- Sextet for piano, violin, viola, cello, clarinet & horn in C major, Op. 37
- String Quartet No. 3 in A minor, Op. 33
- Serenade for violin, viola & cello in C major, Op. 10
The music of Hungarian composer Ernst von Dohnányi took a dive in concert program frequency after his death in the U.S. in 1960, when the fashion was for Bartók or still more progressive composers. It has been making a comeback, however, and this satisfying release by Britain's venerable Nash Ensemble, largely specialists in contemporary music, should only help it along. Dohnányi was classified as a conservative, and indeed there is a strong Brahmsian streak in his music. Yet the more you listen to it, the more prominent the Hungarian streak seems, and it is no surprise to learn that both Bartók and Kodály attested to the importance of Dohnányi's influence. By 1926, when Dohnányi wrote the "String Quartet No. 3 in A minor," the influence was going the other way; Bartók especially can be heard in the angular opening Allegro agitato e appassionato movement. But the framing of the two less intense works around the string quartet is effective. Sample the finale of the "Sextet for piano, clarinet, horn, and string trio in C major, Op. 37," of 1935: it is in the Brahmsian line, doubtless, but its combination of textural complexity and rhythmic drive are all Dohnányi's own. What's needed in this music is an experienced chamber group that brings clarity, and that's exactly what it gets from the Nash Ensemble. Recommended.