Mendelssohn: Concertos For Two Pianos Nos. 1 & 2

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Donald Francis Tovey famously described Mendelssohn as a “spoiled genius”. If so, then these two works composed between the ages of 14 and 15 reveal his genius before it got spoiled. They are wholly delightful. Mendelssohn’s classical impulses guarantee that he won’t fall into that deadly “allegro moderato” style of concerto-writing that took over the German school in the latter half of the 19th century. This music sizzles. At nearly 45 minutes you would think that the Second concerto would die an early and miserable death, but it doesn’t. The piano writing is consistently scintillating, but never overly dense, and often adventuresome. Just listen to the passage about eight minutes into the Second concerto’s first movement; it’s sensational stuff.

The performances are excellent. Duo Genova & Dimitrov plays with the youthful energy and impulsiveness that the music demands, yet they never bang or overload the very full textures. Ulf Schirmer and his Munich orchestra accompany with equal enthusiasm, and the recording captures the proceedings with amazing fidelity and purity. These works were not published or performed beyond Mendelssohn’s own lifetime until the 1960s. Hearing them rekindles our wonder at the youthful prodigy’s astonishing mastery. Whether his genius was later spoiled will be a source of controversy, but the pleasure to be had from this terrific release shouldn’t be. –- David Hurwitz,

Product Description:

  • Catalog Number: 777463-2

  • UPC: 761203746323

  • Label: CPO

  • Composer: Felix Mendelssohn

  • Conductor: Ulf Schirmer

  • Orchestra/Ensemble: Munich Radio Symphony Orchestra, Piano Duo Genova & Dimitrov

  • Performer: Aglika Genova, Liuben Dimitrov