Carlo Levi Minzi / Thomas Wicky

Mendelssohn: The Three Violin Sonatas

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The three violin sonatas of Felix Mendelssohn offer listeners a glimpse of the quickly developing skills of the young composer. The first two sonatas, in F major and F minor, respectively, are youthful works composed in the early 1820s and are a prime example of the ebullience and cleverness of which Mendelssohn was capable. Not until 15 years later did Mendelssohn set out to write another violin sonata, again in F major. This final sonata was neither completed nor performed in the composer's lifetime. The commonly heard Menuhin edition of this sonata is replaced on this disc by a 2009 Bärenreiter Urtext edition that more accurately demonstrates the composer's wishes. Violinist Thomas Wicky-Stamm and pianist Carlo Levi Minzi join forces for a solid, reliable reading of the three sonatas. Minzi performs on a 1950 Parisian piano tuned to A=430, giving the piano a very mellow, subdued tone that would be much easier to enjoy were it not for Gallo's excessive use of reverb. Wicky-Stamm's tone is much clearer and brighter, though he sometimes favors long, sustained articulation over a more brisk, light approach. Still, the duo does a nice job capturing the youthful ease and charm of the sonatas. Listeners may find the recording of the late F major Sonata reason enough to check out this album.

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