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Track(s) taken from CDA68059

Fantasia on 'The last rose of summer' in E major, Op 15

by 1830

Howard Shelley (piano)
Studio Master FLAC & ALAC downloads available
Studio Master:
Studio Master:
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: 7 minutes 41 seconds

Cover artwork: The Temple of Juno in Agrigento by Caspar David Friedrich (1774-1840)
De Agostini Picture Library / Bridgeman Art Library, London


'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)

'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
We know relatively little about Mendelssohn’s Fantasia in E major on ‘The last rose of summer’, Op 15, based on the popular Irish song. It was probably composed earlier than 1830, when it appeared in London as 'Fantasia (on a favourite Irish melody)'. The poem was written by Thomas Moore in 1805, and set to music by the Irish composer John Stevenson, who collaborated with Moore on the publication of his Irish Melodies. The melody was the basis of some variations for flute and piano by Beethoven, and also featured in Flotow’s opera Martha (1847). Mendelssohn’s composition begins with a sustained, harp-like, arpeggiated chord, as a brief prelude before we hear a simple setting of the melody. The main portion of the Fantasia is then given to a Presto agitato in E minor. Its frenetic, agitated motion is interrupted midway by a free series of recitative-like passages, and later by a shortened recall of the melody. In the final portion of the Fantasia Mendelssohn adds a coda that quietly ruminates on the theme, as if freely reminiscing on it in retrospect.

from notes by R Larry Todd © 2014

De la Fantaisie en mi majeur sur «The last rose of summer», op.15, on sait seulement, ou presque, qu’elle repose sur la populaire chanson irlandaise et qu’elle est probablement antérieure à 1830, année de sa parution à Londres sous le titre «Fantasia (on a favourite Irish melody)». En 1805, Thomas Moore écrivit le poème de cette chanson mise en musique par John Stevenson, le compositeur irlandais avec lequel il collabora pour la publication de ses Irish Melodies. Cette mélodie servit de base à des variations pour flûte et piano de Beethoven; elle apparut aussi dans Martha (1847), l’opéra de Flotow. Dans la Fantaisie de Mendelssohn, un accord arpégé tenu, harpé, fait office de court prélude avant une version simple de la mélodie. Le gros de l’œuvre est ensuite confié à un Presto agitato en mi mineur, dont l’élan frénétique, agité, est interrompu à mi-chemin par une libre série de passages façon récitatif et, plus loin, par une redite abrégée de la mélodie. Dans la dernière partie de sa Fantaisie, Mendelssohn ajoute une coda qui réfléchit tranquillement au thème, comme si elle se le remémorait rétrospectivement, en toute liberté.

extrait des notes rédigées par R Larry Todd © 2014
Français: Hypérion

Über Mendelssohns Fantasia in E-Dur über „The last rose of summer“, op. 15, der das populäre irische Lied zugrunde liegt, ist relativ wenig bekannt. Sie entstand wahrscheinlich vor 1830, als sie in London als „Fantasia (on a favourite Irish melody)“ erschien. Das Gedicht wurde 1805 von Thomas Moore verfasst und von dem irischen Komponisten John Stevenson vertont, der zusammen mit Moore seine Irish Melodies herausgab. Die Melodie sollte Beethoven als Inspirationsquelle für Variationen für Flöte und Klavier dienen und auch in Friedrich von Flotows Oper Martha (1847) erscheinen. Mendelssohns Komposition beginnt mit einem ausgehaltenen, harfenähnlichen Arpeggio-Akkord, der als kurzes Vorspiel dient, bevor eine schlichte Vertonung der Melodie erklingt. Der Hauptteil der Fantasia wird dann einem Presto agitato in e-Moll übergeben. Die frenetische, aufgeregte Bewegung wird mittendrin von einer freien Serie rezitativartiger Passagen und später von einer verkürzten Wiederholung der Melodie unterbrochen. Im Schlussteil der Fantasia fügt Mendelssohn eine Coda an, die ruhig über das Thema—wie aus der Erinnerung—nachgrübelt.

aus dem Begleittext von R Larry Todd © 2014
Deutsch: Viola Scheffel

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