, he is similar to Enescu, who also produced a small body of works which are of high quality, if not stunning originality.

Enescu? Not original? I find that a hard statement to credit, given that there are no other composers with music remotely like that of the mature Enescu (2nd, 3rd Symphonies, 3rd Orchestral Suite, Vox Maris, 3rd Violin Sonata, most of the chamber music....). Anyway, back to the topic....
Title: Re: Ernst von Dohnányi (1877-1960)
Post by: vandermolen on November 28, 2010, 12:28:26 PM
I like the Symphony No 2 (Chandos), especially its moving quotation from Bach. Dohnanyi's son was executed for being implicated in the plot to blow up Hitler in 1944.
Title: Re: Ernst von Dohnányi (1877-1960)
Post by: Brian on May 18, 2011, 01:38:06 AM
Just listened to the Sextet again and am, as always, completely floored by its big-hearted tunes and outrageously clever writing. A few of the episodes in the finale get me to very nearly laugh out loud. All I know of Dohnányi is the Sextet and the Serenade for string trio - what other works should I look into to hear him at his most idiosyncratic and, if at all possible, at his wittiest?
Title: Re: Ernst von Dohnányi (1877-1960)
Post by: Florestan on May 18, 2011, 02:41:56 AM
Try the piano concertos.
Title: Re: Ernst von Dohnányi (1877-1960)
Post by: cilgwyn on May 18, 2011, 03:18:45 AM
Regarding Dohnanyi's son. Is this the assassination attempt where the bomb was placed behind a pillar? I just happened to turn over to the 'yesterday channel' (freeview). Apparently there were at least 40-41 attempts on Hitler's life (such a popular bloke!). In this instance Hitler just happened to deliver a shorter than usual speech. I didn't see the end of the programme & I suppose some horrible fate befell the poor bloke who made the bomb.
Nice to see a Dohnanyi thread. A very underrated composer. I remember being in the late lamented 'Swales music centre' in Haverfordwest & they had the famous variations on the record player with Entremont playing. I had never heard it before & we asked what it was. In the event I bought the Lp & I've loved it ever since,although I'm not sure the Entremont was one of the best versions. Nevertheless,I enjoyed it at the time & it was my first encounter. I don't have the Entremont anymore but I'm sure it was more fun than my Chandos recording (not that there's anything wrong with it!)
Title: Re: Ernst von Dohnányi (1877-1960)
Post by: Lethevich on May 18, 2011, 02:19:03 PM
Try the piano concertos.

Those are as witty as a stranded whale ;) Lovely stuff, though.
Title: Re: Ernst von Dohnányi (1877-1960)
Post by: springrite on May 18, 2011, 02:30:18 PM
Those are as witty as a stranded whale ;) Lovely stuff, though.

Love the Stranded Whale description which seems very appropriate for most of his orchestral stuff, though they are good works nontheless. But the chamber music is something else. I find most of his orchestral works too heavy and needs someone to thin them out. But the chamber music and the solo in his concerti are wonderful stuff.  Much better.
Title: Re: Ernst von Dohnányi (1877-1960)
Post by: lescamil on May 18, 2011, 03:42:42 PM
Those are as witty as a stranded whale ;) Lovely stuff, though.

You're kidding, right? The second piano concerto has some great witty moments in it, particularly the underhandedly cheeky third movement. The first concerto is total Brahms, though. Both are very great to listen to and have some juicy piano writing that would be very fun to play, no doubt. These two concertos are some of my all time favorite piano concertos.
Title: Re: Ernst von Dohnányi (1877-1960)
Post by: Lethevich on May 18, 2011, 03:51:46 PM
Non - the enormous first in particular I found leaden, although it looks like I should give the second another try.
Title: Re: Ernst von Dohnányi (1877-1960)
Post by: cilgwyn on May 19, 2011, 09:31:31 AM
The symphonies are good fun if you want an ott blockbuster. But after one play each they seem to mysteriously stay in the box! Some exciting if flashy orchestration but  curiously unmemorable. Gliere and Korngold did that kind of thing so much better! On second thoughts 'underrated' WAS going a little too far. A rush of blood to the head or 'rose tinted ear oles' perhaps? The Variations are worth a spin now & again,but I have to say my adolescent enthusiasm has long since ebbed away. Yes,the music is very clever and witty,but somehow superficial. His chamber music sounds af it might be more interesting.

NB: Back tracking like this over my initial enthusiasm DOES make me feel a bit like Glenda Slag,but I rather think
       LD Shostakovich knows what he's talking about here!
Title: Re: Ernst von Dohnányi (1877-1960)
Post by: snyprrr on May 19, 2011, 05:53:07 PM
I've had my eye on those releases for a while, a complication being that they are not widely distributed in the US, which means I must organize myself to investigate the overseas sellers.

Listened to the second quintet again.  A really special work.  The first quintet made an immediate impression because it channeled Brahms so clearly it seemed immediately familiar.  Listening to the second quartet again, it reveals itself as the more interesting work.  Several things struck me, including the second movement (an intermezzo) which effortless shifts moods between sentimentality, playfulness, and vigour.  The finals is also a marvel.  It opens with an academic-sounding fugato for strings which halts and yields to a choral-style passage on the piano.  From there on there is a succession of moods, using the same basic thematic material but ranging from playful and melodic, to anxious and strained, to a luminous catharsis, and a soft closing.

I must hear more music from this composer.

I wasn't going to comment on this Thread, because my only exposure to EvonD is that fairly cheap recording of the PQ Op.1 and the string trio Serenade, and, frankly, it's just the kind of Romantic/Brahmsian, and latterly neoMozartean music, that I really just don't care for.

So, I was going to try that Hyperion disc, and I skipped through the first mvmts. of those pieces, and then went straight to the PQ No.2. I had some idea that Dohnanyi, and Enescu, and Respighi, and such like, had an early phase, with a Later, more Modern phase, and so I thought at least that PQ No.2 would be... something.

First of all, I was expecting it to be from the 50s, a la Enescu, but, we're talking 1914, and, it's a singular work in his WorksList. And so, it begins...

And those low notes harken for good things to come,... and then, when that 'Opening' happens, from there, every note is Beautiful. The Intermezzo 2nd mvmt. is very strangely profane,... it definitely takes a few listens to get this,... and then the last mvmt., as you say (and some online reviews), really really puts things together in such a superbly mystical (yet clear and fresh sounding) way at the end.

I love how it didn't really hit you until the second post. This piece is seducing like that,... the SinkingIn Effect. I unhesitatingly claim this as Dohnanyi's Masterpiece! :-* :-* :-* A Perfect Alternative to Bartok, just as Profound.

I was holding on to hope that I would StrikeGold at this source, and Lo!

Now, does Suk have anything comparable?
Title: Re: Ernst von Dohnányi (1877-1960)
Post by: cilgwyn on May 20, 2011, 03:07:29 AM
That 'Sextet' sounds very tempting. I wonder what recording you are referring to Brian?
Title: Re: Ernst von Dohnányi (1877-1960)
Post by: Brian on May 20, 2011, 07:15:04 AM
That 'Sextet' sounds very tempting. I wonder what recording you are referring to Brian?



It's magnif! :)
Title: Re: Ernst von Dohnányi (1877-1960)
Post by: cilgwyn on May 20, 2011, 01:02:00 PM
Thanks. I wondered if it was a Naxos disc. I've been thinking  about trying his chamber music for some time. I wonder if this is the only recording of the 'Sextet? Although,I don't think I'll look because with all that temptation on the internet I'll probably buy another wagon load of cd's  (eg every cd of Dohnanyi's chamber music in existence!) I can hardly move for the blighters now!
  Like Cyril Scott in England I suspect Dohnanyi was better at this kind of thing.
Title: Re: Ernst von Dohnányi (1877-1960)
Post by: Brian on May 20, 2011, 11:11:11 PM
Thanks. I wondered if it was a Naxos disc. I've been thinking  about trying his chamber music for some time. I wonder if this is the only recording of the 'Sextet?

There was a Decca recording of the Takacs Quartet, Andras Schiff, and friends, which you might find someplace, and I think another one exists somewhere (on Hungaroton). For what it's worth, the Naxos performance is stupendous.

Here's a clip (http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/dmusic/media/sample.m3u/ref=dm_mu_dp_trk6_smpl?ie=UTF8&catalogItemType=track&ASIN=B001LZIU4Q&CustomerID=A2J5Y1PZR3Y6G9&DownloadLocation=CD) (audio quality seriously reduced by the Amazon clip-making process)
Title: Re: Ernst von Dohnányi (1877-1960)
Post by: Sergeant Rock on May 21, 2011, 03:05:00 AM
There was a Decca recording of the Takacs Quartet, Andras Schiff, and friends, which you might find someplace, and I think another one exists somewhere (on Hungaroton). For what it's worth, the Naxos performance is stupendous.

And there's the one on Praga that Erato has mentioned. I ordered that one because it has the Second String Quartet along with the Serenade for String Trio and Sextet.




Sarge
Title: Re: Ernst von Dohnányi (1877-1960)
Post by: cilgwyn on May 21, 2011, 04:20:46 AM
Thanks all! I can go shopping now without buying a s***%$@ of Dohnanyi (just the one/s I want!).
Hope you don't mind the symbols here. I once got moderated on the old Radio 3 message board for using offensive asterix! (the foul kind not the Gaul!).
Title: Re: Ernst von Dohnányi (1877-1960)
Post by: Brian on May 21, 2011, 12:18:38 PM
And there's the one on Praga that Erato has mentioned. I ordered that one because it has the Second String Quartet along with the Serenade for String Trio and Sextet.




Sarge

Ooh! I might buy that anyway, because I've got the Serenade and Sextet but Praga have a golden touch when it comes to chamber music. They seem to have every Czech ensemble worth recording these days.
Title: Re: Ernst von Dohnányi (1877-1960)
Post by: Opus106 on November 10, 2011, 07:38:07 AM
Seriously, why are there so few recordings of Dohnanyi's first piano quintet? ???
Title: Re: Ernst von Dohnányi (1877-1960)
Post by: johnshade on November 17, 2011, 04:46:22 PM
It is interesting to note that Dohnanyi spent the last several years of his life in Tallahassee, FL. He came to Florida State University as resident composer in 1949. He remained at FSU until his death in 1960.

 I attended several of his concerts. He got an honorary degree and I graduated from FSU in 1957. Especially remembered was his performance as one of the pianist in Bartok's Sonata for 2 pianos, percussion and celesta. He was a great friend of Bartok even though Dohnanyi remained a true Romantic composer.

JS
Title: Re: Ernst von Dohnányi (1877-1960)
Post by: Scion7 on July 14, 2014, 02:36:32 PM
Regarding Dohnanyi's son. Is this the assassination attempt where the bomb was placed behind a pillar?

Yes.  And his other son died in a Russian POW camp.  This poor composer was framed/libeled/slandered, and lost both sons in WW2.
Title: Re: Ernst von Dohnányi (1877-1960)
Post by: vandermolen on July 14, 2014, 02:57:39 PM
Regarding Dohnanyi's son. Is this the assassination attempt where the bomb was placed behind a pillar? I just happened to turn over to the 'yesterday channel' (freeview). Apparently there were at least 40-41 attempts on Hitler's life (such a popular bloke!). In this instance Hitler just happened to deliver a shorter than usual speech. I didn't see the end of the programme & I suppose some horrible fate befell the poor bloke who made the bomb.
Nice to see a Dohnanyi thread. A very underrated composer. I remember being in the late lamented 'Swales music centre' in Haverfordwest & they had the famous variations on the record player with Entremont playing. I had never heard it before & we asked what it was. In the event I bought the Lp & I've loved it ever since,although I'm not sure the Entremont was one of the best versions. Nevertheless,I enjoyed it at the time & it was my first encounter. I don't have the Entremont anymore but I'm sure it was more fun than my Chandos recording (not that there's anything wrong with it!)

Only replying three years late to this  ::). Re: the Hitler bomb was the one placed beneath a conference table at Hitler's HQ in East Prussia. Someone kicked the briefcase containing the bomb and moved it to the other side of a thick wooden table leg which protected Hitler when the bomb went off. It's estimated that 5000 people lost their lives as a result of the purge which followed, including Dohnanyi's son.
Title: Re: Ernst von Dohnányi (1877-1960)
Post by: Daverz on July 14, 2014, 03:11:00 PM
I don't agree with the previous poster who called the symphonies unmemorable.  I'm only familiar with symphony 2, but it has some very memorable tunes and is well constructed.  A fine work.

Title: Re: Ernst von Dohnányi (1877-1960)
Post by: vandermolen on July 14, 2014, 10:14:46 PM
I don't agree with the previous poster who called the symphonies unmemorable.  I'm only familiar with symphony 2, but it has some very memorable tunes and is well constructed.  A fine work.



I'm the previous poster but I don't think they are unmemorable at all. I really like No.2.
Title: Re: Ernst von Dohnányi (1877-1960)
Post by: cilgwyn on July 15, 2014, 06:56:07 AM
I like both symphonies. Big boned,colourful,slightly OTT,late romantic extravaganzas? I can't see anything not to like! That said,the tunes and ideas aren't as memorable as those in Gliere's third or Korngold's Symphony. I can't 'run through' the symphonies in my head. For example,there is a big tune in the first movement of one of them,rising to a huge climax. It's very stirring and nationalistic,quite exciting. But the fact that I can't remember whether it's in No1 or 2 is a bit worrying and,maybe,says it all! I still enjoy listening to them now & again. In fact,I like almost everything I've heard by this composer. I don't think he's a major figure,but at best he's very enjoyable!
One or more point. I seem to recall reading that he composed operas. I wonder whether they are worth hearing?

Just checked! He did! The final one,from 1927, is called 'The Tenor'!
Title: Re: Ernst von Dohnányi (1877-1960)
Post by: vandermolen on July 15, 2014, 08:08:11 AM
New release:

Title: Re: Ernst von Dohnányi (1877-1960)
Post by: snyprrr on July 15, 2014, 01:22:41 PM
I like both symphonies. Big boned,colourful,slightly OTT,late romantic extravaganzas? I can't see anything not to like! That said,the tunes and ideas aren't as memorable as those in Gliere's third or Korngold's Symphony. I can't 'run through' the symphonies in my head. For example,there is a big tune in the first movement of one of them,rising to a huge climax. It's very stirring and nationalistic,quite exciting. But the fact that I can't remember whether it's in No1 or 2 is a bit worrying and,maybe,says it all! I still enjoy listening to them now & again. In fact,I like almost everything I've heard by this composer. I don't think he's a major figure,but at best he's very enjoyable!
One or more point. I seem to recall reading that he composed operas. I wonder whether they are worth hearing?

Just checked! He did! The final one,from 1927, is called 'The Tenor'!

comparisons to Gliere and Korngold = 2 valium!! (just saying- I was napping to DSCH 5 earlier... had to turn it off after Largo...)
Title: Re: Ernst von Dohnányi (1877-1960)
Post by: cilgwyn on July 15, 2014, 01:41:25 PM
Has anyone here tried his Piano Concertos? I keep thinking of buying a cd of them. Then I don't! And if I ever do should I opt for Chandos or Hyperion? There are so many romantic piano concertos out there and so many of them chock full of the same gestures and rhetoric. A pleasant wallow,perhaps,but ultimately in one ear out the other! One reason why I don't have any releases from the celebrated Hyperion series in my cd collection!
Title: Re: Ernst von Dohnányi (1877-1960)
Post by: Scion7 on July 15, 2014, 02:46:47 PM
Both piano concertos are very good - the first one is bright and perhaps more "happy" while the second has more brooding moments and was composed quite some time later, but don't think that No.1 is a lesser work of art technically - Dohnanyi was a master technician who knew technique and theory much, much more than Liszt did, for example.  While his chamber works are the real feather in his cap, the symphonies, the konzertstuck, and the piano concertos are fine works.  Look at it this way, although they had little in common musically, Bartok was a staunch defender of Dohnanyi, and vice-versa.
Title: Re: Ernst von Dohnányi (1877-1960)
Post by: Scion7 on July 15, 2014, 02:51:46 PM
Glad to see the FSU Symphony release - Dohnanyi made himself a resident there after leaving Argentina and was a U.S. citizen and chair of a music department there - he died in the U.S.A., just a few days after recording some stereo performances in 1960.  Too bad he could not have been caught at the height of his technical ability on better recording equipment in the Twenties.
Title: Re: Ernst von Dohnányi (1877-1960)
Post by: vandermolen on July 16, 2014, 12:31:26 AM
Just listened to Symphony 2 (twice!) - the Matthias recording on Chandos. I had forgotten quite how good it is. The opening did remind me of the Korngold Symphony, but elsewhere I was reminded of Bruckner and the reconstructed Elgar's 'Third Symphony' (especially in the opening movement). I did find the work memorable and did have themes going through my head afterwards (and not just the moving Bach episode from the last movement). It has a terrific, inspiriting coda, the emphatic final notes reminding me of the end of Mahler's First Symphony (and the Symphony by Bernard Herrmann for that matter). I imagine that the symphony must relate in some way to the troubled period in which it was composed.
Title: Re: Ernst von Dohnányi (1877-1960)
Post by: vandermolen on July 23, 2014, 01:36:07 PM
New release:



Thoroughly enjoyable. Maybe not as polished as the version on Chandos but well worth having if you want an inexpensive introduction to this fine and moving work.
Title: Re: Ernst von Dohnányi (1877-1960)
Post by: cilgwyn on July 24, 2014, 03:19:33 AM
What's the recording quality like,vandermolen? Less resonant than the Chandos I should imagine?! Less 'spectacular' perhaps,but compensation in the form of a cleaner,more detailed recording? The old Franz Schmidt recording of his third symphony on the Opus label is a case in point. And That's not the only good thing going for it! Rajter's third is now my recording of choice! I keep thinking I must collect the others.
Title: Re: Ernst von Dohnányi (1877-1960)
Post by: vandermolen on July 24, 2014, 06:30:50 AM
What's the recording quality like,vandermolen? Less resonant than the Chandos I should imagine?! Less 'spectacular' perhaps,but compensation in the form of a cleaner,more detailed recording? The old Franz Schmidt recording of his third symphony on the Opus label is a case in point. And That's not the only good thing going for it! Rajter's third is now my recording of choice! I keep thinking I must collect the others.

Basically you've got it right in your suggestion about the recording - certainly less depth and resonance and brighter.
Title: Re: Ernst von Dohnányi (1877-1960)
Post by: Parsifal on June 19, 2016, 07:42:55 PM
I recently listened to Dohnányi's Concert Piece for Cello and Orchestra (Starker's recording from the late 50's on EMI) and I would say it is the first piece by Dohnányi that has really disappointed me. I don't know if there is a different recording out there that would make a difference.

(If you think you're seeing double it's because early my brain apparently short circuited and I posted this comment on the Enescu thread. I don't know why those two composers are so closely linked in my brain.)
Title: Re: Ernst von Dohnányi (1877-1960)
Post by: cilgwyn on June 20, 2016, 12:35:31 AM
I bought the Hyperion recording of Dohnanyi's Piano Concertos a few months ago. I think they're great. If you like slightly ott,full blooded late romanticism,sweeping melodies these have got it all! Well,actually,not quite!! They haven't got any tunes as good,or in any way as memorable as Rachmaninov or Tchaikovsky at their best. In fact,I'm not sure if I could hum any of them!! Nevertheless,there's a sweep and heroic,nationalistic fervour to the music making here which is inclined to make me bracket these with some of the best second tier (snotty term as it undoubtedly is) Piano Concertos I've heard. Yes,some decent tunes would have helped;but bathed in an upholstered balm of glittering orchestration like this,and Hyperion's superb,slightly boomy,sound engineering, I'm in no mood to complain. Fun!! :) But perhaps not too often!! How do the Chandos recordings compare,I wonder? And (groaning!) please....please don't tell me they're even better!!

By the way;I just went through the posts here,Vandermolen;and I can't really make out whether you like Dohnanyi's First Symphony,or not? I can understand you having a preference for one of them,for various reasons;but if you like this sort of thing,No 1 sounds pretty good to me (I like it!) Maybe,the coupling doesn't help. The American Rhapsody is interesting,now and again;but it's not one of his best. I notice the Telarc recording has only the Symphony. They are,or were (is the label still going?) well known for their spectacular sound quality. Might this be good
Title: Re: Ernst von Dohnányi (1877-1960)
Post by: Mirror Image on June 20, 2016, 05:42:03 AM
You bring up an interesting point about Dohnanyi, cilgwyn. There aren't many decent melodies in his music (i.e. his PCs and VC), BUT I do like a few of his works. Most notably the Variations on a Nursery Theme and Symphonic Minutes. These pieces are great fun and quite infectious.
Title: Re: Ernst von Dohnányi (1877-1960)
Post by: Brian on June 20, 2016, 05:50:39 AM
There aren't many decent melodies in his music
Listen to the sextet, stat!!!!

I recently listened to Dohnányi's Concert Piece for Cello and Orchestra (Starker's recording from the late 50's on EMI) and I would say it is the first piece by Dohnányi that has really disappointed me. I don't know if there is a different recording out there that would make a difference.

If that's the first piece to disappoint you, may I ask about some favorites? I love the sextet and listen occasionally to the piano quintets, but outside of his chamber music I don't know very much. The Nursery Variations are fun, of course.
Title: Re: Ernst von Dohnányi (1877-1960)
Post by: Mirror Image on June 20, 2016, 05:55:47 AM
Listen to the sextet, stat!!!!

I will remedy this soon-ish. :)
Title: Re: Ernst von Dohnányi (1877-1960)
Post by: cilgwyn on June 20, 2016, 06:10:47 AM
His orchestration is luxuriously romantic,it almost glitters! There's a feeling of momentum and urgency in his best music,even when the tunes aren't top notch. I like his music,when I'm in the mood for a big,late romantic wallow. Korgold,Respighi and Dohnanyi all fit the bill;and he's less full of himself than Richard Strauss (I like his operas better).
Title: Re: Ernst von Dohnányi (1877-1960)
Post by: Mirror Image on June 20, 2016, 06:17:20 AM
His orchestration is luxuriously romantic,it almost glitters! There's a feeling of momentum and urgency in his best music,even when the tunes aren't top notch. I like his music,when I'm in the mood for a big,late romantic wallow. Korgold,Respighi and Dohnanyi all fit the bill;and he's less full of himself than Richard Strauss (I like his operas better).

Richard Strauss is the man! Don't you diss Mr. Hero! ;) ;D But, seriously, I think there are a few composers that have done some remarkable Straussian things, but none can match what the man himself has done in that kind of style IMHO. Strauss really created a unique style for better or for worse. There was a period where I loathed his music, but I've put my preconceived notions to the side and have found myself really in awe of his music.
Title: Re: Ernst von Dohnányi (1877-1960)
Post by: cilgwyn on June 20, 2016, 07:09:12 AM
I'm not dissing him,MI! I've just finished spending a load of dosh on some of his operas. A recording of Daphne is still in the post,actually! If you want a wallow,Richard Strauss beats Dohnanyi any day!  Anyway,I think it's the sometimes rather obtrusive ego that I like about him. I think it's fun!! :)  I spent about a week,or two,listening to Der Rosenkavalier,Arabella,Capriccio and Ariadne auf Naxos only recently. Like you I went through a period of loathing! I can see a large pile of alternative recordings of Richard Strauss operas developing,if I'm not too careful! ;D I think,like you,I've got the bug!
Title: Re: Ernst von Dohnányi (1877-1960)
Post by: cilgwyn on June 20, 2016, 07:26:29 AM
Thanks to you I've got Don Quixote on now! I was listening to Herrmann's recording of The Planets and suddenly I got this Strauss urge,thanks to you! ??? ;D I'm going to look through the Strauss thread,later. Yes,I know exactly what you mean. I went through that period of avoiding Strauss (although not Johann,in my case! ;D). I have always liked Also sprach Zarathustra,though;and Der Rosenkavalier;and I can remember ploughing through the library's record and cassette collection of Strauss when I was allot younger than I am now! Also,being captivated by a Radio broadcast of Elektra!!
Anyway,back to Dohnanyi,who composed operas too,I note!
Title: Re: Ernst von Dohnányi (1877-1960)
Post by: Mirror Image on June 20, 2016, 07:29:31 AM
I'm not dissing him,MI! I've just finished spending a load of dosh on some of his operas. A recording of Daphne is still in the post,actually! If you want a wallow,Richard Strauss beats Dohnanyi any day!  Anyway,I think it's the sometimes rather obtrusive ego that I like about him. I think it's fun!! :)  I spent about a week,or two,listening to Der Rosenkavalier,Arabella,Capriccio and Ariadne auf Naxos only recently. Like you I went through a period of loathing! I can see a large pile of alternative recordings of Richard Strauss operas developing,if I'm not too careful! ;D I think,like you,I've got the bug!

I know you're not dissing him. I was just joshing with you, my friend. I'm not a huge fan of opera, but I do like many of his operas on occasion, especially Elektra, Salome, Die Frau ohne Schatten, and Der Rosenkavalier. His tone poems are absolutely exquisite as are his Four Last Songs, Metamorphosen, and the Neoclassical Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme. I also like the raucous fun of the concertante work for piano/orchestra, Burleske.
Title: Re: Ernst von Dohnányi (1877-1960)
Post by: Scion7 on June 20, 2016, 08:10:17 AM
A thorough listen to the Dohnányi catalogue of works is good for the soul any time.
Title: Re: Ernst von Dohnányi (1877-1960)
Post by: cilgwyn on June 20, 2016, 08:23:30 AM
Yes,I just read some of your early posts about opera,MI. Something along the lines of "screw them!" I was glad I put Don Quixote on! ;D Yeah,I did realise. I forgot to put the all important ;D in!! ;D ;D otherwise you think I'm ??? :( after reading your post! Actually,I had two recordings of Der Rosenkavalier;Solti and Karajan with Schwarzkopf (the singer people either love or hate!) I like her singing,so I decided to get her recordings of Capriccio and Ariadne. Of course,they're in mono. I thought I can't just have mono recordings! The next minute I'm buying stereo recordings of them. Then I HAD to have Arabella,because some people say it's a sort of 'sequel' to Der Rosenkavalier (not really,actually!!) and that led to Daphne,which I was going to resist;but it's got Lucia Popp one of my all time favourite singers,as a wood nymph!!! Now suddenly my shelves are groaning with Richard Strauss operas,and I'm groaning at the dent in my bank balance!! Thank goodess I don't like Wagner......and no,please don't anyone post any suggestions for Wagner I WILL like. It WON'T work!
 I hope!!! ::) ;D

I can see Vandermolen having the same Saul on the way to Damascus moment with Strauss. His shelves will be sagging under the weight of multiple copies of the complete works of Richard Strauss,now. And he'll love him!! :) :) :)
Title: Re: Ernst von Dohnányi (1877-1960)
Post by: Mirror Image on June 20, 2016, 08:33:38 AM
Yes,I just read some of your early posts about opera,MI. Something along the lines of "screw them!" I was glad I put Don Quixote on! ;D Yeah,I did realise. I forgot to put the all important ;D in!! ;D ;D otherwise you think I'm ??? :( after reading your post! Actually,I had two recordings of Der Rosenkavalier;Solti and Karajan with Schwarzkopf (the singer people either love or hate!) I like her singing,so I decided to get her recordings of Capriccio and Ariadne. Of course,they're in mono. I thought I can't just have mono recordings! The next minute I'm buying stereo recordings of them. Then I HAD to have Arabella,because some people say it's a sort of 'sequel' to Der Rosenkavalier (not really,actually!!) and that led to Daphne,which I was going to resist;but it's got Lucia Popp one of my all time favourite singers,as a wood nymph!!! Now suddenly my shelves are groaning with Richard Strauss operas,and I'm groaning at the dent in my bank balance!! Thank goodess I don't like Wagner......and no,please don't anyone post any suggestions for Wagner I WILL like. It WON'T work!
 I hope!!! ::) ;D

I can see Vandermolen having the same Saul on the way to Damascus moment with Strauss. His shelves will be sagging under the weight of multiple copies of the complete works of Richard Strauss,now. And he'll love him!! :) :) :)

Not to derail this thread any further, but I should say that I do like some operas. I'm going to listen to Act I tonight of Dvorak's Rusalka and this kind of opera intrigues me because it's based on a folk tale. I'm a complete sucker for these works that are centered around or influenced by folk tales. That whole kind of rustic quality in so much of Dvorak's music is irresistible for me. Regarding Wagner, I find it hard to believe that anyone wouldn't like the Forest Murmurs section from his opera Siegfried and not to mention all of the glorious music found in Tristan und Isolde or Das Rheingold for example. Well...with the exception of Saul. ;)
Title: Re: Ernst von Dohnányi (1877-1960)
Post by: Parsifal on June 20, 2016, 08:44:33 AM
If that's the first piece to disappoint you, may I ask about some favorites? I love the sextet and listen occasionally to the piano quintets, but outside of his chamber music I don't know very much. The Nursery Variations are fun, of course.

Looking back at some listening notes that I have at hand, both of the Piano Concerti made a positive impression (Roscoe). No 1 struck me as very Brahmsian and No 2 more modern and original in style. I seem to have been most impressed with the first movement of the second concerto, which featured a flowing theme for piano accompanied by a "magnificent" theme for horns.

I also recall enjoying both symphonies (Bamert), although I do not recall specifically why. Probably I listened to them during the epoch when I was making notes on paper.
Title: Re: Ernst von Dohnányi (1877-1960)
Post by: cilgwyn on June 21, 2016, 09:49:54 AM
I think I was just feeling tired,or I wouldn't have taken MI so seriously! I ended up listening to several hours of the Don Quixote,the Alpine Symphony and Ein Heldenleben. After that I must admit I baulked at Also Sprach Zarathustra,as well! The next morning I put on Steinberg conducting The Planets. For the first time in my life Mars the Bringer of War sounded relaxing!! But ordeal by Richard Strauss was not to end there! A few minutes later there was a knock at the door and the postman handed me a mysterious looking parcel bound with red tape and strange words in German (Fragile,possibly?). Inside was a s/h copy of Strauss' Daphne,with Lucia Popp as a Wood Nymph! :o :o :o

To be continued in the Richard Strauss thread,I fear?!!! ::) :( ;D

I will get to those Dohnanyi Piano Concertos as soon as I've finished listening to Holst and............... Daphne!!! :o :o :o ;D
Title: Re: Ernst von Dohnányi (1877-1960)
Post by: cilgwyn on June 21, 2016, 12:08:50 PM
I finally listened to the Hyperion cd of the Dohnanyi Piano Concertos. Very enjoyable. Dohnanyi's orchestration just glitters. These concertos have that aristocratic quality about them that I do like. I love those portentous introductions that Dohnanyi seems so good at. Yes,as I said,the tunes could be better.......I'll try humming one now..................... Nope!! ??? ;D But the music is so sumptuous and the third movement of the First Concerto has a lovely horn (?) theme and the closing pages are great stuff! The Second Piano Concerto is much later,of course. Again,the tunes could be better;but Dohnanyi's luxurious orchestration is.....well,like I said,so ;D,luxurious,that I can quite frankly forgive him this shortcoming;and most importantly,there is always a feeling of some end goal in sight,which keeps me listening. Hyperions engineering helps,of course. This is the sort of thing that Vox might have given us once (did they?!) with a third rate orchestra and thin,dry sound,to make matters worse. With works like these you definitely NEED sound quality to match!
I'm listening to the Hyperion cd of Marx and Korngold Piano Concertos now!!
Title: Re: Ernst von Dohnányi (1877-1960)
Post by: Rons_talking on June 21, 2016, 12:33:00 PM
Symphonic Minutes, VC #2, PC 2, and Six Pieces Op.41( for piano) are my prefered works of Dohyanyi. Admittedly, I've lost interest in most late romantic composers other than Mahler and the Russians, so I gravitate to the later works of EVD. My personal favorite is the 2nd Violin Concerto Op.43, which I much prefer to the Piano Concerto of the same period. It's imaginative and colorfully melodic.
Title: Re: Ernst von Dohnányi (1877-1960)
Post by: Scion7 on June 22, 2016, 04:29:44 AM
Admittedly, I've lost interest in most late romantic composers ...

Well, hopefully the virus that is causing this will be cured soon!
Title: Re: Ernst von Dohnányi (1877-1960)
Post by: cilgwyn on June 22, 2016, 04:37:14 AM
I'll admit that I needed a freshen up with some cooling,choral music by Gustav Holst,afterwards (still recovering)....but I did enjoy them! I even enjoyed the Joseph Marx Piano Concerto for the first time ever. I Just let the lush orchestration meander over me.
And it did!! ??? ;D
Title: Re: Ernst von Dohnányi (1877-1960)
Post by: SurprisedByBeauty on August 19, 2019, 01:45:00 AM

World-Première Orchestral Songs From Ernő Dohnányi
(https://pbs.twimg.com/media/ECU5T_JXsAEhiR_?format=jpg&name=small) (https://www.classicstoday.com/review/world-premiere-orchestral-songs-from-erno-dohnanyi/?search=1)
Title: Re: Ernst von Dohnányi (1877-1960)
Post by: vers la flamme on August 20, 2019, 01:39:10 PM
Dohnányi was a professor for several years at my alma mater. That is all I know about him. Going to check out something of his later on tonight.
Title: Re: Ernst von Dohnányi (1877-1960)
Post by: kyjo on August 21, 2019, 08:24:26 AM
Dohnányi is a composer who hardly ever disappoints. His output contains many gems and has a greater amount of variety than he is often given credit for. Recently I was listening to his Piano Concerto no. 2, a late work of his but firmly late-romantic in style. The stirring first movement is positively epic and gives Rachmaninoff a good run for his money! Perhaps the slow movement is a tad disappointing, but the finale caps the work off in exciting, colorful fashion. His 1st Piano Concerto from much earlier is also very enjoyable if a tad overlong. And of course, the relatively well-known Variations on a Nursery Tune is delightful and ingenious. Continuing in the concertante realm, his Konzertstuck for cello and orchestra is a heart-warming work with an emphasis on generous lyricism rather than technical display. Also, we shouldn't overlook his gorgeous, magical Concertino for harp and orchestra, which is 17 minutes of pure bliss. I have yet to hear his two violin concertos, which have received some glowing reviews.
Title: Re: Ernst von Dohnányi (1877-1960)
Post by: vers la flamme on August 21, 2019, 01:38:19 PM
For some reason, I'm fascinated with late Romantic music that extended well into the 20th century, composers who remained die-hard Brahmsians, or Wagnerians, or Mahlerians well into the age of the specter of Schoenberg, Stravinsky, and Bartók. Dohnányi seems to have been a textbook example.

Anyway, I listened to the first movement of his 2nd symphony last night. Very Brahmsian, I enjoyed it. I may have to check out the piano concerto you've mentioned, kyjo. It seems he was indeed quite a talent and I've read positive things of the role he played in the Holocaust resistance in Hungary.
Title: Re: Ernst von Dohnányi (1877-1960)
Post by: kyjo on August 21, 2019, 08:10:27 PM
For some reason, I'm fascinated with late Romantic music that extended well into the 20th century, composers who remained die-hard Brahmsians, or Wagnerians, or Mahlerians well into the age of the specter of Schoenberg, Stravinsky, and Bartók. Dohnányi seems to have been a textbook example.

Anyway, I listened to the first movement of his 2nd symphony last night. Very Brahmsian, I enjoyed it. I may have to check out the piano concerto you've mentioned, kyjo. It seems he was indeed quite a talent and I've read positive things of the role he played in the Holocaust resistance in Hungary.

To the bolded text, you're not alone, my friend! Neo-romantic (in the broadest sense of the term) 20th century music has been my primary musical interest for quite some time. It's fascinating to me how different 20th century composers can put their own personal spin on the Romantic language.

And yes, the role Dohnányi played in helping Jews escape Hungary during the Holocaust was highly honorable to say the least. A great composer as well as a great human being!
Title: Re: Ernst von Dohnányi (1877-1960)
Post by: SurprisedByBeauty on August 21, 2019, 09:50:35 PM

And yes, the role Dohnányi played in helping Jews escape Hungary during the Holocaust was highly honorable to say the least. A great composer as well as a great human being!

Not to take anything away from Ernő, but you are talking about his son, Hans von Dohnanyi, who was subsequently hanged for his deeds.
Title: Re: Ernst von Dohnányi (1877-1960)
Post by: 71 dB on August 22, 2019, 01:43:55 AM
Long ago I had a Hungarian working pal who loved Dohnányi's piano concertos, but despite of his "propaganda" I never explored this composer.

I don't explore composers anyone just because some other people like them. Most of the time it's purchasing CDs you only listen to once and forget afterwards in your bookshelf to collect dust. Real discoveries are often unexpected. You just happen to listen to radio at the right moment and hear something that chances your life. It's cracy to think one can explore all music out there. I can only hope I discover a lot of the music that I'd love would I have 1000 years time to explore. Exploring Dohnányi is away from exploring Maslanka and exploring Maslanka is away from exploring Silvestrov and exploring Silvestrov is away from exploring Hovhaness and so on...  ::)
Title: Re: Ernst von Dohnányi (1877-1960)
Post by: kyjo on August 22, 2019, 09:36:46 AM
Not to take anything away from Ernő, but you are talking about his son, Hans von Dohnanyi, who was subsequently hanged for his deeds.

Hmmmm...I’ve never heard anything about his son. On Dohnányi père’s Wikipedia page, at least, there’s extensive information about his humanitarian deeds, and I remember hearing about them before. Tragic to hear that his son was hanged, though...
Title: Re: Ernst von Dohnányi (1877-1960)
Post by: SymphonicAddict on August 22, 2019, 11:03:08 AM
An interesting composer, but his output is not as strong as I wanted. I really like the way he stamped a sense of humour in many of his works. The 2 symphonies are splendid, so are the 2 piano quintets, the Serenade for string trio, the 3rd String Quartet, the Sextet, the Variations on a nursery theme and a few more works. The 2 piano concertos are rather discursive. The cello sonata and violin sonata fall into this category as well. I remember liking one of the violin concertos, though.
Title: Re: Ernst von Dohnányi (1877-1960)
Post by: SurprisedByBeauty on August 22, 2019, 12:32:53 PM
Hmmmm...I’ve never heard anything about his son. ...

But you will have heard of at least one of Hans' children: Christoph von Dohnányi. (The other one was the famous and important Northern German politician Klaus von Dohnanyi.)
Title: Re: Ernst von Dohnányi (1877-1960)
Post by: kyjo on August 22, 2019, 07:09:10 PM
An interesting composer, but his output is not as strong as I wanted. I really like the way he stamped a sense of humour in many of his works. The 2 symphonies are splendid, so are the 2 piano quintets, the Serenade for string trio, the 3rd String Quartet, the Sextet, the Variations on a nursery theme and a few more works. The 2 piano concertos are rather discursive. The cello sonata and violin sonata fall into this category as well. I remember liking one of the violin concertos, though.

I agree with you about Dohnányi's sense of humor, which is especially apparent in the Variations on a Nursery Theme and the almost laugh-out-loud ending of the Sextet. There's also two other delightful orchestral works - the Suite in F-sharp minor and the late American Rhapsody. His chamber output is very strong and consistent, with only the first two string quartets occasionally lapsing into note-spinning.