WORKS: Concerto for Violin, Piano and Strings; Capriccio brillant; Rondo brillant; Serenade and Allegro giocoso
PERFORMER: Ronald Brautigam (piano), Isabelle van Keulen (violin); Nieuw Sinfonietta Amsterdam/Lev Markiz
CATALOGUE NO: CD-713
There is no want of mature judgement in the 14-year-old Mendelssohn’s concerto for Violin, Piano and Strings. The interplay of the two soloists is imaginatively wrought and there is no musical evidence that would lead anyone other than a strict scholar to judge this a juvenile work. The Nieuw Sinfonietta Amsterdam offer crisp tempi and beautifully clear articulation, almost to the point that the performance seems rather antiseptic. This substantial work takes up half the disc, the remainder given over to three shorter pieces for piano and orchestra, for the most part composed when Mendelssohn was in his twenties. Each one is abundantly brilliant and jolly, although the Capriccio includes some gorgeous melting cadences, and the performances are equally faultless. But the cumulative effect is rather wearisome, so as with many tightly-themed CDs, the trick is to try and remember to turn it off rather than letting the whole lot drift past like so much virtuoso wallpaper.