Ernő Dohnányi. Solo recordings for Remington

These early Remington LP’s of pianist/composer Ernő Dohnányi are not incredibly rare, but to find them in acceptable condition is very difficult. They only seem to turn up in the earliest of pressings, before Remington improved their techniques a few years later. Despite the absolutely mint copies from the collection of my friend Mike Gartz, these are still problematic records to reproduce, and without resorting to extreme measures, the noise level is higher than one would hope for LP’s. But if some of you have copies like mine, which refuse to track and blast like crazy when they DO track, then you’ll appreciate that, barring a release from the original tapes, this is very likely the best sound you will hear on these precious recordings.

Dohnányi’s pupil Balint Vazsonyi states in the liner notes to an LP, that Dohnányi was no “recording artist”. He only ventured into the recording studio sporadically, often to record his own works, and there are a few late, live recordings of works by other composers, and a few other souvenirs, such as the Mozart 17th Concerto he recorded in the 78 era (note: APR has issued a very nice 2 cd set of his solo studio recordings for HMV). Here is a discography of performances of his works, which includes a list of his own recordings as a performer.

It strikes me that in these later years, Dohnányi seems to have arrived at a point where he plays with no inhibitions as to his musical style. He feels the music in a free and florid manner, breaks the left hand before right more often than not, and “telescopes” certain rhythmic figurations, and makes no apologies for any of this. There are elements in his playing that remind one of Béla Bartók’s performing style, in terms of phrasing and voicing, but to seek further similarities one must turn to the earlier recordings. Note: the Kinderszenen recording features Dohnányi’s charming spoken announcements for the title of each work.

For more information about Remington, I heartily recommend Rudolf A. Bruil’s wonderful site devoted to the label. Here is the main portal, or you can go directly to the Dohnányi page .

Beethoven: Sonata No. 17 in D Minor, Op. 31, No. 2
Haydn: Andante with Variations in F Minor, Hob.XVII:6
Beethoven: Andante favori, WoO 57
Remington RLP-199-16

Dohnányi: Four Rhapsodies, Op. 11
Schumann: Kinderszenen, Op. 15
Remington RLP-199-43

Ernő Dohnányi, Piano
Recorded c. 1950


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2 Responses to Ernő Dohnányi. Solo recordings for Remington

  1. Hi Neal. Thanks for this post. Dohnanyi's pianism is fluid and lovely. Even under the "Remington Sound" you can sense the beauty of tone, or am I imagining it? I've recently posted Dohnanyi's Remington recording with Albert Spalding of the Brahms 1st Violin Sonata Considering the condition of the record, it turned out surprisingly well. Thanks again. I loved the Haydn in particular.

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