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Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Ernő Dohnányi - Piano Music Vol. 1 (Martin Roscoe)


Composer: Ernő Dohnányi
  • (01-04) 4 Rhapsodies, Op. 11
  • (05-14) Winterreigen, 10 Bagatelles, Op. 13
  • (15) Pastorale, Hungarian Christmas Song
  • (16-18) 3 Singular Pieces, Op. 44
  • (19) Waltz from Delibes' Coppélia

Martin Roscoe, piano
Date: 2012
Label: Hyperion



First fruits of Roscoe’s new Dohnányi traversal

The auspices are good even before you press the play button: Hyperion, Potton Hall, Ben Connellan (recording engineer), Jeremy Hayes (producer) – and a master pianist who has thoroughly immersed himself in the composer for years. In fact Martin Roscoe recorded the two piano quintets (5/95) and two of the present works (the Four Rhapsodies and Pastorale – 10/93) for ASV, as well as the two piano concertos for Hyperion (5/94), nearly 20 years ago.

The Four Rhapsodies, while having almost identical timings to Roscoe’s first-rate earlier performances, are now more subtly characterised. The impish humour of No 3, for instance, not only the best known of the set but one of Dohnányi’s best known works, is done with a lighter touch, and I prefer the warmer, more immediate presence of the piano to the chillier St George’s, Brandon Hill. Winterreigen, ‘Ten Bagatelles’, all except the first and last dedicated to friends of Dohnányi in Vienna, begins and ends with Schumannesque quotes and wordplay. The composer’s own 1956 recording, despite its claustrophobic acoustic, is not to be missed but Roscoe’s more objective view and greater clarity bring their own rewards. Pastorale (‘Hungarian Christmas Song’) is charming; the first of the Three Singular Pieces (late works from 1951) has a time signature of 5/4 4/4 3/4 2/4 – the music is a repeated sequence of bars of those durations – while the last is a demanding perpetuum mobile. Rounded off with the Coppélia Waltz transcription (played with more elegance but less panache than Dohnányi in 1929, a full two minutes faster than Roscoe), this is a particularly happy start to the series.

-- Gramophone

More reviews:


Ernő Dohnányi (July 27, 1877 – February 9, 1960) was a Hungarian conductor, composer and pianist. He used a German form of his name, Ernst von Dohnányi, on most of his published compositions. Dohnányi's compositional style was personal, but very conservative. His music largely subscribes to the Neoromantic idiom. Some characterize his style as traditional mainstream Euro-Germanic in the Brahmsian manner (structurally rather than the way the music actually sounds) rather than specifically Hungarian, while others hear very little of Brahms in his music.


Martin Roscoe (born 3 August 1952 in Halton, Runcorn, Cheshire) is an English classical pianist, who performs as a concerto soloist, as a recitalist and as a chamber musician. He studied at the Royal Manchester College of Music with Gordon Green and Marjorie Clementi. He has a repertoire of over 100 concertos performed or recorded. His chamber music partnerships include Peter Donohoe, Tasmin Little, Jennifer Pike and many more. Having had over 500 broadcasts, including seven BBC Prom appearances, Martin is one of the most regularly played pianists on BBC Radio 3.


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