WORKS: Mathieu: Concertino No. 2, Op. 13; Shostakovich: Piano Concerto No. 1; Mendelssohn: Concerto for piano and violin in D
PERFORMER: Alain Lefèvre (piano), David Lefèvre (violin), Paul Archibald (trumpet); London Mozart Players/ Matthias Bamert
CATALOGUE NO: AN 2.9283
The link between the somewhat disparate composers featured on this release is that they all demonstrated prodigious gifts as children. For some, however, it may seem surprising to find the relatively unknown Canadian André Mathieu sharing the platform with such masters as Mendelssohn and Shostakovich.
Yet on the evidence of the energetic Second Concertino, completed when he was only 12 years old, the high claims for his talent made by the great scientist Albert Einstein seem more than justified. Certainly Alain Lefèvre, whose discography includes a number of other works by Mathieu, makes the best possible case for this attractive music, delivering a brilliant and flamboyant performance.
Lefèvre, together with violinist David Lefèvre, also offers playing of great bravura and expressive intensity in Mendelssohn’s youthful Concerto for piano and violin, though the interpretation doesn’t quite operate at the same high voltage level as with Martha Argerich and Gidon Kremer with the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra on DG.
Undoubtedly the finest music on this disc features in the Shostakovich Concerto. Alongside Bamert’s rather dogged accompaniment, Lefèvre tends to emphasise the darker undercurrents of the score at the expense of its moments of biting sarcasm and uproarious humour.
I prefer the more schizophrenic approach adopted by Argerich in her recent EMI recording, but those wanting a stylistically varied and well-recorded disc will find much to enjoy in this fine release. Erik Levi