1 800 222 6872

Dohnányi: Symphony No. 2; Two Songs / Evan Thomas Jones, baritione

Album Summary

>Dohnányi, Ernst von : Symphony no 2 in E major, Op. 40
>Dohnányi, Ernst von : Two Songs, Op. 22
Performer Conductor Ensembles Composer

Notes & Reviews:

Dohnányi's powerful Second Symphony was composed toward the end of the Second World War but its large canvas reflects not so much his wartime experience as his own artistic credo as a Romantic composer. Of the symphony and its philosophy he wrote: "The goal is the end of the glorious fight. The goal is death; life is a struggle", and in it he crafted a passionate monument to the Romanticism he espoused, heard here in its final revised version. The two songs for baritone and orchestra have been very rarely heard, and were revived by Alexander Jiménez with the Florida State University Symphony Orchestra in 2013.

American Record Guide, November/December 2014
The two songs for baritone and orchestra are a real find. The song titles are 'Gott' and 'Sonnensehnsucht', with texts by Wilhelm Conrad Gomoll (1877-1951). Both are broad and dramatic. They are also somewhat Wagnerian, especially 'Sonnensehnsucht'. Dohnanyi apparently planned to write more of these songs. Mr Jones is a baritone who sounds almost like a bass. That quality plus his powerful, dark voice works well here.

Notes & Reviews:

Recording information: Ruby Diamond Concert Hall, Florida State Universtiy, Ta (03/01/2013-03/03/2013).


Dohnanyi Symphony No. 2 and Two Songs, Op. 22
The Hungarian conductor, composer, and pianist Erno Dohnanyi (1877-1960) used the Germanicized form of his name Ernst von Dohnanyi on most of his published compositions. He added the "von" to denote or imply nobility because his third wife Ilona Zachar claimed that her family had been ennobled in 1697. He spent much of his life in Hungary but left in December 1944. He stayed in Austria, Argentina, Mexico, and finally settled in the USA, where he married Ilona in 1949, and they became American citizens in 1955. Dohnanyi taught for ten years (1949-1959) at the Florida State University School of Music in Tallahassee. The well-known conductor Christoph von Dohnanyi is Erno's grandson.
Dohnanyi's music has been unduly neglected lately owing to both political circumstances and changing musical fashions in which the overt nationalism of a younger generation of Hungarian composers was favored over the German Late Romanticism that characterized his work.
This new CD from Naxos features a new recording of Dohnanyi's Second Symphony (composed in 1944 and revised in 1957) and the first two of his Three Songs, Op. 22 (written in 1912) in a world premiere recording. Conductor Alexander Jimenez takes a slightly more relaxed approach to the symphony versus Matthias Bamert did in his interpretation with the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra. The difference of around five minutes in a lengthy work such as this makes little overall impact, however, so this will probably not be a deciding factor when selecting a version to purchase. The recorded sound is excellent on this new CD, so two other factors should be taken into account by those wishing to buy a version of this symphony: (a) the filler; (b) the price. Filler: the Bamert CD also contains Dohnanyi's "Symphonic Minutes," Op. 36 whereas the new Naxos offers the world premiere recording of two songs from Dohnanyi's Op. 22 sung by the American baritone Evan Thomas Jones. Price: the Bamert CD is still available, and it is classified as a full-price disc, whereas the Naxos is classified as a budget-price disc. However, resourceful shoppers can probably find both CDs available at discount prices, so filler rather than price will probably be the deciding factor.
I could live happily with either the Bamert or the Jimenez version, so whichever you choose - happy listening!
Ted Wilks

Submitted on 06/28/14 by Ted Wilks 
Committed performances of under-performed works
This is a Florida State University project from start to finish, and that makes perfect sense. Ernö Dohnányi finished his career on the faculty of FSU, and conducted the FSU Symphony Orchestra (albeit a half century before they made this recording). The performing editions for the Symphony No.2 and the Two songs were prepared from manuscripts in FSU's Dohnányi collection, by one of the leading authorities on Dohnányi who received his doctorate at -- FSU. The ensemble, and conductor, Alexander Jimenez come to the music with not only a deep understanding of the music, but something of a personal connection to the composer as well. And for the most part, that holds them in good stead.

Two Songs, Op. 22, written in 1922 features lush, post-romantic harmonies, similar to those in the orchestral songs of Richard Strauss or Alexander Zemlinsky. Unfortunately, the booklet doesn't include the song texts for these world premier recordings, but Naxos makes them available online. Wilhelm Conrad Gomoll's poetry provided the dramatic framework for the work, and the words are effectively illuminated by Dohnányi's music. As a pure listening experience, the songs are thrilling. Baritone Evan thomas Jones sings expressively, and sometimes with gravitas. The FSU ensemble performs with a supple responsiveness that adds to the beauty of the work.

Dohnányi's massive Symphony No. 2 was completed in 1945, and revised in 1957. The revision (heard here), tightened the structure, and made Dohnányi's vision of conflict and hope more focused in the process. Dohnányi never abandoned tonality, but the textures are more austere than those of the Two Songs. Nevertheless, the work is quite lyrical throughout, especially in the second movement. The FSU Symphony Orchestra is an amazingly talented student ensemble, with only a few slips to betray their lack of professional experience. Some of the string attacks sounded a little soft to me, and occasionally soloists seemed a little weak in exposed passages.

Still, Maestro Jimenez and the FSU Symphony Orchestra deliver committed and authoritative performances of these works. And in the process they do a great service to further the reputation of their former professor.
Submitted on 07/02/14 by RGraves321 
Login or Create an Account to write a review

Also Purchased

Works Details

>Ernst von Dohnányi (Composer) (1877 - 1960) : Symphony no 2 in E major, Op. 40
  • Conductor: Alexander Jimenez
  • Ensemble: Florida State University Symphony Orchestra
  • Notes: Ruby Diamond Concert Hall, Florida State Universtiy, Tallahassee, Florida, USA (03/01/2013-03/03/2013)
  • Running Time: 14 min. 6 sec.
  • Period Time: Post Romantic
  • Form: Orchestral
  • Written: 1943-1944

>Ernst von Dohnányi (Composer) (1877 - 1960) : Two Songs, Op. 22 :: no 1. Gott (God)
  • Performer: Evan Jones
  • Conductor: Alexander Jimenez
  • Notes: Ruby Diamond Concert Hall, Florida State Universtiy, Tallahassee, Florida, USA (03/01/2013-03/03/2013)
  • Running Time: 4 min. 41 sec.
  • Period Time: Post Romantic
  • Written: 1912

>Ernst von Dohnányi (Composer) (1877 - 1960) : Two Songs, Op. 22 :: no 2. Sonnensehnsucht (Longing for the Sun)
  • Performer: Evan Jones
  • Conductor: Alexander Jimenez
  • Notes: Ruby Diamond Concert Hall, Florida State Universtiy, Tallahassee, Florida, USA (03/01/2013-03/03/2013)
  • Running Time: 6 min. 11 sec.
  • Period Time: Post Romantic
  • Written: 1912