DOHNÁNYI Piano Works
Daniel Röhm (b1974, Böblingen, Germany) is a new name to me but a pianist who emerges from this recital with great credit – imaginative, capricious, lyrical and with technique aplenty in reserve. At times he can be a little, let’s say, forthright at fff, but rather someone who likes to exploit the full dynamic range of a decent concert grand (well recorded, by the way) than the timid halfway house one hears so often.
The main selling point here is Dohnányi’s early (1900), rarely recorded Passacaglia in E flat minor, Op 6, the first time I have come across it and, I hope, not the last. If Brahms is somewhat in evidence, Dohnányi is decidedly his own man in this compact and resourceful work (it lasts 13'10", an ideal recital number). The listener need have no concern about being ‘unduly distracted by the demiurgic supervision of the ideas’ or by the ‘quadrature of the circle in which the various musical strands of the then present are joined together’ (I quote from the disc’s exorbitantly prolix booklet and its unbearably leaden translation).
This and the Three Singular Pieces, Op 44 (from 1951 and here drily entitled Drei Stücke für Klavier) were recorded in 2010, the Four Rhapsodies, Op 11, back in 2007. The latter two works appear on Vol 1 of Martin Roscoe’s ongoing complete Dohnányi solo piano music. Roscoe’s more nuanced and tonally varied playing in his 2011 Potton Hall recording for Hyperion is preferable but it’s a close-run thing, with both pianists wittily chipper in the Poulencian passages of the famous Third Rhapsody, making the most of the gorgeous, cinematic second theme of the ‘Dies irae’ Fourth Rhapsody and clearly enjoying themselves in the jokey Op 44 pieces.