Martin Roscoe’s continuing survey of Dohnányi’s piano music has been revealing that there is much more to it than the comparatively well-known C Major Rhapsody Op 11 that he included in his first volume.
Here, Roscoe concentrates for the most part on works nourished by Dohnányi’s Hungarian roots, drawing into his orbit such delightful pieces as the arrangement of the 'Schatzwalzer' from Johann Strauss’s Hungarian-themed operetta Der Zigeunerbaron. The more conspicuously Hungarian works, though, are the Ruralia Hungarica and the Variations on a Hungarian Folksong.
Coincidentally, the Testament label has just released a two-disc set of Dohnányi himself playing the variations and much else besides in recordings from the Thirties and Fifties—piano-playing of a different age and different priorities, perhaps, but a fascinating insight into a composer/virtuoso at work. Roscoe, however, is the one for repeated listening. His finesse of colouring as well as his strong rhythmic impulse and lyrical astuteness are qualities that fit the music ideally and allow it to bloom. Together with the Three Pieces Op 23, an early Gavotte and Musette and a gorgeous Delibes-inspired Naila Waltz, Roscoe is an eloquently expressive advocate for an unduly neglected master of the keyboard.