Silke Avenhaus / Antje Weithaas

Mendelssohn: Violin Sonatas

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Unlike their cousins in the cello repertoire, the sonatas for violin and piano of Felix Mendelssohn are mysteriously absent from recital halls and albums. Of the three complete sonatas and one fragment, only the F major Sonata of 1838 stems from Mendelssohn's more seasoned period of composition. The first sonata was written when Mendelssohn was all of 11 years of age, yet it already demonstrates his mastery of composition and intimate knowledge of the violin's capabilities. From this prodigious first sonata to the more seasoned contribution 18 years later, these works are truly unsung treasures of the repertoire, and they have found their champion in violinist Antje Weithaas and pianist Silke Avenhaus. Weithaas's playing encapsulates everything positive that comes to mind when thinking of Mendelssohn: nimble, lithe, sparkling, exuberant, and exhilarating. She tosses off even the most intricate and rapid passages with apparent ease, leaving listeners with a sense of the sheer joy she has in making music. Intonation is meticulous, articulation is even and precise, and tone quality is robust and controlled. The long-standing collaboration between Weithaas and Avenhaus is obvious as the two function as a single, refined instrument. While much of Mendelssohn's music focuses on quick, dazzling passagework, Weithaas is equally at home creating an environment of serenity and intimacy in slow movements. This album also features the premiere recording of a stunningly intense sonata fragment, leaving listeners yearning for more.

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