For fans of Ernst von Dohnányi, whose music sounds could be compared to Brahms but with less cabbage and more paprika, this two-disc set will be mandatory. With two hours, 19 minutes, and seven seconds of the third-best Hungarian composer of the first half of the twentieth century performing his own piano music in studio quality recordings from 1929 through 1956, these discs will be everything Dohnányi's fans could ever hope for. From the reckless 1929 Budapest recordings of his Pastorale and his transcription of Delibes' famous Waltz from Coppelia through the exuberant 1931 London recordings of transcriptions of Strauss' Schatz-Walzer and Du und Du to the magnificent series of 1956 London recordings of some his best and most popular piano pieces, including the Variations on a Hungarian Folk Song and Ruralia Hungarica, and closing with a sublime recording of Schubert's Valses nobles played with alt Wien schmaltz, Dohnányi performs with bright wit, brilliant technique, and a warm heart. For fans of Dohnányi, this set will be as good as it gets.
Appian Publications & Recordings has done everything possible to make the transfers and masterings as smooth as possible without detracting from the sonic integrity of the sometimes antique sources. The stereo HMV recordings sound as if they were made the day before yesterday.