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