Ernő Dohnányi

Ernő Dohnányi (1877-1960)

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

Piano Quintet No. 2 in e-flat minor, Op. 26

(for 2 violins, viola, cello and piano)
9:22 I. Allegro non troppo
5:05 II. Intermezzo: Allegretto
10:26 III. Moderato - Tempo del primo pezzo
Duration: 25 minutes (approximately)
Composed: 1914 (age 36-37)
Published: 1921 (age 43-44)
5 recordings, 15 videos
autoopen autoplay
9:08
Trio Nota Bene, Ashkenasi, Imai
I. Allegro non troppo
4:48
Trio Nota Bene, Ashkenasi, Imai
II. Intermezzo: Allegretto
10:01
Trio Nota Bene, Ashkenasi, Imai
III. Moderato - Tempo del primo pezzo
9:44
Peter Frankl, Fine Arts Quartet
I. Allegro non troppo
5:22
Peter Frankl, Fine Arts Quartet
II. Intermezzo: Allegretto
11:11
Peter Frankl, Fine Arts Quartet
III. Moderato - Tempo del primo pezzo
9:08
Ernő Szegedi, Tártai Quartet
I. Allegro non troppo
4:52
Ernő Szegedi, Tártai Quartet
II. Intermezzo: Allegretto
10:04
Ernő Szegedi, Tártai Quartet
III. Moderato - Tempo del primo pezzo
9:48
Kaneda, et. al.
I. Allegro non troppo
5:05
Kaneda, et. al.
II. Intermezzo: Allegretto
10:06
Kaneda, et. al.
III. Moderato - Tempo del primo pezzo
9:21
Audubon Quartet, Artymiw
I. Allegro non troppo
5:25
Audubon Quartet, Artymiw
II. Intermezzo: Allegretto
10:29
Audubon Quartet, Artymiw
III. Moderato - Tempo del primo pezzo
From Edition Silvertrust

Ernst von DohnanyiPiano Quintet No.2, Op.26 in e flat minor was completed in 1914. The opening Allegro non troppo begins very softly and mysteriously. The strings, led by the first violin, present the opening theme in their lower registers over a soft, prolonged triplet piano accompaniment which almost sounds like tremolo. Tension is built slowly and one expects that there will be an emotional explosion when the piano finally takes part in the theme. But surprisingly, this does not happen. Instead, the piano is allowed to present a more elastic and powerful version of the theme. While the tension, created mainly by the soft tremolo now in the strings, is still there, it remains beneath the surface, as the piano plays a more heroic version of the theme. The second subject is more lyrical and lighter.

The second movement is marked Intermezzo, allegretto, but this marking does not really tell the full story. The very lovely, lilting opening theme, initially stated by the viola and then by the first violin, is indeed treated in the fashion of an intermezzo. It is clothed in the unmistakable aura of an elegant late Viennese waltz. What follows this, however, is quite different. This dance theme is not developed in any traditional way but rather by means of a set of five different interludes which flirt with being variations. The finale, Moderato, begins with an extraordinarily somber canon, with the cello beginning and the others following. The music is saturated with a mood of regret and resignation. The second theme, presented by the piano, although solemn, is not as pessimistic.”

— R.H.R. Silvertrust writing in 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. 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.

This is an important work and certainly an adornment to any professional ensemble's repertoire. However, it presents no great technical difficulties and should not be missed by amateurs.

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

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