Colin Clarke
International Piano
May 2015

While there is much to admire in this release, there is also the prevailing hectoring feeling that Shelley does not quite capture the true essence of Mendelssohn. The Italian pianist Roberto Proessedo, whose Mendelssohn recordings are on Italian decca, conveys a passion and understanding in the music of this composer that Shelley, charming though, his playing is, narrowly misses. This is the fifth of six volumes. The largest work is actually the Three Caprices of 1836, which lasts over 20 minutes and includes some wonderfully inventive writing. Shelley captures the tissue-thin delicacy of the central Allegro grazioso well; his performance of the G minor Sonata is a fine one, but, written in 1821 when Mendelssohn was only recently a teenager, the piece is not the composer's greatest. There remains plenty to enjoy, particularly the Midsummer Night's Dream-like fantasy and lightness of the Scherzo and the Scherzo à cappricio.