Ernö Dohnányi was one of the most extraordinary polymaths in musical history: director of the Franz Liszt Academy, conductor of the Budapest Philharmonic Orchestra, music director of Hungarian Radio, he was also revered as a teacher—anyone who was anyone in Hungary was taught by him, not least Georg Solti. Dohnányi was also one of the finest pianists of his generation. As a pianist-composer his music grew out of the tradition of both Liszt, his compatriot, and Brahms, but his command of instrumental colour and rhythmic élan is all his own.
This volume, the first of a complete survey from Martin Roscoe, encompasses nearly half a century of Dohnányi’s composing life, from the trenchant virtuosity of the Four Rhapsodies to the wit of the late Three Singular Pieces.
Martin Roscoe’s previous recordings for Hyperion reflect his eclectic interests, from Bach transcriptions to the complete piano music of Nielsen and no fewer than four volumes in the Romantic Piano Concerto series.
“If [Dohnányi] is now slightly out of fashion, he is brought back firmly into the spotlight by Martin Roscoe’s splendid first disc of a projected series of the solo piano music...Roscoe finds the ideal blend of lightness and broad lyrical sweep...A programme that refreshes some gorgeous, unjustly neglected music.” The Telegraph, 18th January 2012 ****
“There's something larger than life about the keyboard writing [in Winterreigen], and it demands exactly the kind of no-holds-barred approach that Roscoe adopts; he dispatches the fistfuls of notes with wonderful precision and just the right degree of swagger.” The Guardian, 25th January 2012 ***
“The auspices are good even before you press the play button...The Four Rhapsodies, while having almost identical timings to Roscoe's first-rate earlier performances, are now more subtly characterised...this is a particularly happy start to the series.” Gramophone Magazine, March 2012
“[in the Rhapsodies] Dohnányi musters a highly expressive language, contrasting the dark and melancholic introversion in the second and fourth rhapsodies with the more playful and heroic moods that characterise the third. Martin Roscoe performs these memorable virtuosic showpieces with tremendous panache and musical sensitivity.” BBC Music Magazine, March 2012 *****
“[Roscoe's] immaculate pianism, probing musical imagination and, above all, sympathy with Dohnanyi's expressive ways and means make him the ideal interpreter for such a comprehensive retrospective. This first instalment, quite a pleasure in and of itself, whets the appetite for more.” International Record Review, February 2012