Op 113 was originally called ‘The Battle of Prague’, for Mendelssohn used as his principal theme (bars 12-30) the melody of that name by František Koczwara (c1750–1791) which was popular in the early years of the nineteenth century. Mendelssohn could well have heard the tune while on one of his visits to Britain. However, he later deleted the name in favour of ‘Concertstück’. The piece opens with an orchestral fanfare, Allegro di molto, followed immediately by the clarinet playing an initial flourish, only for the basset horn to do much the same. At bar 54 the tempo changes to an Andante in 9/8 with the soloists in duet, accompanied by the strings in a rippling quaver rhythm. The opening tempo returns at bar 111 but now in 6/8 to make a brilliant finale—technically difficult, especially for the basset horn in its lowest register where extreme facility is required.
from notes by Hyperion Records Ltd © 1989