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Dohnányi: Orchestral & Chamber Music / Cutler, Crow

Release Date: 12/28/2004 
Label:  Bridge   Catalog #: 9160   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Ernö von Dohnányi
Performer:  Sara CutlerErica KiesewetterKaren DreyfusDiane Walsh,   ... 
Conductor:  Leon Botstein
Orchestra/Ensemble:  American Symphony Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 4 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

Those who perceive Ernö Dohnanyi's chamber works as skillfully crafted Brahms knock-offs are certain to change their tune after hearing this disc. The three-movement Harp Concertino shimmers with harmonic surprises, not to mention gorgeous, curving woodwind melodies that gently orbit around the harp's constantly inventive figurations. While the music often sounds lush and robust, the actual orchestral textures are so transparent and clear that you could take dictation from them. Well, at least you could from this astonishingly vivid recording, which seems to place the listener in the middle of the orchestra (side-saddle with the delectable harp soloist Sara Cutler), thereby allowing you to savor the details as you relish fresh gossip. Read more I'd go so far as to say that this is conductor Leon Botstein's finest recording of orchestral repertoire yet, and I recommend it over Chandos' less alluringly engineered version.

By contrast, the Sextet's smaller forces often swell up to symphonic dimensions, progressing from the first movement's grandiose game plan to the riotous finale that pits feisty Hungarian rumbas (with a little help from Gershwin) against slurpy Viennese waltzes. The score's virtuosic solo turns and tricky ensemble interplay pose no problems at all for Bridge's stellar sextet that features some of New York's best freelancers. They prove formidable competition for both the Spectrum Concerts Berlin musicians on Naxos and the Endymion Ensemble on ASV. I still lean toward the sharper characterization and rhythmic swing that distinguish a 1976 Hungaroton recording with pianist Ernö Szegedi and members of the Tátrai Quartet, and I also hope that Decca will reissue the András Schiff/Radovan Vlatkovic/Takács Quartet traversal. Lastly, the complex and bittersweet Six Pieces Op. 41 come to life through Todd Crow's sensitive and intelligently phrased performances (when will Bridge release this underrated pianist's sensational Berlioz/Liszt Symphonie fantastique?). Recommended, especially for the Concertino. [3/31/2005]
--Jed Distler, ClassicsToday.com Read less

Works on This Recording

Concertino for Harp and Chamber Orchestra, Op. 45 by Ernö von Dohnányi
Performer:  Sara Cutler (Harp)
Conductor:  Leon Botstein
Orchestra/Ensemble:  American Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1952; USA 
Date of Recording: 05/2001 
Venue:  Olin Auditorium, Bard College, New York 
Length: 15 Minutes 18 Secs. 
Sextet for Piano, Violin, Viola, Cello, Clarinet and Horn in C major, Op. 37 by Ernö von Dohnányi
Performer:  Erica Kiesewetter (Violin), Karen Dreyfus (Viola), Diane Walsh (Piano),
Eugene Moye (Cello), Laura Flax (Clarinet), Jeffrey Lang (French Horn)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1935; Budapest, Hungary 
Date of Recording: 06/2003 
Venue:  Olin Auditorium, Bard College, New York 
Length: 29 Minutes 20 Secs. 
Pieces (6) for Piano, Op. 41 by Ernö von Dohnányi
Performer:  Todd Crow (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1945; Austria 
Date of Recording: 02/2004 
Venue:  Olin Auditorium, Bard College, New York 
Length: 18 Minutes 28 Secs. 

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