The evening opens with the overture to Austrian composer Emil von Reznicek‘s opera Donna Diana.
Reznicek’s not quite Austrian-sounding name is due to his Czech and Romanian ancestry, but he himself was born in Vienna in 1860 and studied music there and later in Leipzig. He left behind many works, including symphonies, piano and choral works, but he is best known for his opera entitled Donna Diana. Written in 1894, it was the fourth of his 14 operas. The libretto is an adaptation of a 17th-century Spanish comedy. The plot features a young lady, Donna Diana, who is courted by numerous suitors, including Don Cesar, who is rejected by her at every turn. But he never gives up, and by the end of the story, Donna Diana sees the error of her ways and accepts Don Cesar. The première was a great success and a way out of obscurity for Reznicek, but as time went on the piece was dropped from the repertoire of frequently performed operas. The overture, however, is still often performed in concert halls, and for good reason: it is true Viennese music with a touch of Spain, and its popularity is due to its fresh and cheerful atmosphere.
The second work of the evening is by the young Hungarian composer Ilona Dobszay-Meskó. Ilona Dobszay-Meskó is known in the music world not only as a composer but also as a conductor. She has won prizes as a composer and performer in several competitions. She is also a teacher, artistic director and conductor of Ventoscala Sinfonietta orchestra, which she founded in 2003. This year she received the Erkel Prize for her work as a composer. This will not be the first time that Dohnányi Orchestra plays a work by Ilona Dobszay-Meskó, as last year BDO performed her flute concerto entitled Concerto per flauto. Earlier, Dohnányi Orchestra interpreted her orchestral suite Eszmélet (“Wakefulness” – the tr.) and her fairy tale Hansel and Gretel. Tonight’s performance will feature her trumpet concerto, composed in 2019, performed by trumpeter Balázs Winkler.
Brahms wrote a total of four symphonies, and tonight Budafok Dohnányi Orchestra is going to perform his last one. Completed in 1885, it is the only symphony Brahms wrote in a minor key, and also his darkest in tone. It was first performed in a two-piano version by the composer for a select group of friends and fans, and the reception didn’t bode very well. He received a lot of criticism, but this did not deter him from presenting an orchestral version of the work, conducted by himself. That performance, however, was a resounding success. The symphony has four movements, the first, Allegro non troppo, is based on two main melodies, a lyrical opening theme and a rhythmic second theme. The second movement, Andante moderato, also contrasts melodic and rhythmic material, the third, Allegro giocoso, is in fact a scherzo movement. Finally the last movement, Allegro energico e passionato, written in the form of a passacaglia or chaconne, brings the piece to a spectacular close.