There are always artistswho stay true to a specific language, imagery and ideals. Their tone might seem modest and their gaze gives an impression to be turned backwards. From William Morris to Brahms, Handel to Goethe, this view has strangely provided them with an endless vitality. Then there are others who search for the Holy Grail only to never find it, for new horizons and new harmonies, burning everything that has preceded them. The divide between the two types, in the musical and cultural world, has never been deeper than in the first half of the 20th century.
Ensemble Raro’s new recording of two rarely performed chamber music gems by Ernő Dohnányi – the Second Piano Quintet in E-flat Minor Op.26 (1914) and the Sextet Op. 37 in C Major (1935) for piano, violin, viola, cello, clarinet and horn – proposes to reassess these works, which are imbued with idealism, and to reflect upon the values encoded in them. It may communicate to the receptive listener something new about the world that surrounds us, since “it is the present that polarises the events into fore- and after-history” (W. Benjamin).