One of the most grown-up review sites around


Search MusicWeb Here

     
  
 

 

International mailing


  Founder: Len Mullenger             Senior Editor: John Quinn               Contact Seen and Heard here  

Some items
to consider


16th-19th November


Shostakovich 4, 11 Nelsons
Transparent Granite!


Nothing but Praise


BrucKner 4 Nelsons
the finest of recent years.

superb BD-A sound

This is a wonderful set


Telemann continues to amaze


A superb disc

Performances to cherish

An extraordinary disc.

rush out and buy this

I favour above all the others

Frank Martin - Exemplary accounts

Asrael Symphony
A major addition


Another Bacewicz winner


match any I’ve heard


An outstanding centenary collection


personable, tuneful, approachable


a very fine Brahms symphony cycle.


music that will be new to most people


telling, tough, thoughtful, emotionally fleet and powerfully recorded


hitherto unrecorded Latvian music

 

REVIEW Plain text for smartphones & printers

Support us financially by purchasing this from

Ernst von DOHNÁNYI (1877-1960)
Passacaglia, Op.6 (1899-1900) [13:10]
Four Rhapsodies, Op.11 (1902-03) [29:40]
Three Pieces, Op.44 (1951) [9:11]
Daniel Röhm (piano)
rec. November 2007 (Rhapsodies) and November-December 2010, SWR Stuttgart, Kammerstudio
CPO 777 970-2 [52:07]

Dohnányi’s Passacaglia, written when he was in his early twenties, is not as often performed as it should be. Its lyric profile is counterbalanced by dynamic outbursts of virtuoso energy that foreground its occasionally adamantine vehemence, It’s certainly a compelling work for so young a man, revealing – as so often – the influence of Brahms but also revealing very personal elements as well. It’s played here with real power and control by Daniel Röhm who gets right inside the lexicon.

The composer recorded two of his Op.44 set of Three Pieces in 1956, very late in his active professional life (see APR 7038) and only four years before his death. The concluding Perpetuum mobile, a presto of fiendish difficulty would have taxed his fingers at the age of 79, or even 20 years earlier, so he left it alone. Compared with the composer’s own capricious and playfully unstable pianism, Röhm sounds just a little brusque in the opening Burletta, though there’s no doubting his technical proficiency. Again the composer’s less metrical, less predictable way with the Nocturne proves less emphatic and more whimsical even, and this builds a greater sense of the music’s particular character. A touch hard-toned, Röhm uses quite a bit of pedal but his insistence ultimately lacks for charm. As for that tricky perpetuum mobile, Röhm certainly drives through it with technique to spare.

Eckhardt van den Hoogen’s extensive, wordy and detailed notes make the point that he believes that the Four Rhapsodies function essentially as a sonata – but we know from other sources that this is how Dohnányi performed it connecting it fluidly into a natural four-movement structure moving from an Allegro non troppo to a concluding Andante lugubre via a slow movement with capricious elements and a scherzo – except that the composer labelled it merely Vivace. Röhm seems more at home in this work, taking a more measured view of the second movement than the composer himself in his 1960 Everest LP reading when he pushed the tempo, and even though the composer’s technique is now hopelessly inadequate there is still something in his taut drama, vitiated somewhat as it is by a very dry acoustic, that grabs the ear. Nevertheless, Röhm is excellent in the Vivace and brings out the tolling motifs in the finale with great sensitivity. Here its romantic burgeoning surely hearkens back to Liszt’s Sonata, Röhm ending the work in a blaze of glory.

Less than wholly convinced by Röhm’s Three Singular Pieces, Op.44, I was won over by both the Passacaglia and the Rhapsodies. The performances have been a long time on the shelf and their appearance now offers a valuable slice of the repertoire.

Jonathan Woolf

 

 




Advertising on
Musicweb



Donate and keep us afloat

 

New Releases

Naxos Classical


Nimbus Podcast


Obtain 10% discount


Special offer 50% off

Musicweb sells the following labels
Acte Préalable
(THE Polish label)
Altus 10% off
Atoll 10% off
CRD 10% off
Hallé 10% off
Lyrita 10% off
Nimbus 10% off
Nimbus Alliance
Prima voce 10% off
Red Priest 10% off
Retrospective 10% off
Saydisc 10% off
Sterling 10% off


Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing
sample

Sample: See what you will get

Editorial Board
MusicWeb International
Founding Editor
   
Rob Barnett
Senior Editor
John Quinn
Seen & Heard
Editor Emeritus
   Bill Kenny
Editor in Chief
   Vacant
MusicWeb Webmaster
   David Barker
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger