ORFEO International – Catalogue


C 761 092 A

Felix Mendelssohn
Early Concertos for Violin and Piano

Orfeo • 2 CD • 1h 33min

Order No.: C 761 092 A


F. Mendelssohn Bartholdy: Concerto d minor for Violin and String Orchestra
F. Mendelssohn Bartholdy: Concerto a minor for Piano and String Orchestra
F. Mendelssohn Bartholdy: Concerto d minor for Violin, Piano and String Orchestra


Dinorah Varsi (Klavier)
Dmitry Sitkovetsky (Violine)
Stuttgarter Kammerorchester (Orchester)
Michael Hofstetter (Dirigent)

Felix Mendelssohn - Early Concertos for Violin and Piano

Youth and maturity – that could be the motto of the first new ORFEO recording for the Mendelssohn year 2009, with the Stuttgart Chamber Orchestra and its chief conductor Michael Hofstetter. Mendelssohn wrote his first concertos between 1821 and ’23 while still only a boy, fresh from his meeting with Goethe in Weimar. C 761 092 A
C 761 092 A
There was a double concerto for violin, piano and orchestra, plus one solo concerto each for the two instruments (they are all without opus number and not to be confused with the later piano concertos or the Violin Concerto op. 64). It was Mendelssohn’s teacher Zelter who had set up that meeting with Goethe, but his pupil would soon be surpassing him by far. Mendelssohn’s compositional technique and his early maturity are striking, though these works serve less to underline his reputation as a Romantic musician than as someone whose models were Classical, such as Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach and Johann Nepomuk Hummel. Mendelssohn’s originality in the presentation and development of his themes seems to grow with every new piece, just as his use of form displays increasing freedom and independence. On this recording, the Stuttgart Chamber Orchestra under Michael Hofstetter achieves just the right degree of concentration and transparency, while the soloists themselves are a perfect example of our above motto. On the one hand, Dinorah Varsi’s approach to the classicality of Mendelssohn’s piano writing is one of undiminished freshness – while she also plays his rapid runs, chains of trills and parallel octaves with all the necessary virtuosity. C 761 092 A
C 761 092 A
And on the other hand, we have Alexander Sitkovetsky, discovered at just eight years of age by Yehudi Menuhin, who furthered his career and under whose baton he even later played Mendelssohn. (It was Menuhin, incidentally, who rediscovered Mendelssohn’s early violin concerto and whose performances brought it to the public’s attention). Sitkovetsky moves effortlessly between the ‘galant’ and the French styles, and in the double concerto he and Dinorah Varsi together offer a virtuoso display, pulling out all the stops. Yet their performance never ceases to breathe and to move naturally. This CD is a must for everyone who wants to get to know Mendelssohn’s early works, or who knows them but wishes to deepen that acquaintance.

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