Erno Dohnányi (1877-1960):
Variations on a Hungarian Folk Songs Op. 29 (1916)
Six Concert Études, Op. 28 (1916)
Ruralia Hungarica, Op. 32a (1924)
Piano: David Korevaar
Producer: Michael Rolland Davis
Engineer: Ed Thompson
Recorded in First Presbyterian Church, Rye, NY, July, 1997.
24-Bit Mastering - HDCD Encoded.
Brilliant pianist, outstanding conductor and distinguished teacher, Ernst von Dohnanyi (1877-1960) composed virtuosic piano works full of sweeping melodies in the grand Romantic tradition. Top prize winner at the William Kapell Piano Competition, David Korevaar, interprets these rarely heard works with a deep understanding and a romantic conception. Korevaar luxuriates in the pianistic difficulties Dohnanyi tosses in his direction, and brings out in each work a sensibility and incisiveness rarely heard on records today.
David Korevaar, now in his late thirties, is and American pupil of Earl Wild, and has pursued a career as both pianist and composer. Like his teacher he chooses a Baldwin instrument whose clear, well-focused sound is eminently suited to this repertoire. His choice of programme here balances familiar pieces such as Ruralia Hungarica (even better-known in its orchestral version) with some less familiar but equally fine works.
In the slower music Korevaar distinguishes himself with cantabile playing of beauty and refinement. Korevaar understands that technique in Dohnanyi, is less about rapidity for its own sake than about turning the keyboard into a kaleidoscope of sonorities. In the Capriccio that forms the last of the Six Concert Etudes he characterizes the music with considerable élan, reminding me somewhat of Godowsky's approach to the work in his 1922 reading. It is good to discover the rest of this ambitious set of pieces too, including the intriguing rapid dialogue between the hands (the pianistic equivalent of a tongue-twister) that forms the third study and the intricately fluid chromaticism of the fifth.
It is the compact Variations and the folk-inspired tone-pictures Ruralia Hungarica that bring out the best in Korevaar, where his evident affection for the music readily transmits itself to the listener. He is not afraid of simple statements when they are called for, and, as in the bell-like Pastorale, has the power to beguile the listener with charm and grace. This is a worthwhile disc of music that deserves to be more widely heard.
International Piano, Nov. 2001
Ernst von Dohnanyi's conservative yet richly idiomatic solo piano works seem to be rebounding from oblivion, as borne out in this delightful recital by David Korevaar on Ivory Classics. Korevaar's easy command of Dohnanyi's thick, orchestral piano textures is governed by a genuine feeling for the music's speech-like syntax, rooted in Hungarian folk song and dance. Listen, for instance, to the conversational give-and-take the pianist brings to the declamatory octaves and disquieting tremolos in the sixth piece of the Ruralia Hungarica. Or notice, in the Pastorale, how beautifully Korevaar shapes the lilting left hand melodies against the right hand's bell-like dance. Korevaar is in full command of his powers, and Ivory Classics' top-notch engineering only adds to my listening pleasure. Let's hope this release will win new audiences over to Dohnanyi's cause. Warmly recommended.
Classics Today, Jun. 2001