One of the most grown-up review sites around

54,514 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

Mozart Brahms
Clarinet Quintets

Deaconoff; Stockhausen

Live at the Clifton Festival

Choir at Clifton Cathedral


New Releases

Naxos Classical

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

Nimbus Podcast

Obtain 10% discount

Special offer 50% off
15CDs £83 incl. postage

Musicweb sells the following labels

Altus 10% off
Atoll 10% off
CRD 10% off
Hallé 10% off
Lyrita 10% off
Nimbus 10% off
Nimbus Alliance
Prima voce 10% off
Red Priest 10% off
Retrospective 10% off
Saydisc 10% off
Sterling 10% off

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


REVIEW Plain text for smartphones & printers

Support us financially by purchasing this from

Felix MENDELSSOHN (1809-1847)
Songs without Words
Michael Endres (piano)
rec. March 2012, April 2013, Klaus-von-Bismarck-Saal, Funkhaus, Cologne
OEHMS CLASSICS OC452 [62:58 + 54:55]

Michael Endres has flown under the radar for many years; his preference for teaching instead of concert-giving, and his low publicity profile, have hidden a man who is, in fact, one of the best pianists of his generation. Endres excels in a wide repertoire, from his reference-caliber recordings of the Mozart and Schubert sonatas to a disc of Arnold Bax (which our review says is played “with a real sense of direction and control….top-drawer”).

My colleague Dominy Clements made a few comments about this pianist’s Schubert, which make a good starting-point in discussing his Mendelssohn. “Endres’ approach is uncomplicated but certainly by no means shallow.” “Endres is unsentimental, faithful to the score, and sensitive to the song-like passages that provide the contrast to all that repetitive bridgework.”

Mendelssohn’s Songs without Words are all song-like passages and next to no bridgework, of course, but those comments remain true of this recording. Uncomplicated is a good way to describe the performer’s approach here, which is uncluttered by idiosyncrasies, willful indulgences, look-at-me showiness, or dubious Big Ideas. It’s easier to describe Endres by what he doesn’t do, than to describe him by what he does, since his primary achievement is to avoid so many pitfalls. He is lyrical without gushing, and achieves a true “song” spirit with each melody, while avoiding the temptation to become a diva.

Tempos resist categorization: I can’t say that Endres is consistently faster or slower than normal. He does what feels “right” for each work, with the end goal of making each melody feel truly singable. This is a pianist of formidable technical skill, as you’re reminded with his fleet-fingered accompaniments or in Mendelssohn’s occasional bursts of virtuoso flair, like CD 2 track 15. But the technical prowess is not this album’s biggest strength, which is its plain-speaking eloquence.

Superb recorded sound from Oehms and its German engineers. I hope that Endres will be soon back in the studio for more Mendelssohn—maybe his extraordinary but little-known Preludes and Fugues, Op. 35, coupled with the Sonata and the Variations sÚrieuses? If only record labels took requests!

As a post-script, if you are new to the artistry of Michael Endres, a few works which show him at his formidable, indeed spectacular, best include the Schumann Kreisleriana, Ravel Tombeau de Couperin, youthful sonatas by Schubert, and, maybe surprisingly, the Gershwin songbook.

Brian Reinhart



Advertising on

Donate and keep us afloat



Recordings of the Month


Conner Riddle Songs

Rodzinski Sibelius

Of Innocence and Experience


Symphonies 1, 2, 3



Aho Symphony 5

Dowland - A Fancy


Rachmaninov_ Babayan