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Ernst Von Dohnanyi: A Song of Life

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Ernst Von Dohnanyi: A Song of Life


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Ernst von Dohnanyi (1877-1960) was one of the most highly respected musicians of his time. He was a virtuoso pianist, composer, and conductor who brought international prominence to Hungarian music. From a young age Dohn nyi enjoyed an international prestige that brought him into contact with such 19th-century masters as Johannes Brahms and Eugene d’Albert. Dohnanyi’s technique and interpretive skills as a pianist and conductor are legendary. He is also remembered as the composer of masterpieces for piano, chamber ensembles, and orchestra. As a teacher and administrator, Dohnanyi was responsible for the training of an entire generation of musicians in Hungary, and for helping to shape the country’s musical culture. After World War II, Dohnanyi’s career suffered when he was falsely accused of being a Nazi sympathiser. Although he was eventually able to disprove the allegations, rumours would continue to follow him. In 1953, at the age of 76, Dohnanyi returned to international prominence with a triumphant ‘re-debut’ at Carnegie Hall. Ernst von Dohnanyi: A Song of Life is the first English-language biography of the musician. Written by Ilona von Dohnanyi, Dohnanyi’s widow, it presents a unique perspective. The first half of the book relates Dohnanyi’s public life through 1937 as a great musician who brought international prominence to Hungarian music through his own unparalleled success as a virtuoso pianist, composer, conductor, and pedagogue. The second half recounts the demise of Dohnanyi’s career after World War II, when he was falsely accused of being a Nazi sympathiser and his triumphant return to performing late in life. A book for musicians, music lovers, and anyone interested in Dohnanyi and the musical life of his times.

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