Hyperion Records

Concerto for two pianos in A flat major
The first movement of the A flat major Two-Piano Concerto is Mendelssohn’s longest concerto movement, and despite the composer’s declared preference for the E major Concerto, it displays a greater awareness of internal balance and structural proportions than its younger companion. The Mozartian opening theme (shades of the A major Concerto K414!) is embellished by some decidedly un-Mozartian virtuoso cascades during the soloists’ exposition, although a second lyrical idea is decidedly more restrained in its pyrotechnical aspirations.

The wistful Andante is clearly premonitory of the main theme of the G minor Piano Concerto’s slow movement, even if the continually flowing 6/8 metre and self-conscious virtuoso flourishes betray a certain lack of formal confidence in comparison with the later work.

Weber clearly marks the starting point for the good-natured Allegro vivace finale, its jocular high spirits being effectively contained by passing moments of mild contrapuntal ingenuity. The exuberant coda forces the main theme into overdrive, betraying a refreshingly boyish naivety, in stark contrast to the startling individuality and resourcefulness of the work as a whole. At only fifteen yeary of age, Mendelssohn was no mere fledgling composer but a highly creative intelligence on the verge of artistic maturity.

from notes by Julian Haylock © 1992

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Details for CDA66567 track 3
Allegro vivace
Recording date
1 September 1991
Recording venue
City Halls, Candleriggs, Glasgow, Scotland
Recording producer
Andrew Keener
Recording engineer
Philip Hobbs
Hyperion usage
  1. Mendelssohn: Double Concertos (CDA66567)
    Disc 1 Track 3
    Release date: May 1992
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