Mendelssohn: Music for Piano for 2 and 4 hands - Lee / Hellwig
MDG Scene 904 1653-6
Classical - Instrumental
Mendelssohn: Sechs Präludien und Fugen Op. 35, Ouvertüre zum Sommernachtstraum, Andante con Variazioni Op. 83a, Andante und Allegro assai vivace Op. 92
Mi-Joo Lee (piano)
Klaus Hellwig (piano)
Mi-Joo Lee’s dazzling Schumann CD continues to be remembered by one and all. The Korean pianist now teams up with Klaus Hellwig for a Mendelssohn recording with the Overture to A Midsummer Night’s Dream, a version of op. 83 for piano four hands, and the Andante and Allegro op. 92. The Six Preludes and Fugues op. 35 round off this very special program.
The brother and sister Felix and Fanny had their mother Lea to thank for acquainting them with Bach’s music during their earliest childhood and encouraging them to appreciate it. Bach’s music motivated Felix to write a great many preludes and fugues, and their perfection caused even Schumann to rave: “They are compositions born of the spirit and executed in poetic style.”
The playing of piano duets was part of the daily round of musical activities in the Mendelssohn household, but only a very few of these pieces were committed to paper. The siblings were in the habit of arranging for four hands during the playing process. Sometimes the arrangement seemed to them to be so demanding that it later had to be reduced to an easier-to-play version. Just listen to the Overture to A Midsummer Night’s Dream!
The Duet in A major composed by Mendelssohn for Clara Schumann was published from his papers as his op. 92 in 1851. The introduction to the allegro transmitted in the clean copy of the duet and first rediscovered in 1994 is heard here together with the allegro that has been known for quite a longer time - with vibrancy of tone, a touch of triumphant vigor, and virtuosity at its natural best.
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- Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy: A Midsummer Night's Dream - Overture, MWV P 3 Op. 21
- Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy: Allegro brillant for Piano Duet in A major, MWV T 4 Op. 92
- Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy: Andante con Varizioni for Piano Duet in B flat major, MWV T 2 Op. 83a
- Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy: Prelude and Fugue for Piano in A flat major, MWV U 122/108 Op. 35 No. 4
- Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy: Prelude and Fugue for Piano in B flat major, MWV U 135/128 Op. 35 No. 6
- Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy: Prelude and Fugue for Piano in B minor, MWV U 131/91 Op. 35 No. 3
- Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy: Prelude and Fugue for Piano in D major, MWV U 129/105 Op. 35 No. 2
- Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy: Prelude and Fugue for Piano in E minor, MWV U 66/116 Op. 35 No. 1
- Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy: Prelude and Fugue for Piano in F minor, MWV U 126/106 Op. 35 No. 5
Review by John Broggio - October 11, 2010
An unexceptional disc in every way.
Firstly the music is hardly top-drawer Mendelssohn (the overture excepted) and secondly the performances are solid and generally fresh without ever setting the pulse racing both in Mi-Joo Lee's solo performances and also those where Klaus Hellwig joins. Their principal aim appears to be to delineate the structure to the listener - this is well achieved but there is none of the characterisation that marks the best performances out from the also-rans.
The choice of an early C20 Steinway is curious if one is attempting to engage with performance practice for surely a better choice would be a piano style as known by Mendelssohn at the time of composition. The sound from MDG is fair but nothing special either.
Recommended for only hard-core Mendelssohn fans.
Copyright © 2010 John Broggio and HRAudio.net