Monday, March 6, 2017

Ernő Dohnányi - The Veil of Pierrette; Suite; Nursery Variations (Matthias Bamert; Howard Shelley)


Information

Composer: Ernő Dohnányi
  1. Suite in F sharp minor, Op. 19: I. Andante con variazioni
  2. Suite in F sharp minor, Op. 19: II. Scherzo. Allegretto vivace
  3. Suite in F sharp minor, Op. 19: III. Romance. Andante poco moto
  4. Suite in F sharp minor, Op. 19: IV. Rondo. Allegro vivace
  5. Variations on a Nursery Theme for piano & orchestra, Op. 25: Introduction - Theme -
  6. Variations on a Nursery Theme for piano & orchestra, Op. 25: Variation I -
  7. Variations on a Nursery Theme for piano & orchestra, Op. 25: Variation II. Risoluto -
  8. Variations on a Nursery Theme for piano & orchestra, Op. 25: Variation III -
  9. Variations on a Nursery Theme for piano & orchestra, Op. 25: Variation IV -
  10. Variations on a Nursery Theme for piano & orchestra, Op. 25: Variation V -
  11. Variations on a Nursery Theme for piano & orchestra, Op. 25: Variation VI -
  12. Variations on a Nursery Theme for piano & orchestra, Op. 25: Variation VII. Walzer -
  13. Variations on a Nursery Theme for piano & orchestra, Op. 25: Variation VIII. Alla marcia -
  14. Variations on a Nursery Theme for piano & orchestra, Op. 25: Variation IX. Presto -
  15. Variations on a Nursery Theme for piano & orchestra, Op. 25: Variation X. Passacaglia -
  16. Variations on a Nursery Theme for piano & orchestra, Op. 25: Variation XI. Choral -
  17. Variations on a Nursery Theme for piano & orchestra, Op. 25: Finale fugato
  18. The Veil of Pierrette, ballet, Op. 18: I. Pierrot's Love-lament
  19. The Veil of Pierrette, ballet, Op. 18: II. Waltz-rondo
  20. The Veil of Pierrette, ballet, Op. 18: III. Merry Funeral March
  21. The Veil of Pierrette, ballet, Op. 18: IV. Wedding Waltz

Howard Shelley, piano (5-17)
BBC Philharmonic Orchestra
Matthias Bamert, conductor

Date: 1998
Label: Chandos
https://www.chandos.net/products/catalogue/CHAN%209733

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Review

The happy news here is the very first recording of The Veil of Pierrette, four scenes from a mimed entertainment dating from 1908-9. If you want to jump straight in with the best movement, sample track 21 for an exuberant ‘Wedding Waltz’, rumbustious music, carefree and beautifully scored. The rest consists of a fairly serious prelude, a waltz parody (less memorable than the finale) and a mischievous ‘Merry Funeral March’. Dohnanyi’s penchant for quality musical entertainment bore popular fruit with his perennially fresh Variations on a Nursery Theme. Howard Shelley’s performance is a model of wit and style, blending in with the orchestra whenever the moment seems right and employing an ideal brand of rubato. Bamert’s conducting is properly portentous in the Introduction and charming elsewhere, whether in the music-box delights of the fifth variation, the animated bustle of the sixth or the seventh’s novel scoring (plenty for the bassoons and bass drum). I still rate Kocsis and Fischer as the best version overall (if only marginally), but Shelley and Bamert are no less musical.

It was lovely, too, to hear the F sharp minor Suite again, especially the opening Andante con variazioni which seems to straddle the worlds of Dvorak and Elgar (try the serene string choirs from 9'35''). The stamping Scherzo brings to mind the Scherzo from Bruckner’s Ninth – whether intentionally or not, I cannot tell – and the tuneful Rondo finale anticipates a key passage in the Rondo-burleske in Mahler’s Ninth (I kid you not – the resemblance strikes you right from the opening phrases). As with the rest of this admirable series, the music is a constant delight and Chandos has come up with a dazzlingly realistic recording. A peach of a disc – though if you’re arachnophobic, try to avert your eyes from the CD and booklet cover!

-- Gramophone

More reviews:
ClassicsToday  ARTISTIC QUALITY: 9 / SOUND QUALITY: 9
BBC Music Magazine  PERFORMANCE: ***** / SOUND: *****
http://www.musicweb-international.com/classrev/nov99/dohnanyi.htm
http://www.amazon.com/Dohn%C3%A1nyi-Pierrette-Suite-Variations-Nursery/dp/B00000J8QW

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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.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ern%C5%91_Dohn%C3%A1nyi

***

Matthias Bamert (born July 5, 1942 in Ersigen, Canton of Bern) is a Swiss composer and conductor. Bamert studied music in Darmstadt and in Paris, with Pierre Boulez and Karlheinz Stockhausen. Bamert's conducting career began in North America as an apprentice to George Szell and later as Assistant Conductor to Leopold Stokowski, and Resident Conductor of the Cleveland Orchestra under Lorin Maazel. He made over 60 recordings, most of them for Chandos.

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Howard Shelley (born 9 March 1950) is a British pianist and conductor. He was educated at Highgate School and the Royal College of Music. As pianist he has performed, broadcast and recorded around the world with leading orchestras and conductors. He made many recordings for Chandos, Hyperion and EMI, including Rachmaninov's complete piano music and concertos. As a conductor, he has held positions of Associate and Principal Guest Conductor with the London Mozart Players in a close relationship of over twenty years.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Howard_Shelley

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