Hyperion Records

Serenade for string trio in C major, Op 10

'Dohnányi, Schoenberg & Martinů: String Trios' (CDA67429)
Dohnányi, Schoenberg & Martinů: String Trios
Buy by post £10.50 CDA67429 
'Dohnányi: Piano Quintets & Serenade' (CDH55412)
Dohnányi: Piano Quintets & Serenade
Buy by post £5.50 CDH55412  Helios (Hyperion's budget label)  
Movement 1: Marcia (Allegro)
Movement 1: Marcia: Allegro
Movement 2: Romanza (Adagio non troppo)
Track 6 on CDH55412 [4'05] Helios (Hyperion's budget label)
Movement 2: Romanza: Adagio non troppo
Movement 3: Scherzo (Vivace)
Track 7 on CDH55412 [4'36] Helios (Hyperion's budget label)
Movement 3: Scherzo: Vivace
Movement 4: Tema con variazioni (Andante con moto)
Track 8 on CDH55412 [6'19] Helios (Hyperion's budget label)
Movement 4: Tema con variazioni: Andante con moto
Movement 5: Finale: Rondo
Movement 5: Rondo (Finale)
Track 9 on CDH55412 [4'27] Helios (Hyperion's budget label)

Serenade for string trio in C major, Op 10
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

Track-specific metadata
Click track numbers opposite to select

Details for CDA67429 track 3
Scherzo: Vivace
Recording date
24 December 2003
Recording venue
Henry Wood Hall, London, United Kingdom
Recording producer
Recording engineer
Hyperion usage
  1. Dohnányi, Schoenberg & Martinu: String Trios (CDA67429)
    Disc 1 Track 3
    Release date: April 2005
   English   Français   Deutsch