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Mendelssohn: Piano Works Vol 2 / Benjamin Frith


Release Date: 01/23/1996 
Label:  Naxos   Catalog #: 8550940   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Felix Mendelssohn
Performer:  Benjamin Frith
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 6 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

As I remarked last November when Vol. 1 of this cycle appeared, the multiplicity of notes in Mendelssohn’s piano music sometimes lays him open to the charge of ‘note-spinning’. So what higher praise for Frith than to say that thanks to his fluency, tact and fancy, not a single work in this second volume seems to outstay its welcome.

The unchallengeable masterpiece, of course, is the Variations serieuses, so enthusiastically taken up by Clara Schumann, and still a repertory work today. Frith characterizes each variation with telling contrasts of tempo and touch without sacrificing the continuity and unity of the whole. Equally importantly, never for a moment does he allow us to forget the serieuses of the title. I was no less
Read more impressed by his sensitively varied palette in the early E major Sonata (unmistakable homage to Beethoven’s Op. 101) so often helped by subtle pedalling. But surely the recitative of the Adagio at times needs just a little more intensity and underlying urgency.

Of the miniatures the six Kinderstucke (“Christmas Pieces” – written for the children of a friend) emerge with an unforced charm. As music they lack the romance of Schumann’s ventures into a child’s world, just as the Three Studies do of Chopin’s magical revelations in this sphere. However, Frith’s fingers never let him down. In the first B flat Study he even seems to acquire a third hand to sustain its middle melody. For sheer seductive grace, the independent Gondellied haunts my memory most of all, here with its melody so gracefully floated over a gently gliding bass. With pleasantly natural sound in its favour, too, this disc could surely sell at more than its modest price.'

-- Joan Chissell, Gramophone [5/1996]
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Works on This Recording

1.
Preludes (3) for Piano, Op. 104a by Felix Mendelssohn
Performer:  Benjamin Frith (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1836; Germany 
Venue:  St. Martin's Church, E. Woodhay, England 
2.
Etudes (3) for Piano, Op. 104b by Felix Mendelssohn
Performer:  Benjamin Frith (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1834-1838; Germany 
Venue:  St. Martin's Church, E. Woodhay, England 
3.
Variations Sérieuses (17) for Piano in D minor, Op. 54 by Felix Mendelssohn
Performer:  Benjamin Frith (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1841; Germany 
Venue:  St. Martin's Church, E. Woodhay, England 
4.
Gondelied for Piano in A major "Barcarolle" by Felix Mendelssohn
Performer:  Benjamin Frith (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1837; Germany 
Venue:  St. Martin's Church, E. Woodhay, England 
5.
Scherzo for Piano in B minor by Felix Mendelssohn
Performer:  Benjamin Frith (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1829; Germany 
Venue:  St. Martin's Church, E. Woodhay, England 
6.
Sonata for Piano no 1 in E major, Op. 6 by Felix Mendelssohn
Performer:  Benjamin Frith (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1826; Germany 
Venue:  St. Martin's Church, E. Woodhay, England 
7.
Kinderstücke (6) for Piano, Op. 72 "Christmas Pieces" by Felix Mendelssohn
Performer:  Benjamin Frith (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1842; Germany 
Venue:  St. Martin's Church, E. Woodhay, England 

Sound Samples

3 Preludes, Op. 104a: Prelude in B-Flat Major
3 Preludes, Op. 104a: Prelude in B Minor
3 Preludes, Op. 104a: Prelude in D Major
3 Etudes, Op. 104b: Etude in B-Flat Minor
3 Etudes, Op. 104b: Etude in F Major
3 Etudes, Op. 104b: Etude in A Minor
Variations serieuses in D Minor, Op. 54, MWV U156: Variations serieuses in D Minor, Op. 54
6 Kinderstücke, Op. 72 "Christmas Pieces": Allegro non troppo
6 Kinderstücke, Op. 72 "Christmas Pieces": Andante sostenuto
6 Kinderstücke, Op. 72 "Christmas Pieces": Allegretto
6 Kinderstücke, Op. 72 "Christmas Pieces": Andante con moto
6 Kinderstücke, Op. 72 "Christmas Pieces": Allegro assai
6 Kinderstücke, Op. 72 "Christmas Pieces": Vivace
Gondellied (Barcarole) in A Major, MWV U136: Gondellied in A Major
Scherzo in B Minor
Piano Sonata No. 1 in E Major, Op. 6, MWV U 54: Allegretto con espressione
Piano Sonata No. 1 in E Major, Op. 6, MWV U 54: Tempo di Menuetto
Piano Sonata No. 1 in E Major, Op. 6, MWV U 54: Recitativo: Adagio e senza tempo
Piano Sonata No. 1 in E Major, Op. 6, MWV U 54: Molto allegro e vivace

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