horizontal line

A Hungarian landmark rooted royally in the north German tradition, Dohnányi’s Op 1 (Budapest 1895) is a work of arresting maturity and grandiose cohesion. True, Schumann, Brahms and Liszt are never far away. Yet Dohnányi tools their language into a discourse ultimately personal in phraseology and ‘air’. In a ‘hats off’ moment, Brahms could not but admire.

Civilised and elevated, the Second Quintet (Berlin 1914) – in the composer’s black ‘Dies irae’ key before coming to rest in Habsburg twilight major, written against a background of fame and illicit passion (for Bronisław Huberman’s actress wife Elza) – is a three- movement construct journeying sonata, intermezzo and polyphonic roads organically referenced. Lisztian cyclic procedures bind the Second String Quartet (Berlin 1906) – curiously, though, it’s the aura of Tchaikovsky’s Andante cantabile that veils the emotional recesses.

This epic album is a triumph of performance, production and engineering, Hamelin remaining throughout the muscular structuralist and poet, the total master of his instrument in all its shades and strengths. Steeped in the give-and-take style underpinning Dohnányi’s late Romantic world, the Takács Quartet collaborates eloquently, the subtlety of paragraphing, cadences and fugal incursions in the quintets setting the bar high.

ATEŞ ORGA Read the full review on Agora Classica


   Read full review   


To continue reading, please upgrade to a premium account. You will have immediate full access.



Read more classical music reviews online here:



Piano International, 2020 - ©Rhinegold Publishing