Schroeder Premieres

Erno Dohnanyi                  

Sonata in B-flat minor, Op. 8 (1899)

On February 26, 1901, Alwin Schroeder and the pianist-composer performed the Dohnanyi cello sonata on the Kneisel Quartet concert at Mendelssohn hall in New York City. At that time Dohnanyi was making his first visit to the United States, and this was likely the work's US premiere. Of this performance the New York Mail wrote:  “The Dohnanyi sonata for piano and ’cello... was interesting but over-long. …Yet the piece tells something, musically speaking; it contains some good thematic material, of which the best parts oddly enough are given to the ’cello…” (quoted in Musical Record and Review, March 1901, p 74). The first performance of the sonata had taken place in London during Dohnanyi’s earlier tour of England, on Dec. 4, 1899, with the composer joining the work's dedicatee, Ludwig Lebell. Dohnanyi, who later settled in the United States and taught at Florida State University, was evidently a skilled chamber musician; when he played a Bach sonata with Franz Kneisel, it was said that they were "not like one man – that is not good ensemble playing, but mere machinery – but like two men whose agreement was absolute, flawless.” (Musical Record, Feb. 1901, p 74)