Mendelssohn: Early Concertos For Violin & Piano / Hofstetter, Varsi, Sitkovetsky

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MENDELSSOHN Violin Concerto in d. Piano Concerto in a. Concerto for Violin and Piano in d Michael Hofstetter, cond; Alexander Sitkovetsky (vn); Dinorah Varsi (pn); Stuttgart CO ORFEO 761 092 (2 CDs: 93:02)

This disc is a treat for the Mendelssohn bicentennial. What we have here is a piano concerto written at age 12, a violin concerto at age 13, and a double concerto (violin and piano) at age 14. Mendelssohn was a composer whose childhood genius surpassed that of Mozart and that of Schubert. These concertos are testaments of that amazing attribute. Each is more interesting and complex than its predecessor. The influences of Mozart, C. P. E. Bach, and early Beethoven are apparent, but an original stamp is present unequivocally and pervasively. The orchestral parts are scored for strings only, in keeping with the scoring of the string symphonies of the same years. Conductor Hofstetter has the strings employ very little vibrato; however, violinist Sitkovetsky does not follow such a limitation. Absent from these concertos is Mendelssohn’s characteristic contrapuntal writing, which made its entry later in his teens. Much in the first movement of the “Double” Concerto, starting around 3:22, is redolent of the “Hungarian” section of Schubert’s piano and violin Fantasie (D 934). The Fantasie was written four years after the “Double” Concerto.

These three concertos are played with consummate musicianship. Michael Hofstetter is the principal conductor of the renowned Stuttgart Chamber Orchestra, following a line of succession that started with the orchestra’s founder, Karl Münchinger. Alexander Sitkovetsky, still in his twenties, is a Russian-born British violinist who has become one of the most sought after young violinists for solo and chamber performances. Dinorah Varsi has had a long career, retreating from the public eye from time to time for reflection and regeneration. After studying under Géza Anda and winning the Clara Haskil competition in Lucerne in 1967, her international career was launched.

If you are drawn to Mendelssohn’s music, as is the case for so many classical music lovers, then these discs are the ones that you must hear.

FANFARE: Burton Rothleder

Product Description:

  • Release Date: April 29, 2009

  • Catalog Number: ORF-C761092

  • UPC: 4011790761121

  • Label: ORFEO

  • Number of Discs: 2

  • Period: Romantic

  • Composer: Felix Mendelssohn

  • Conductor: Michael Hofstetter

  • Orchestra/Ensemble: Stuttgart Chamber Orchestra

  • Performer: Alexander Sitkovetsky, Dinorah Varsi