Music and Vision homepage




Ilona von Dohnányi's
'Ernst von Dohnányi - A Song of Life',


In his 1929 article on Dohnányi's chamber music, Tovey postulated a satisfactory old age for the Hungarian composer with a continuing ratio of eight chamber works to three operas. It turned out differently. Dohnányi's first stage piece was the Veil of Pierrette pantomime, in which Pierrot is deserted by Pierrette so that she can marry Harlequin; she repents, and vows to die by poison with Pierrot; the latter takes the poison, but Pierrette lacks the courage till the outraged Harlequin forces her to drink it. The comic Tante Simona was added to make a double bill. The Vaivode's Tower told of an evil spirit that prevented the completion of a mighty defensive tower and could be placated only by the sacrifice of a woman, who was eventually the chieftain's beloved daughter-in-law. Der Tenor concerned the desperation of a vocal quartet whose tenor had died; as substitute they employ the disreputable Schippel from the local pub, who immediately gets matrimonial ideas above his station; a threatened duel collapses through the terror of both parties, and the quartet ends by singing Mendelssohn's choral song 'The Hunter's Departure'. The success of Der Tenor in Germany came to an abrupt end under the Third Reich because the librettist was a Jew and so was Mendelssohn.

Continue >>

Copyright © 13 July 2003 Robert Anderson, London, UK


 << Music & Vision home                  Bartók and the Piano >>