One of the most grown-up review sites around


2019
51,000 reviews
and more.. and still writing ...

Search MusicWeb Here

     
  
 

 

International mailing


  Founder: Len Mullenger             Editor in Chief: John Quinn               Contact Seen and Heard here  

Some items
to consider

TROUBADISC

colourful imaginative harmony
Renate Eggebrecht violin


Leticia Gómez-Tagle
Chopin, Liszt, Scarlatti


Bax Piano Music


Guillaume LEKEU


Book 1 Book 2 Book3
Mota The Triptych: -Website



Acte Prealable returns
with New Releases


Superior performance


Shostakovich 6&7 Nelsons
Notable


Verdi Requiem Thielemann


Marianna Henriksson
An outstanding recital


Arnold Bax
Be converted


this terrific disc


John Buckley
one of my major discoveries


François-Xavier Roth
A game-changing Mahler 3

........................................

Bryden Thomson


Symphonies


Vaughan Williams Concertos


RVW Orchestral

 


Support us financially by purchasing this from

Felix MENDELSSOHN (1809-1847)
Symphony No. 1 in C minor Op. 11 [30:06]
Piano Concerto No. 2 in D minor Op. 40 [22:53]
Overture zum Märchen von der schönen Melusine Op. 32 (1832 version) [9:56]
Kristian Bezuidenhout (fortepiano)
Freiburger Barockorchester/Pablo Heras-Casado
rec. 2018, Ensemblehaus, Freiburg, Germany
HARMONIA MUNDI HMM902369 [63:01]

We all have our favourite interpreters and performances of Mendelssohn; I personally was brought up listening to Kurt Masur’s classic Leipzig recordings of the symphonies, which I now own on CD (74321 20286-2). I have since expanded my collection with various other recording, but here is a performance which shines a new light on what is perhaps the composer’s most underappreciated and least known of the five symphonies, coupled with sparkling performances of the Second Piano Concerto and The Fair Melusine Overture. We have become use to the likes of the Freiburger Barockorchester bringing their expertise to the baroque repertoire, but recently the same period sensibilities and performance values have been brought to bear on music from the late Romantic period, to great success and acclaim. This disc is the latest example, and the culmination of the Freiburger Barockorchester’s survey of the symphonies.

When I want to listen to Mendelssohn, I usually turn to the Second or Fifth but the performance here could resurrect the First from neglect. Its key of C minor is often regarded as a sombre one, but it is full of Sturm und Drang, with the opening movement played at breakneck speed, helping to highlight the music’s fury. In comparison, the second movement is an oasis of calm, slow, tender music with some beautiful playing, especially from the woodwinds. The following Menuetto with its dance-like main theme is also beautifully played, the hard sticks of the timpanist bringing out every beat clearly. The final movement, with its strongly contrapuntal writing, brings back the stormier feeling of the opening movement, ending in the more heroic key of E flat Major. This performance clearly shows the lineage between this symphony and the Fifth Symphony of Mendelssohn’s hero, Beethoven, and has made me listen anew to my other recordings of it; the contrast between this and more traditional twentieth century views is marked.

The performance of the Piano Concerto No. 2 will not be to everyone’s taste, as its pared-down orchestral sound and obviously period piano might deter some people, but I find it very rewarding. Again, this work has been completely overshadowed by the First Piano Concerto, so it is good to see it getting the recognition it deserves. It is excellently performed, especially in the slow central Adagio, on an 1837 Érard fortepiano, built the same year as this work was composed and premiered in Birmingham. Kristian Bezuidenhout is expertly supported by the agile playing of the Freiburger Barockorchester, making this more of an ensemble piece in a better-balanced recording than the recent one by Ronald Brautigam (BIS-2264), where the piano sounds too far forward.

The Overture zum Märchen von der schönen Melusine is full of passion and panache, providing a fitting conclusion to both the programme here and Pablo Heras-Casado’s survey of the symphonies. The combination of excellent performances, recorded sound and booklet notes in French, English and German, makes this disc a real winner.

Stuart Sillitoe



We are currently offering in excess of 51,000 reviews


Advertising on
Musicweb


Donate and keep us afloat

 

New Releases

Naxos Classical


Nimbus Podcast


Obtain 10% discount



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

Musicweb sells the following labels
Acte Préalable
(THE Polish label)
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

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
Postmaster
Jonathan Woolf
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger