Ronald Brautigam / Love Derwinger / Isabelle van Keulen / Roland Pöntinen / Lev Markiz

Mendelssohn: Complete Concertos

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AllMusic Review by

Caveat emptor...while the vast majority of SACDs released nowadays are two-layer hybrid versions that are playable on all CD players, this little oddity on the BIS label is SACD only. The reason for this is simple enough; with a single-layer SACD, BIS is able to put the complete concertos of Mendelssohn (more than four hours of recorded music) on a single disc. By not offering this album on a regular CD, it seems to be cutting off a large subset of consumers. For those listeners who do have the proper playback technology, this album is a goldmine. It offers casual listeners several works they may not even know existed, including the two concertos for violin and string orchestra, and the two concertos for two pianos and orchestra, all works that are seldom, if ever, heard in modern concert halls. The CD opens with the E minor Violin Concerto, probably the most frequently performed and easily recognizable of all of Mendelssohn's concertos. The concerto recorded here, however, is in fact the original 1844 version, which is notably different from the version with which most listeners are familiar and entirely intriguing from a historical perspective. What's slightly regrettable is that BIS did not include a recording of the revised version, just for the sake of comparison. Performances by all of the soloists, in particular violinist Isabelle van Keulen and pianist Ronald Brautigam, are technically polished and musically fulfilling. The Amsterdam Sinfonietta under Lev Markiz provides a warm and inviting background throughout the concertos. If you can play it, this is a great disc to have on your shelf.

Track Listing

Title/Composer Performer Time
Violin Concerto in E minor, Op. 64
1
11:50
2
7:09
3
6:42
Violin Concerto in D minor
4
8:40
5
7:47
6
3:53
Concerto for piano, violin, and string orchestra in D minor
7
17:05
8
8:00
9
8:27
10
10:26
11
9:55
12
11:49
Piano Concerto in A minor
13
13:42
14
8:30
15
9:18
Piano Concerto No. 1 in G minor, Op. 25
16
6:58
17
5:54
18
5:49
Piano Concerto No. 2 in D minor, Op. 40
19
8:53
20
5:39
21
5:58
Concerto for 2 pianos & orchestra in E major
22
12:25
23
10:21
24
7:48
Concerto for 2 pianos & orchestra in A flat major
25
17:05
26
10:31
27
13:27
blue highlight denotes track pick