Monday, October 21, 2013

Mendelssohn: Complete Solo Piano Music, vol. 1

"The early Sonata in E, Op. 6, may be the product of a 17 year old, but [Howard] Shelley plumbs the depths of its early sophistication. He does so with sparse use of pedal and magical attention to phrasing that consistently rewards the listener, who can't fail to be seduced, especially in II. The following Adagio shows meticulous preparation and careful study (perhaps too careful). What at first may seem lacking in spontaneity wins me over by its passion at climaxes, and the final movement does burst forward with all of the composer's bubbly joy for life and its wild but controlled exuberance. This one would have me instantly on my feet with energetic applause. Capriccio in F-sharp minor, Op. 5, moves like lightning in the pianist's hands. Mendelssohn was a genius at writing fast movements, and this one is an exhausting whirlwind of activity. It never lets up until the closing measures, and Shelley is hardly one to underplay" (Alan Becker, American Record Guide, July/Aug. 2013, p. 118).

View catalog record here!


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