One of the most grown-up review sites around

54,928 reviews
and more.. and still writing ...

Search MusicWeb Here



International mailing

Founder: Len Mullenger                                    Editor in Chief:John Quinn             

Some items
to consider


paid for


100th birthday of Mieczyslaw Weinberg on December 8, 2019.
Renate Eggbrecht has recorded all 3 violin Sonatas

FOGHORN Classics

Mozart Brahms
Clarinet Quintets

Falckenhagen Flute Concertos

new releases


Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing

Sample: See what you will get

Editorial Board
MusicWeb International
Founding Editor
Rob Barnett
Editor in Chief
John Quinn
Seen & Heard
Editor Emeritus
   Bill Kenny
MusicWeb Webmaster
   David Barker
Jonathan Woolf
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger


Discs for review may be sent to:
Jonathan Woolf
76 Lushes Road
Essex IG10 3QB
United Kingdom
Ph. 020 8418 0616



Advertising on

Donate and keep us afloat


New Releases

Naxos Classical

Click to see New Releases
Get 10% off using code musicweb10


Obtain 10% discount

Recordings of the Month


Gunnar Kristinsson Moonbow

Mozart and Contemporaries


La clarinette Parisienne


Serenade - Septet

Complete Organ Works


Septem Dies



CD: Crotchet

Felix MENDELSSOHN (1809-1847)
Mendelssohn Edition 5 - Keyboard and Chamber Music
Songs without Words: Op. 19 [17:23]; Op. 30 [15:57]; Op. 38 [14:33]; Op. 53 [16:25]; Op. 62 [14:06]; Op. 67 [12:08]; Op. 85 [12:42]; Op. 102 [11:39]
Preludes and Fugues: Op. 37 [23:17]
Andante with Variations in D major [5:46]
Organ Sonatas Op. 65 No. 1 [16:26]; No. 3 [10:22]; No. 6 [14:26]
Piano Trios: No. 1 in D minor Op. 49 [29:09] No. 2 in C minor Op. 66 [28:49]
Octet in E flat major Op. 20 [31:03]
Concerto for violin and string orchestra in D minor [23:05]
Violin Sonata in F major [23:59]
Annie d’Arco (piano) Marie-Claire Alain (organ) Trio Fontenay, Kreuzberg and Eder Quartets, Olivier Charlier (violin), Orchestre Philharmonique de Monte-Carlo/Lawrence Foster, Maxim Vengerov (violin); Alexander Markovich (piano)
rec. c.1960-1991, various locations
WARNER CLASSICS 2564 69267-4 [5 CDs: 319:45]
Experience Classicsonline

Although for some of the earlier boxes in this series the works included more or less chose themselves - the Symphonies and the best known Concertos in Volume 1 and the two Oratorios and some songs in Volume 3 for instance - that cannot have been the case here.

Mendelssohn wrote large quantities of chamber music and music for keyboard so that including a representative selection is a more complex task. What we have here is essentially a single disc to represent the organ music, a disc of the two Piano Trios, a disc of early works including the Octet, and the whole of the piano Songs without Words on two discs. It is the last of these that may cause most surprise. It would certainly have given a fuller picture of Mendelssohn as composer to have had just one disc of the Songs without Words and to have used the final disc for some of the String Quartets, a crucial part of the composer’s output. Despite this, what we have does fairly represent just how wide the composer’s scope was and above all his imagination in providing music for different kinds of instrument and circumstance.

The two discs of Songs without Words include all forty-eight of those for piano published in Mendelssohn’s lifetime but excludes those for other instruments and those published posthumously. They used to be found in bound copies in every piano stool but today are found more often in secondhand shops. At first sight the choice of a recording of these pieces almost fifty years old may seem eccentric but the actual recording quality is far from bad and certainly does not get in the way of enjoyment. The performances themselves are well worth hearing. Annie d’Arco is perhaps not the starriest name from Warner’s back catalogue, but she plays with a delightfully unaffected simplicity and honesty which suits this music admirably. It is best not to listen to too many at a time as that does emphasise their similarities and limited range, but taken a set at a time they are utterly delightful. I frequently found that I was being transported to the kind of small salon or domestic circumstances under which this music was originally played, but with a pianist far better than one would expect to encounter there.

The single disc of organ works is also well chosen in terms of works and performances. All of the Preludes and Fugues, the best of the Sonatas and a single example of the shorter works make for a very good representation of this part of the composer’s output. Enjoyment is guaranteed in Marie-Claire Alain’s performances on the organ of the Church of St Benedict in Ringsted, Denmark. She plays very stylishly and excitingly - not a phrase one often uses about performances of Mendelssohn’s organ music. Similar comments can be made about the Piano Trios. These had to form an essential part of any box devoted to Mendelssohn’s chamber music, and the Trio Fontenay play them to perfection with great clarity and finesse, as well as an appreciation of their darker qualities.

The final disc contains one admirable performance - the Octet, one of real class that by itself would justify the disc - the Sonata, and the early D minor Violin Concerto which is not only a dull work but receives a suitably dull performance. It is nonetheless only a small part of this delightful set, which would be worth having even if you have these works in other performances already. With so many alternative performances and works to choose from for this set the choices must have been difficult, but despite the lack of any of the string quartets they have been made very well here, and the result is a very enjoyable and worthwhile set.

John Sheppard 



Making a Donation to MusicWeb

Writing CD reviews for MWI

About MWI
Who we are, where we have come from and how we do it.

Site Map

How to find a review

How to find articles on MusicWeb
Listed in date order

Review Indexes
   By Label
      Select a label and all reviews are listed in Catalogue order
   By Masterwork
            Links from composer names (eg Sibelius) are to resource pages with links to the review indexes for the individual works as well as other resources.

Themed Review pages

Jazz reviews


      Composer surveys
      Unique to MusicWeb -
a comprehensive listing of all LP and CD recordings of given works
Prepared by Michael Herman

The Collector’s Guide to Gramophone Company Record Labels 1898 - 1925
Howard Friedman

Book Reviews

Complete Books
We have a number of out of print complete books on-line

With Composers, Conductors, Singers, Instumentalists and others
Includes those on the Seen and Heard site


Nostalgia CD reviews

Records Of The Year
Each reviewer is given the opportunity to select the best of the releases

Monthly Best Buys
Recordings of the Month and Bargains of the Month

Arthur Butterworth Writes

An occasional column

Phil Scowcroft's Garlands
British Light Music articles

Classical blogs
A listing of Classical Music Blogs external to MusicWeb International

Reviewers Logs
What they have been listening to for pleasure



Bulletin Board

Give your opinions or seek answers

Pat and present

Helpers invited!

How Did I Miss That?

Currently suspended but there are a lot there with sound clips

Composer Resources

British Composers

British Light Music Composers

Other composers

Film Music (Archive)
Film Music on the Web (Closed in December 2006)

Programme Notes
For concert organizers

External sites
British Music Society
The BBC Proms
Orchestra Sites
Recording Companies & Retailers
Online Music
Agents & Marketing
Other links
Web News sites etc

A pot-pourri of articles

MW Listening Room
MW Office

Advice to Windows Vista users  
Site History  
What they say about us
What we say about us!
Where to get help on the Internet
CD orders By Special Request
Graphics archive
Currency Converter
Web Ring
Translation Service

Rules for potential reviewers :-)
Do Not Go Here!
April Fools

Return to Review Index

Untitled Document

Reviews from previous months
Join the mailing list and receive a hyperlinked weekly update on the discs reviewed. details
We welcome feedback on our reviews. Please use the Bulletin Board
Please paste in the first line of your comments the URL of the review to which you refer.