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Hyperion Records

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Track(s) taken from CDA67429
Recording details: December 2003
Henry Wood Hall, London, United Kingdom
Release date: April 2005
Total duration: 21 minutes 14 seconds

'The Leopold Trio have their own strengths, not least a warm, pooled tone, a relaxed demeanour and an ability to search out the subtler aspects of the score. The sound is consistently excellent; add Calum MacDonald's authoritative notes and you have a confident recommendation' (Gramophone)

'This warmly engineered recording from the Leopold String Trio must rank amongst the finest ever committed to disc, the players relishing every opportunity to demonstrate their individual virtuosity whilst at the same time ensuring that subtlety of nuance and variety of texture are the order of the day…' (BBC Music Magazine)

'[The Leopold String Trio] have a vibrant yet relaxed approach to the music that makes one listen carefully, and they handle this varied and demanding repertoire with satisfying intensity' (American Record Guide)

'The Leopold String Trio have no fear of the competition. Theirs is a very impressive achievement and the coupling of these three works is, I think, unique. Enterprising lovers of chamber music should not hesitate. Strongly recommended' (International Record Review)

'This is a beautifully played and recorded program. Their performances here are superb … This new CD is a most desirable release. That's a "buy" recommendation' (Fanfare, USA)

Serenade for string trio in C major, Op 10

Marcia: Allegro  [2'11]
Scherzo: Vivace  [4'17]
Finale: Rondo  [4'21]

Other recordings available for download
The Schubert Ensemble of London
Introduction  EnglishFrançaisDeutsch
One of the first works in which Dohnányi felt he had achieved a personal, balanced musical language, putting off these late-Romantic influences, was his Serenade in C major for String Trio, Op 10, composed in 1902 during a concert tour to London and Vienna and premiered in Vienna two years later. In five movements, beginning with a March and including a Romanza, the work is clearly in the nineteenth-century serenade tradition as developed by Brahms and Robert Fuchs. Indeed the example of Brahms, who had actively encouraged the young Dohnányi, is still to be sensed at various points. But the Serenade’s conciseness of form and spareness of means indicate a new sensibility at work. There are also hints of the genuine Hungarian folk music that would soon be explored and collected by his younger colleagues Bartók and Kodály, creating modal inflections in the work’s harmony.

The Hungarian flavour is already apparent in the crisp opening Marcia, whose counter-melody, at once soulful and truculent, has an exotic Magyar character. In fact most of the remaining movements refer to the themes of the March in a more or less sublimated fashion. The following Romanza, with its long, shapely and evocative Hungarian-inflected melody, presented in clean textures and rising to a passionate climax, clearly foreshadows the music of Zoltán Kodály. Dohnányi later arranged this ternary-form movement for string orchestra, but it is in the trio form that we can sense the remarkable textural economy of the middle section, a passionate dialogue between violin and cello accompanied merely by arpeggios on the viola. The heart of the work is the vigorous and closely worked Scherzo, which has aspects of a full sonata form and is notable for its irregular rhythms, rapid figuration and deft fugal treatment of themes which are woven together in the final section.

The fourth movement is a set of five variations on a chorale-like theme (itself a variant of the Magyar melody from the March) which evoke an almost Schubertian lyricism. The Rondo Finale is perhaps the most Brahmsian movement in character. Towards the close the sonorous Magyar melody from the first movement makes an unexpected reappearance in its original form, satisfyingly binding the work together into a structural unity, although the formal brightness of the ending in C major is surely undercut by the tune’s melancholic protest.

from notes by Calum MacDonald © 2005

Other albums featuring this work
'Dohnányi: Piano Quintets & Serenade' (CDH55412)
Dohnányi: Piano Quintets & Serenade
MP3 £4.99FLAC £4.99ALAC £4.99Buy by post £5.50 CDH55412  Helios (Hyperion's budget label)  

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