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Sieben Charakterstücke, Op 7
1824/6; published in 1827

'Mendelssohn: The Complete Solo Piano Music, Vol. 1' (CDA67935)
Mendelssohn: The Complete Solo Piano Music, Vol. 1
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'Harold Bauer – The complete recordings' (APR7302)
Harold Bauer – The complete recordings
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No 1 in E minor: Sanft und mit Empfindung
No 2 in B minor: Mit heftiger Bewegung
No 3 in D major: Kräftig und feurig
No 4 in A major: Schnell und beweglich
No 5 in A major: Fuga, Ernst und mit steigender Lebhaftigkeit
No 6 in E minor: Sehnsüchtig
No 7 in E major: Leicht und luftig

Sieben Charakterstücke, Op 7
Composed separately between 1824 and 1826, the Sieben Charakterstücke Op 7 coalesced into a suite-like collection before Mendelssohn issued them in 1827 as character pieces, providing German descriptive titles to designate the mood of each piece. That Mendelssohn conceived of the opus as a unified cycle is clear firstly from the sequence of keys (all sharp keys, centering on E minor and major), and secondly from the division into two types of pieces, pitting older against newer styles. The first type includes a Bachian invention and sarabande (Nos 1 and 6) and a fugue in a decidedly baroque style (No 3). The second type offers three ‘modern’ sonata-form movements (Nos 2, 4 and 7). Bridging the two is an erudite fugue (No 5), replete with augmentation, diminution and mirror inversion, as if, as one reviewer noted, ‘the composer wished to demonstrate openly how diligently he had studied and mastered his subject through counterpoint’. But for all the learned techniques, Mendelssohn’s inspiration may well have been not Bach but Beethoven, who had produced a recondite acceleration fugue of his own in the finale of the Piano Sonata Op 110. Be that as it may, Mendelssohn unquestionably found his own voice in No 7, a fleet-footed scherzo that impressed Robert Schumann as a kindred spirit to the elves’ music in the Overture to A Midsummer Night’s Dream. The magical, evanescent ending of No 7 led Hermann Franck to comment: ‘All flies past hastily, without rest, gathering together in colorful throngs, and then scattering in a puff.’

from notes by R Larry Todd © 2013

Track-specific metadata
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Details for CDA67935 track 6
No 1 in E minor: Sanft und mit Empfindung
Recording date
27 March 2012
Recording venue
St Michael's Church, Highgate, London, United Kingdom
Recording producer
Annabel Connellan
Recording engineer
Ben Connellan
Hyperion usage
  1. Mendelssohn: The Complete Solo Piano Music, Vol. 1 (CDA67935)
    Disc 1 Track 6
    Release date: March 2013
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