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Serenade in C Major Op.10
 Composed by Dohnanyi, Ernst
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Serenade in C for string trio Op.10 (1902)

Dohnányi’s evergreen Serenade of 1902, for violin, viola and cello, was written on tour in London and Vienna, and was given its premičre by players from the Fitzner Quartet in the Austrian capital in 1905. While marking the crystallisation of Dohnányi’s personal musical style, his Serenade also looks, as do Dvorák’s two serenades composed a quarter of a century before, to eighteenth century models. The five-movement form and the froming of three movements by marches reflects classical practice where shaping is concerned and the antique flavour is captured in the music on a number of occasions, not least in the vigourous opening Marcia. The gentle Romanza begins with a sinuous melody played by the viola over a pizzicato accompaniment and frames a more romantic central section. in complete contrast, the Scherzo is a contrapuntal tour de force: beginning with a spectral fugato it develops both jocular and slightly wistful moods. The second slow movement, occasionally reminiscent of Schubert’s Death and the Maiden quartet, is a set of five variations on a soulful, chorale-like theme. The concluding Marcia is predominantly cheerful, but takes its leave with a backward look at the seductive second theme of the first movement.

©Jan Smaczny

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