String Quartets Nos. 1 & 3
Shortly after his first successes as a concert pianist, Dohnányi brought out his First Quartet in 1899. It is a mature work, acknowledging the influence of Brahms whilst also adopting writing that hints strongly at Dohnányi’s own Hungarian origins. It ranges widely and expressively, including both hymnal and folk elements in a richly rewarding way. The Third Quartet of 1926 is more harmonically questing and structurally sophisticated, and filled with vibrant melodies. Of the Aviv Quartet’s previous Naxos recording (8.570965 / Schulhoff) MusicWeb International wrote: ‘they sound simply fantastic… The playing is electric; no position is a weak link’.
Dohnányi’s quartets move from late Romanticism to music tinged with a touch of expressionism via Zemlinsky. The Aviv String Quartet has been widely praised internationally in music of a similar vintage – for instance Schulhoff’s chamber music.