Cyril Smith

Cyril Smith : Dohnanyi 'Nursery Variations' Finale - Cyril Smith, piano; Sargent conducts

Erno Dohnanyi's 'Variations on a Nursery Song' received a splendid recording in 1953 from pianist Cyril Smith, conductor Sir Malcolm Sargent and the Philharmonia Orchestra. The French nursery song 'Ah, vous dirai-je, Maman' provides the theme (it's also known as 'Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star' and 'Baa Baa Black Sheep'). Towards the end of the work, the theme becomes a kind of slow, heartfelt, even tragic waltz. In this recording the performance is particularly impassioned, though for the final pages the mood lightens again as the nursery tune is restated to amusing effect. We hear those very effective closing moments from Guild GHCD 2420.