Dohnányi left behind an indelible legacy that includes not only original compositions for piano, but a number of transcriptions and paraphrases. These pieces, which are primarily charming waltzes that he used as encores throughout his career, include transcriptions of waltzes by Brahms, Delibes, Schubert and Strauss. This Waltz is a paraphrase of the memorable ‘Valse lente’ that introduces the first two acts of Delibes’ then-popular ballet Coppélia
. After a bravura introduction, Delibes’ waltz appears in its original state, but is quickly ornamented with melodic and harmonic surprises that surely delighted Dohnányi’s audience. The ‘Valse de la poupée’ (Waltz of the doll) from Coppélia
’s second act serves as a contrasting middle section before the ‘Valse lente’ returns in a stirring finale. One can easily hear how Dohnányi was able to call not only on his talents as a pianist and a composer but also on an entertaining panache to become—in Bartók’s words—a ‘public idol’.
from notes by James A Grymes © 2012