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DOHNANYI, Ernst von  (1877-1960)

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Dohnãnyi, Ernst von, eminent Hungarian pianist, composer, conductor, and pedagogue, grandfather of Christoph von Dohnãnyi; b. Pressburg, July 27, 1877; d. N.Y., Feb. 9,1960. He began his musical studies with his father, an amateur cellist; then studied piano and music theory with Karoly Forstner. In 1894 he entered the Royal Academy of Music in Budapest, where he took courses in piano with Istvln Thomán and in composition with Hans Koessler. In 1896 he received the Hungarian Millennium Prize, established to commemorate the thousand years of existence of Hungary, for his sym. He graduated from the Academy of Music in 1897, and then went to Berlin for additional piano studies with Eug d’Albert. He made his debut in a recital in Berlin on Oct. 1 1897; on Oct. 24, 1898, he played Beethoven’s 4th Piano Co certo in London; then followed a series of successful con in the U.S. Returning to Europe, he served as prof. of p1 at the Hochschule für Musik in Berlin (1908—15). He tb returned to Budapest, where he taught piano at the Ro Academy of Music; served briefly as its director in 1919, wh he was appointed chief conductor of the Budapest Phil. 7 In 1928 he became head of the piano composition classes the Academy of Music; in 1934 he became its director. 1931 he assumed the post of music director of the Hungan Radio. As Hungary became embroiled in war and parti politics which invaded even the arts, Dohnányi resigned directorship in 1941, and in 1944 he also resigned his as chief conductor of the Budapest Phil. Personal tragedy made it impossible for him to continue his work as a musicl and teacher: both of his sons lost their lives; one of the the German jurist Hans von Dohnányi, was executed for role in the abortive attempt on Hitler’s life; the other son w killed in combat. Late in 1944, he moved to Austria. At war's end rumors were rife that Dohnányi used his influence with the Nazi overlords in Budapest to undermine the position of Bartok and other liberals, and that he acquiesced in anti Semitic measures. But in 1945 the Allied occupation authon ties exonerated him of all blame; even some prominent Jewish Hungarian musicians testified in his favor. In 1947-48 he made a tour of England as a pianist; determined to emigrate to America, he accepted the position of piano teacher at Tucu man, Argentina; in Sept. 1949 he reached the U.S where be became composer-in-residence at Florida State Univ in Tallahassee.
Dohnanyi was a true virtuoso of the keyboard, and was greatly esteemed as a teacher; among his pupils were Georg Solts Geza Anda, and Bálint Vázsonyi. His music represented the terminal flowering of European Romanticism, marked by pas sionate eloquence of expression while keeping within the framework of Classical forms. Brahms praised his early efforts In retrospect, Dohnányi appears as a noble epigone of the past era, but pianists, particularly Hungarian pianists often put his brilliant compositions on their programs. His most popular work with an orch. is Variations on a Nursery Song also frequently played is his Orch. Suite in F-sharp minor Dohnlnyi himself presented his philosophy of life in a poignant pamphlet under the title Message to Posterity (Jacksonville Fla., 1960).
Works:            STAGE: Der Schleier der Pierrette (Pierrette s Veil)
op. 18, pantomime (1908-9; Dresden, Jan. 22, 1910), Tante
Simona, op. 20, comic opera (1911-12; Dresden, Jan.20, 1913);
Avajda tornya (The Tower of the Voivod), op. 30, opera (1915- 22; Budapest, March 19,1922); Der Tenor, op. 34, comic opera
(1920-27; Budapest, Feb. 9, 1929).
oRcH.: Sym. in F major (not numbered) and Zrinyi, overture a (1896; Budapest, June 3,1897); Piano Concerto No. 1 in E
minor, op. 5(1897-98; Budapest, Jan. 11, 1899); Sym. No. 1 in D minor, op. 9 (1900-1901; Manchester, Jan. 30, 1902); Konzertstuck for Cello and Orch., op. 12 (1903-4; Budapest, March 7,1906); Suite in F-sharp minor, op. 19 (l908-9~ Budapest, Feb. 21,1910); Variationen flberein Kinderlied (Vanations on a Nursery Song), for Piano and Orch., op. 25 (1913 Berlin Feb. 17, 1914, Dohnányi, soloist); Violin Concerto No I in Dminor, op. 27(1914-15, Copenhagen, March 5,1919) Un ?iepi nyitdny (Festival Overture), op. 31(1923); Ruralta hun garica, 5 pieces for Orch., op. 32b (1924; Budapest Nov 17 1924, Dohnanyi, conductor); Szimfbnikus percek (Symphonic Minutes), op. 36 (1933); Suite en ~vaIse, op. 39 (1942-43) Sym. No. 2 in E major, op. 40 (1943-44; London, Nov 23 1948; rev. 1953-56; Minneapolis, March 15,1957); Piano Con certo No. 2 in B minor, op. 42 (1946-47; Sheffield, England Dec. 3,1947); Violin Concerto No. 2, op. 43 (scored for Orch without Violins; 1949-50; San Antonio, Jan.26, 1952) Concer tino for Harp and Chamber Orch., op. 45 (1952); American Rhapsody, op. 47 (1953; Athens, Ohio, Feb. 21, 1954 Dohna nyi, conductor).
voc~: Meg yar hiszekegy (Hungarian Credo) for Tenor Choir, and Orch. (1920); Missa in Dedicatione Eccleszae (Mass of Szeged) for Soloist, Chorus, Organ, and Orch., op. 35 (1930; consecration of the Cathedral of Szeged, Oct.25, 1930); Cantus vitae, symphonic cantata, op. 38 (1939-41); Stabat Mater for 3 Soloists, Children’s Chorus, and Orch., op. 46 (1952-53;
Wichita Falls, Texas, Jan. 16, 1956); also songs, including 6 2 Poems, op. 14 (1905-6); Im Lebensienz, op. 16 (1906-7); 3 Songs, with Orch., op.22 (1912); Hungarian Folk Songs (1922). J
CliAMBER: Piano Quintet No. 1, op. 1(1895); String Quartet No. 1, op. 7 (1899); Sonata for Cello and Piano, op. 8 (1899); Serenade for String Trio, op. 10 (1902); String Quartet No. 2, op. 15 (1906); Sonata for Violin and Piano, op. 21 (1912); Piano Quintet No.2, op. 26(1914); Ruralia hun garica, 3 pieces for Violin and Piano, op. 32c (1924); Ruralia hungarica, 1 - piece for Cello or Violin and Piano, op. 32d (1924); String a Quartet No. 3, op. 33 (1926); Sextet for Piano, Clarinet, Horn, and String Trio, op. 37(1935); Aria, for Flute and Piano (1958); Passacaglia for Flute, op. 48 (1959).
Pw’Jo: 4 Pieces, op. 2: Sch.erzo in C-sharp minor, Intermezzo in A minor, Intermezzo in F minor, Capriccio in B minor (1896- 97); WaLtz in F-sharp minor, for 4 hands, op. 3 (1897) Vana tions and Fugue on a Theme of E(mma) G(ruber), op 4(1897) Gavotte and Musette in B-flat major (1898); Passacaglia in E-flat minor, op. 6 (1899); 4 Rhapsodies, in G minor F sharp minor, C major, E-flat minor, op. 11(1902-3); Winterrezgen 10 bagatelles: Widrnung, Marsch der lustigen Bruder An Ada Freund Viktor’s Mazurka, Sphdrenmusik, Valse aimable Urn Mitternacht, Tolle Gesellscha ft. Morgengrauen, Postludtum op 13 (1905); Humoresken in Form einer Suite: March Toccata Pavane with Variations, Pastorale, Introduction, and Fugue op. 17 (1907); 3 Pieces: Aria, Valse impromptu, Capricczo op. 23 (1912); Fugue, for left hand or 2 hands (1913) Suite irn alten Stil: Prelude, Allemande, Courante, Sarabande Menuet, Gigue, op. 24(1913); 6 Concert Etudes, op. 28(1916) Variations on a Hungarian Folk Song, op. 29 (1917); Pastorale Hungarian Christmas Song (1920); Ruralia hunganca 7 pieces, op. 32a (1923); Essential Finger Exercises (1929) Suite en valse for 2 pianos, op. 39a (1945); 6 Pieces: Impromptu Scherzino, Canzonetta, Cascade, Ländler, Cloches, op. 41 (1945); 12 Short Studies for the Advanced Pianist (1950); 3 Singular Pieces: Burletta, Nocturne (Cats on the Roof), Perpetuum mobile, op. 44 (1951); Daily Finger Exercises (3 vols., 1960).