Sunday, March 13, 2011

Ernst (Erno) von Dohnanyi

My Music Notes column in the Asbury Park Press today talks about the upcoming performances of music by Ernst von Dohnanyi by the Monmouth Symphony Orchestra, led by Assistant Conductor Lucian Rinando, pictured at right. Appearing as soloist in the Dohnanyi "Konzertstucke" for cello and orchestra will be his partner, Sam Magill. I had a lovely interview with them last week at America's Cup here in Asbury Park and some of that conversation made it into the article.

In addition to his influential conducting and enduring compositions, Dohnanyi was one of the century's great pianists. You can find a few recordings on YouTube, including this tantalizing excerpt from a performance of Beethoven's Op. 31, purportedly from 1959, the year before he died. At that point, Dohnanyi was 82 years old and performing in front of an audience. Yet you can hear a fire and a surety of interpretation in his playing that electrifies.

As Sam put it during our conversation, "You just don't hear about him in the same breath as Rachmaninoff." Yet according to the scholarly encyclopedia, Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians Dohnanyi once performed all of Beethoven's piano works in a single season, and also did the same with the Mozart piano concertos. Brahms and the great pianist Josef Hoffman were both admirers.

Gossip, politics and musical fashion united to help stymie what should have been an ever-more brilliant career.

On Facebook

No comments:

Post a Comment