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Hyperion Records

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The Temple of Juno in Agrigento by Caspar David Friedrich (1774-1840)
De Agostini Picture Library / Bridgeman Art Library, London
Track(s) taken from CDA68059
Recording details: June 2013
St Silas the Martyr, Kentish Town, London, United Kingdom
Produced by Annabel Connellan
Engineered by Ben Connellan
Release date: July 2014
Total duration: 16 minutes 58 seconds

'Howard Shelley … shows himself ideally cast. His poise and vehemence give substance to even the composer's more facile utterances. Time and again Shelley makes it clear that Mendelssohn has a special place in his affections, and although it is invidious to locate the finer moments in his unfailing expertise, certain performances stand out for their exceptional grace and commitment. What suppleness and expressive beauty in the Andante prefacing the evergreen Rondo capriccioso, what virtuosity in the wildly skittering finale of the F sharp minor Fantasia. What quiet eloquence Shelley achieves in the sixth of the Songs without Words (Book 2), where the gondolier sings his plaintive song above a gently rocking accompaniment' (Gramophone) » More

'Eminently attractive, a mix of the agreeably tuneful, romantically pictorial, invigoratingly dashing and elegantly crafted. Shelley is the stylish master of it all … books 2 and 3 of the Songs without words include some gems, and also some spirited numbers (for example, No 4 of Book 2 is marked 'Agitato e con fuoco'). Full of narrative whatever the tempo, this set concludes with the well-known and enigmatic 'Venetianisches Gondollied' with Mendelssohn exploring similar waters to those found in Chopin's Barcarolle. Similar delights follow in Book 3, the concluding 'Duetto' melting the heart in a manner that is rather Schumannesque, and so lovingly shaped by Shelley. Yes, all good stuff, and thoroughly recommended' (International Record Review) » More

Lieder ohne Worte II, Op 30
composer
1830/5; published in 1835; dedicated to Elise von Woringen

Other recordings available for download
Lívia Rév (piano)
Introduction  EnglishFrançaisDeutsch
Mendelssohn’s second volume of Lieder ohne Worte, Op 30, was released in 1835, though its contents were sifted from pieces composed separately between 1830 and 1835, and then gradually selected and ordered into the opus in a distinctive arrangement of keys, alternating between major and minor, and progressing from two flat keys to four sharp keys (E flat major–B flat minor–E major–B minor–D major–F sharp minor). As was the case with his first set, Op 19b, the composer chose examples of the solo Lied (No 1), duet (No 6), and part-song (No 3), with pianistic character pieces (Nos 2, 4 and 5). Op 30 was the first volume of Lieder ohne Worte to bear a dedication, to Elise von Woringen, a daughter of the Düsseldorf appellate judge and supporter of the composer. The dedication helped initiate the tradition of associating Mendelssohn’s Lieder ohne Worte with feminine qualities. Indeed, two pieces were originally written for other women. No 2, beginning in a pulsating B flat minor but turning to a joyous B flat major, celebrated the birth in 1830 of Sebastian Hensel, son of Mendelssohn’s sister Fanny, while No 6 was a gift for Henriette Voigt, a Leipzig pianist and salonnière, of whom Robert Schumann wrote that she never played a composition badly, nor ever uttered anything schlecht. The second of the 'Venetian Gondellieder', No 6 is an impressionistic miniature that features a haunting soprano cantilena subsequently doubled at the third, in effect transforming this solo Lied into a duet.

from notes by R Larry Todd © 2014


Other albums featuring this work
'Mendelssohn: Songs without words' (CDD22020)
Mendelssohn: Songs without words
MP3 £7.99FLAC £7.99ALAC £7.99Buy by post £10.50 CDD22020  2CDs Dyad (2 for the price of 1)  
'Hyperion monthly sampler – July 2014' (HYP201407)
Hyperion monthly sampler – July 2014
MP3 £0.00FLAC £0.00ALAC £0.00 FREE DOWNLOAD HYP201407  Download-only monthly sampler  

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