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)
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Serenade for String Trio in C major, Op. 10

(for violin, viola and cello)
2:07
I. Marcia. Allegro
3:40
II. Romanza. Adagio non troppo
4:26
III. Scherzo. Vivace
6:09
IV. Tema con variazioni. Andante con moto
4:14
V. Rondo
Duration: 21 minutes (approximately) - hide movement times
Composed: between 1902-1904 (age 25-27)
First performance: January 5, 1904. Vienna. Members of the Fitzner Quartet
Published: 1904 (age 26-27)
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10 recordings, 35 videos
19:35
Cleveland Quartet
2:18
Czech String Trio
I. Marcia. Allegro
3:49
Czech String Trio
II. Romanza. Adagio non troppo
5:21
Czech String Trio
III. Scherzo. Vivace
6:07
Czech String Trio
IV. Tema con variazioni. Andante con moto
4:30
Czech String Trio
V. Rondo
1:59
Dénes Kovács, et. al.
I. Marcia. Allegro
3:26
Dénes Kovács, et. al.
II. Romanza. Adagio non troppo
4:16
Dénes Kovács, et. al.
III. Scherzo. Vivace
6:00
Dénes Kovács, et. al.
IV. Tema con variazioni. Andante con moto
3:52
Dénes Kovács, et. al.
V. Rondo
1:55
Dénes Kovács, Károly Botvay, László Bársony
I. Marcia. Allegro
3:27
Dénes Kovács, Károly Botvay, László Bársony
II. Romanza. Adagio non troppo
4:17
Dénes Kovács, Károly Botvay, László Bársony
III. Scherzo. Vivace
6:02
Dénes Kovács, Károly Botvay, László Bársony
IV. Tema con variazioni. Andante con moto
3:47
Dénes Kovács, Károly Botvay, László Bársony
V. Rondo
2:09
Díaz Trio
I. Marcia. Allegro
3:21
Díaz Trio
II. Romanza. Adagio non troppo
4:25
Díaz Trio
III. Scherzo. Vivace
6:07
Díaz Trio
IV. Tema con variazioni. Andante con moto
4:16
Díaz Trio
V. Rondo
2:03
Domus
I. Marcia. Allegro
4:04
Domus
II. Romanza. Adagio non troppo
4:18
Domus
III. Scherzo. Vivace
6:15
Domus
IV. Tema con variazioni. Andante con moto
4:18
Domus
V. Rondo
17:21
Heifetz, Primrose, Feuermann
2:06
Jacques Thibaud String Trio
I. Marcia. Allegro
3:50
Jacques Thibaud String Trio
II. Romanza. Adagio non troppo
4:24
Jacques Thibaud String Trio
III. Scherzo. Vivace
6:36
Jacques Thibaud String Trio
IV. Tema con variazioni. Andante con moto
4:25
Jacques Thibaud String Trio
V. Rondo
20:55
Labko, Turner, Donderer
11:42
Rodriguez, Kevorkov, Prokopenko
Part 1 of 2
13:37
Rodriguez, Kevorkov, Prokopenko
Part 2 of 2

From Kai Christiansen:

Ernő Dohnányi, 1877-1960

Serenade for String Trio Op. 10, 1902

Ernő Dohnányi (who typically used the Germanic version of his name, Ernst von Dohnányi) was a Hungarian pianist, composer, conductor, administrator and educator who become a towering figure in Hungarian musical culture in the decades before WWII. One of Europe's most brilliant pianists, Dohnányi single-handedly reconstituted musical life in Budapest over decades of concert programs he curated, conducted and performed. He was one of the first celebrity pianists to extensively perform chamber music and as a composer, Dohnányi produced a fine body of chamber music including his most famous works now part of the standard repertoire: the Piano Quintet No. 1 in C minor and the Serenade for String Trio, Op. 10. Dohnányi also composed two outstanding symphonies as well as numerous concerti. While his style would be considered somewhat conservative for his time, often likened to Brahms, one of his admirers, Dohnányi's musical voice was nonetheless distinctive and his compositions are now regarded as outstanding examples of late Romanticism though largely free of the Hungarian folk music influences found in his contemporary compatriots such as Bartók and Kodaly.

Dohnányi composed the Serenade for String Trio in 1902 creating one of the exemplars of the form, a multi-movement suite packed with musical riches. Following tradition, the Serenade begins with a lively march the soon features a rustic tune full of Hungarian flavor. The march appears again at the conclusion of the finale. A slow movement Romanze follows evoking the traditional serenade once again with guitar-like pizzicato a lyrical song in the violin part interrupted briefly by a passionate outburst. The third-movement scherzo flexes more modern muscles with a bristling fugue and a tuneful trio that combine simultaneously in the scherzo reprise. A melancholy, hymn-like theme provides the basis for a brooding set of variations as another slow movement leading to rollicking Rondo finale that suggests the influence of Beethoven's string trios as models. The opening march cleverly remerges to close the Serenade with pleasing symmetry.

© Kai Christiansen. Used by permission. All rights reserved.




From Silvertrust:

Ernö Dohnányi Of Dohnanyi's Serenade in C Major, Op.10 for String Trio, composed between 1902 and 1904, The Chamber Music Journal has this to say:

It was not true, as CD jacket note writers have consistently suggested, that Beethoven’s Op.8 Serenade served as Dohnanyi's model because no other worthy trios had been composed after Beethoven. There were many—from such fine composers as Herzogenberg, Reinecke, Fuchs, and Berens to name but a few. Dohnanyi, unlike those writers and many of today's musicians, was almost certainly familiar with them. Therefore, it is fair to say that Dohnanyi intentionally chose Beethoven’s Op.8 because he had a specific goal in mind: To produce an updated version of the classical serenade for string trio.

Beethoven begins his Op.8 Serenade quite ceremoniously, as was the custom, with a relatively short march. So does Dohnanyi. Beethoven’s movement marking is Marcia. Allegro. So is Dohnanyi’s. Traditionally, of course, a march has a contrasting trio section which serves as the middle portion of the movement after which the march reappears and is used to conclude the movement either with or without a coda. Beethoven follows this procedure. Dohnanyi does not. Instead of simply repeating the march of 21 measures in its entirety, he compresses it into five bars by means of representing the original 16th note runs that lead to the main dotted rhythm of the march into a run of only three notes while retaining the dotted rhythm. This compression creates a heightened tension which is missing in the original march. Although Beethoven did not call his second movement a romance, he could have, for his Adagio is clearly that. Dohnanyi entitles his second Romanza. To the off-beat pizzicati in the violin and cello, the viola, in a long solo, presents a calm main theme. It has a folk tune quality to it. Beethoven follows his Adagio with a Menuetto, allegretto before inserting a scherzo. Dohnanyi, not feeling himself slavishly beholden to Beethoven’s model, skips the minuet and uses a Scherzo, vivace for his third movement. The playful main theme is introduced in a fugal fashion. After his scherzo, Beethoven produces what is probably the most memorable movement of his Serenade, an Allegretto alla Polacca. This was a novelty and perhaps a concession to popular taste (late 1790’s) as polaccas had become the rage in Vienna. He follows this with an Andante quasi Allegretto, which is a theme and set of five variations. Dohnanyi apparently saw no reason to insert a polacca or any other kind of dance movement and makes his next movement, Andante con moto, a theme with a set of five variations. This is the most serious movement of his Serenade. The theme itself , which all three instruments present together, is reflective and elegiac in nature but full of harmonic surprises. These carry over into the variations which are one of the most extraordinary sets ever composed, and characterized by a very high degree of craftsmanship. Beethoven concluded his Serenade simply by reinserting the opening Marcia in its entirety. Dohnanyi does nothing of the kind, instead using a Rondo. The main theme is really only a short kernel of four measures. It is frenetic and full of nervous energy. Although it begins as an entirely independent theme, it starts to bear a distant relationship to the thematic material in the opening movement as the movement progresses. The Serenade is without question one of the great masterpieces of the string trio literature and should not be missed by anyone who has the opportunity to play string trios.

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. His first published work, his Piano Quintet No.1, was championed by no less an authority than Johannes Brahms. 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.

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

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