Rudens Turku / Oliver Schnyder / Capella Istropolitana

Mendelssohn: Concerto for Violin and Piano; Violin Sonata

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Mendelssohn: Concerto for Violin and Piano; Violin Sonata Review

by Mike D. Brownell

Often and understandably overshadowed by the immense success and popularity of the Violin Concerto in E minor, Mendelssohn's other works for violin are nonetheless quality additions to the repertoire that should not be as infrequently performed. In particular, the notoriety of the Sonata in F major (1838) and the Concerto for Violin, Piano, and Strings in D minor was not helped by the fact that both works lay dormant for well over a century before finally being "rediscovered." This Avie album celebrates these two underappreciated compositions with violinist Rudens Turku, pianist Oliver Schnyder, and the Cappella Istropolitana. Taking center stage on both works, Turku's playing is ideally suited for Mendelssohn; he plays with a wonderfully clear, penetrating, uncomplicated sound quality; a nimble, precise technique; and a sense of youthful vitality and drive. His collaboration with Schnyder is a musically organic one, with one artist playing nicely off the other without balance issues or disagreements on tempo or articulation. The Cappella Istropolitana likewise plays with light, focused precision while staying out of the way of the two soloists. Their combined sound is elegant and fluid. Listeners seeking to expand their repertoire of Mendelssohn compositions or violin works in general are not likely to be disappointed by this fine contribution.

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