On March 10, 1948, world-renowned composer and pianist Ernst von Dohnányi (1877−1960) embarked for the United States, leaving Europe for good. Only a few years earlier, the seventy-year-old Hungarian had been a triumphant, internationally admired musician and leading figure in Hungarian musical life. Fleeing a political smear campaign that sought to implicate him in intellectual collaboration with fascism, he reached American shores without a job or a home. A Wayfaring Stranger presents the final period in Dohnányi’s exceptional career and uses a range of previously unavailable material to reexamine commonly held beliefs about the musician and his unique oeuvre. Offering insights into his life as a teacher, pianist, and composer, the book also considers the difficulties of émigré life, the political charges made against him, and the compositional and aesthetic dilemmas faced by a conservative artist. To this rich biographical account, Veronika Kusz adds an in-depth examination of Dohnányi’s late works—in most cases the first analyses to appear in musicological literature. This corrective history provides never-before-seen photographs of the musician’s life in the United States and skillfully illustrates Dohnányi’s impact on European and American music and the culture of the time.
A Wayfaring Stranger Ernst von Dohnányi's American Years, 1949-1960
About the Book
"Kusz’s approach to the analysis of Dohnányi’s late works differs from that of previous studies in that it considers sources that were never before considered in this context. . . . This book is valuable to music scholars and to those interested in Hungarian topics in fields outside of music; and even in analysis chapters, where the work is most technical, Kusz provides context that is accessible and of interest to non-specialists."—Hungarian Cultural Studies
"This book . . . provides a necessary reassessment of this remarkable composer and paints a portrait of a man who handled his painful situation with rare equanimity."—BBC Magazine
"The presence of a major representative of the Central-European Romantic tradition in a small city in post-Second World War America is a tale worth telling. Veronika Kusz tells it well."—Music & Letters“Based on little-known archival materials—some of which the author herself discovered—as well as detailed analyses, this book provides a much-needed reevaluation of the accepted narrative of Dohnányi’s biography.”—James A. Grymes, author of Ernst von Dohnányi: A Bio-Bibliography
“The underlying scholarship of this book is first rate. A Wayfaring Stranger represents the best in the long tradition of Hungarian musicological studies.”—Klára Móricz, author of Jewish Identities: Nationalism, Racism, and Utopianism in Twentieth-Century Music