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Mendelssohn: Piano Concertos Nos 1 & 2 etc

Paris Chamber Orchestra/Lars Vogt (piano) (Ondine)

Our rating 
4.0 out of 5 star rating 4.0

Piano Concertos Nos 1 & 2; Capriccio brillant
Paris Chamber Orchestra/Lars Vogt (piano)
Ondine ODE 1400-2   51:34 mins


The two piano concertos of Mendelssohn’s maturity are both cast in three interconnected movements, betraying the influence of Weber’s famous Konzertstück. The G minor First Concerto has always been the more popular of the two, but its D minor successor, with its striking recitative-like beginning for the soloist and its deeply felt slow movement, is no less impressive. Both works are scored with Mendelssohn’s customary fastidious care, and both were designed to display his own credentials as a virtuoso pianist.

Lars Vogt’s dazzling playing on this new recording does them full justice. He takes the opening movement of the First Concerto at tremendous speed, reflecting Mendelssohn’s Molto allegro con fuoco marking and making the sweeping scales sound like the rushing of the wind. At the same time, Vogt manages to inject a good deal of poetry into the calmer second subject. His playing in the slow movement, too, is admirably limpid.

Vogt is a bit less convincing in the slow movement of Concerto No. 2. This is not an Andante, as in the First Concerto, but a genuine Adagio, and paradoxically Vogt’s flowing tempo makes the music sound more sentimental than it does in the noticeably slower performance by Murray Perahia on his classic Sony recording. Still, this newcomer is very impressive and benefits greatly from the fine playing of the Orchestre de Chambre de Paris. The more concentrated Capriccio brillant in B minor makes an attractive companion-piece to the two concertos.

Misha Donat

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