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Mendelssohn: Concertos For 2 Pianos / Hogwood, Silver Garburg Duo

Mendelssohn-bartholdy / Silver Garburg Piano Duo
Release Date: 01/26/2010 
Label:  Oehms   Catalog #: 739  
Composer:  Felix Mendelssohn
Performer:  Gil GarburgSivan Silver
Conductor:  Christopher Hogwood
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bavarian Chamber PhilharmonicSilver Garburg Piano Duo
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
In Stock: Usually ships in 24 hours.  

Notes and Editorial Reviews

MENDELSSOHN Concertos for 2 Pianos and Orchestra: in E; in A? Sivan Silver, Gil Garburg (pn); Christopher Hogwood, cond; Bavarian CP OEHMS 739 (71:28)

Felix Mendelssohn is remembered today as the prodigious composer of works such as the incidental music to A Midsummer Night’s Dream , the “Italian” Symphony, the Hebrides Overture and the E-Minor Violin Concerto. Before the age of 16, however—incidentally, Read more the age at which he composed the Octet and fulfilled his young promise—he wrote a substantial body of work that is virtually forgotten today. Among these are a series of string symphonies, various chamber works, a multitude of piano pieces, and a series of concertos for piano, violin, piano and violin, and the concertos for two pianos listed here. Both of these two-piano concertos were written in the years 1823–24, when Mendelssohn, then in his mid teens and his formative years, was under the influence of Mozart and Weber. Though there are passages throughout these concertos that are more than reminiscent of these two masters, there is also already an unmistakable Mendelssohnian voice present as well.

From the opening of the E-Major Concerto, Christopher Hogwood does a good job of molding the orchestral part, subtly shaping the string parts to create a beautifully light and fleet performance. His work in the period-instrument field serves him well here, as he does an excellent job of balancing the lighter textures of the orchestra with the soloists. Sivan Silver and Gil Garburg, both unknown to me, read this music well. Their playing is characterized by clear rapid fingerwork, and finely marked entrances that allow one to hear the exchanges between them, but never unmusically so. The slow movement, meditative in quality, is allowed to develop naturally at its own pace, while the final movement is palpably joyous in its conclusion. This concerto is particularly enjoyable in this performance.

The A?-Concerto is a much bigger piece in terms of scope and difficulty. Hogwood again does a beautiful job of controlling his forces, bringing out all of the nuances inherent in the score. The soloists do a particularly good job of shaping their parts in the quasi-canonical sections throughout this concerto. They easily handle the mechanical difficulties of these concertos, perhaps sounding only a bit labored in the Weber-like third movement—as difficult a movement as Mendelssohn ever wrote for the piano.

The sound is particularly rich in this recording, making this one of the best overall contenders for this repertoire. Though these pieces are not the composer’s most important works, they do provide pleasurable listening experiences and give a solid glimpse of the young Mendelssohn still trying to find his own voice. The conductor has been a particular favorite of mine ever since I heard his Messiah and his Mozart symphonies, and the soloists are technically capable and musical. If you are looking to have one recording of this repertoire in your collection, this should be a top contender. Warmly recommended.

FANFARE: Scott Noriega
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Works on This Recording

Concerto for 2 Pianos in E major by Felix Mendelssohn
Performer:  Gil Garburg (Piano), Sivan Silver (Piano)
Conductor:  Christopher Hogwood
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bavarian Chamber Philharmonic,  Silver Garburg Piano Duo
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1823; Germany 
Concerto for 2 Pianos in A flat major by Felix Mendelssohn
Performer:  Gil Garburg (Piano), Sivan Silver (Piano)
Conductor:  Christopher Hogwood
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bavarian Chamber Philharmonic,  Silver Garburg Piano Duo
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1824; Germany 

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