Dohnanyi's youthful Piano Concerto #1 with its hymn near the end

The Piano Concerto #1 in E Minor, Op. 5, by Hungarian composer Ernst Von Dohnanyi )1877-1960) was completed in 1898, when the composer would have been turning 21.

Again, the work is a white-hot testament to young male energy and virility. And it is rather long (44 min).

The overall style is somewhat Brahmsian, with a lot a spicy Hungarian rhythms and constant syncopation thrown in. But the expansive style of each of the three movements also deserves note.

The first movement begins with a slow introduction in triple time, and is said to recall the opening of Brahms‚Äôs Symphony #1.  The main Allegro has a second subject in the dominant B Major.  The movement ends quietly recalling the opening.

The slow movement (Andante) seems to vacillate around the subdominant tonality of A.

But the finale, starting out Vivace in E Minor in triple time, is indeed grand. It is episodic, with a couple of intermediate cadenza-like passages for piano and orchestra separately. The elements in the finale come together (sometimes fugally) near the end with a grand chorale E Major hymn tune, which a church minister of music believes is original with the composer but has found its way into some hymnals.  The coda, anticipating Rachmaninoff (after a big tune) ends with a flourish of virtuosity.

S.P. Scores Videos offers the score on YouTube, in a licensed Naxos performance by Howard Shelley (pianist) and the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Matthias Bamert.

Update: April 20:

Look also at the Symphony #1 in D Minor (1901), composed at age 24, Op. 9 (54 min and almost of early Mahler proportions).

The work has five movements, the last an Introduction, Theme and Variations and Fugue. (The middle three movements are sort of a Bartok-like arch; the fourth movement is an intermezzo recalling the slow movement, as if to introduce the Introduction of the finale!) Oscillating rhythms mark this work. The harmonic transformations at the end of the fugue, leading to a final triumph, are quite enticing. Performance by Roberto Paternostro, Deutsche Staatsphilharmonie Rheinland-Pfalz. The OneandOnlyZero provides the video on YouTube.

(Posted: Saturday, April 16, 2022 at 10 PM EDT by John W. Boushka)