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CHAN 10245
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CHAN 10245

Dohnanyi: Violin Concerto/ Concertino/Piano Concerto

The Classical Shop
release date: September 2004

Originally recorded in 2003


BBC Philharmonic

Matthias Bamert

Clifford Lantaff


Howard Shelley


James Ehnes



Studio 7, New Broadcasting House, Manchester


Brian Pidgeon

Mike George


Stephen Rinker

Record Label



Orchestral & Concertos

Total Time - 75:27
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Violin Concerto No. 2, Op. 43*

  in C minor - in c-Moll - en ut mineur  
  To Frances Magnes  
1 I Allegro molto moderato 11:02
2 II Intermezzo. Allegro comodo e scherzando 3:52
3 III Adagio molto sostenuto - 9:36
4 IV Allegro risoluto e giocoso 6:27

Concertino, Op. 45†

  For harp and chamber orchestra  
5 Andante - Allegro ma non troppo - 7:07
6 Allegretto vivace - Più mosso - 3:49
7 Adagio non troppo 4:45

Piano Concerto No. 2, Op. 42‡

  in B minor - in h-Moll - en si mineur  
8 I Allegro - Legato - Animato - 13:07
9 II Adagio, poco rubato 7:57
10 III Allegro vivace - Più mosso - A tempo 7:45
As a pianist, Dohnányi was legendary. As a composer, however, he was for many years dismissed as little more than a musical adjunct of Brahms. Certainly his music is more conservative than that of his contemporaries, but it is hard to see how anyone could fail to be engaged by its humour and passion. With music this rich in detail you need a top-flight orchestra to bring out all the nuances and subtlety in the orchestration. Matthias Bamert and the BBC Philharmonic have already proved themselves worthy Dohnányi advocates. The irrepressible Howard Shelley is the pianist in the virtuosic piano concerto. Clifford Llantaff is the BBC Philharmonic’s own renowned harpist and the young James Ehnes, who performed with such élan on Chandos’ recent Hummel disc, is the soloist in the violin concerto.

Fifth disc in the BBC Philharmonic’s acclaimed survey of the music of Dohnányi.

Previous recordings in the series are now regarded as top choice for this repertoire.

James Ehnes, whom the Guardian newspaper referred to as ‘spellbinding… jaw-droppingly virtuosic’ is touring extensively over the next year and will be appearing at various venues throughout the UK, Canada and the US.

The three works here were all written within a few years of each other between the late 1940s and early 1950s. Fifty years separate Dohnányi’s Piano Concerto No. 1 from his Piano Concerto No. 2, though the difference in style between them is more a case of growth in sophistication – both in orchestration and piano-writing – than tonal advance. It is a thoroughly engaging work and notable for being perhaps the last substantial piano concerto written in the grand Romantic tradition.

The gap between the two violin concertos is not quite so extreme (thirty-five years), but again the language is remarkably consistent. Violin Concerto No. 2, composed between 1949 and 1950, is roughly contemporaneous with the violin concertos of Barber (1939) and Korngold (1945) and stands comparison with those indulgently lush masterpieces rather well. It is unusual, however, in being written for an orchestra without violins; Dohnányi is said to have enjoyed the idea of the only violinist on stage being the soloist.

The Concertino for Harp and Chamber Orchestra is, like the second violin concerto, a product of the composer’s time as resident pianist and composer at Florida State University in Tallahassee and was his penultimate orchestral work, with only the American Rhapsody to follow a year later. If that work celebrated the composer’s newfound home, the Concertino seems to hark back with a certain nostalgia to the Hungary of his birth. It is cast in a single span that encompasses three recognisable submovements: a languid opening Andante, a skittering central scherzo and a heartfelt, melancholy closing Adagio. Dohnányi’s mastery in writing for the harp is second to none and the instrument is beautifully intertwined with the small accompanying orchestra of solo wind and strings.

'As to the perfoamnce, Chandos has chosen judiciously: Howard Shelley sounds as if the piece sits well under his hands. He gets the overall accent precisely right and Bamert's orchestra is again beyond criticism. This is an invaluable addition to what could well be a benchmark series.'

Anyone who has read this far and has a soft spot for obscure post-Romantic repertoire should probably buy this disc: it is practically mandatory for collectors who are serious about the music of Dohnányi.
Fanfare (USA)

'Although fine alternative versions of all three works are currently available, none to my mind matches the qualities of the present disc. Without doubt, Matthias Bamert's powerfully delineated conducting and the brilliantly incisive playing of the BBC Philharmonic make all the difference, providing the ideal backcloth for the excellent team of soloists..'
BBC Music Magazine

A richly romantic reading
The Penguin Guide

Keenly felt, emotional reading…performance is passionate…
BBC Music Magazine

Tasmin Little gives it her lyrical all – and is ravishing.
American Record Guide

'The harpist Clifford Lantaff is scintillating in the Concertino; Howard Shelley brings breadth and bravura to the Piano Concerto No. 2; James Ehnes characteristically blends sensitivity , warmth and spirit in the Violin Concerto. Matthias Bamert and the BBC Philharmonic reveal all the skill and attractiveness of Dohnányi's orchestral pallette.'
The Telegraph

A Hodgson