Pieter-Jelle de Boer

Mendelssohn: Piano Sonata, Op. 6; Variations sérieuses

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The bicentennial of Felix Mendelssohn's birth in 2009 brought forth recordings from some more obscure corners of his oeuvre, including those of piano music beyond the familiar Songs without Words and Variations Sérieuses, Op. 54. The latter work, with its Beethovenian use of the variation form, concludes this release by the young Dutch pianist Pieter-Jelle de Boer, and the sparkling quintessentially Mendelssohnian Rondo Capriccioso, Op. 14, provides the other bookend. De Boer's readings of these works are on the subdued side, but confident and clean. The biggest interest lies in between, with a sequence of less frequently heard works. The Prelude and Fugue in E minor, Op. 35/1, provides a miniature version of the rather bombastic quality Mendelssohn heard in Bach, with the fugue leading up to a homophonic passage a bit reminiscent of Rule, Britannia. The teenaged Mendelssohn produced in the Piano Sonata in E minor, Op. 6, a work that showed a deep engagement with Beethoven's late style, and de Boer is especially good at finding the lyrical threads among the rather diffuse structures of the opening movement and slow movement. Equally interesting are two smaller variation sets that occupy a safe spot between Beethoven and Weber but have a delightful ease on the keyboard that plays to de Boer's strengths. Throw in fine sound from Britain's Yehudi Menuhin Hall, spacious and clear, and you have a strong addition to any Mendelssohn collection. Booklet notes as received here are in English only, although they were clearly not originally written in that language.

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