Felix Mendelssohn

Piano Concerto No. 2 in D minor, Op. 40

    Description by Zoran Minderovic

    Felix Mendelssohn's Piano Concerto No. 2 in D minor, Op. 40 (1837), was premiered by the composer, to much acclaim, at the 1837 Birmingham Festival. In comparison with the Piano Concerto No. 1 in G minor, Op. 25 (1830-1831), the Second Concerto is somewhat subdued, lacking the irrepressible verve and impatience of the earlier work. Nevertheless, this works exhibits all the admirable characteristics of Mendelssohn's writing for piano and orchestra: dramatic themes, engaging virtuosity, and moments of reflective, even mysterious, calm. While the solo part unmistakably assumes a central role, Mendelssohn never relegates the orchestra to mere accompanimental figuration: instead, it figures prominently in presenting the main themes and complementing the piano with sensitive coloration. The concerto opens with the orchestra presenting a simple, triadic theme; in Mendelssohn's hands, however, this deceptive simplicity translates into a mood of seriousness, immediately engaging the listener. This atmosphere is dispelled by the brightness of the charming second theme, which introduces an atmosphere of lightness and transparence. The second theme, almost narrative in quality, reappears in a number of guises, exemplifying Mendelssohn's extraordinary ability to imaginatively reiterate a particular musical idea. The second movement opens with a piano solo that develops into an emotional labyrinth. Mendelssohn creates a hypnotic atmosphere of tranquil meditation, mystery, and melancholy. As the movement progresses, this mood transforms into a subtle dialogue between piano and orchestra. The third movement displays the scherzando qualities so typical of Mendelssohn's concertante works. Breathless, energetic, and somewhat fragmented, the finale exploits the brilliance and virtuosic possibilities of the piano to the fullest, deftly interspersing this effervescent flow with moments of soul-searching tranquility.

    Parts/Movements

    1. Allegro appassionato
    2. Adagio, molto sostenuto
    3. Finale. Presto scherzando

    Appears On

    Year Title / Performer Label / Catalog # AllMusic Rating
    2019
    Deutsche Grammophon
    4836471
    2019
    Harmonia Mundi
    HMM 902369
    2019
    BIS
    BIS 2264
    2017
    Sony Classical
    88985416702
    2016
    Alto
    MCS 1319
    2016
    ABC Classics
    4814559
    2016
    Ars Produktion
    ARS 38210
    2016
    Brilliant Classics
    95300BR
    2016
    Sony Classical
    88875183392
    2015
    Centaur Records
    CRC 3354
    2014
    Decca
    4810778
    2014
    Decca / Universal Music Classics and Jazz
    2014
    Decca
    2014
    Danacord
    DACOCD 734736
    2014
    Fondamenta
    FON 1401012
    2014
    Centaur Records
    CRC 3334
    2013
    MDG Gold / Zebralution
    ZBL D6758423
    2012
    Sony Classical
    88691912562
    2011
    Denon Records
    2011
    Brilliant Classics
    94095
    2010
    Warner Classics
    2010
    Decca
    2010
    PentaTone Classics
    5186366
    2009
    Warner Classics / Wcj
    4692729
    2009
    Brilliant Classics
    93279
    2009
    ATMA Classique
    2617
    2009
    Doremi Records
    6606
    2009
    Denon Records
    2009
    Denon Records
    2009
    Sony Music Entertainment
    88697420722
    2009
    Brilliant Classics
    93888
    2009
    Arte Nova Classics
    88697386222
    2008
    Various Artists
    Brilliant
    93164
    2008
    BIS
    1766
    2008
    Brilliant Classics
    93672
    2008
    Decca
    4780102
    2007
    Arte Nova Classics
    496850
    2007
    Berlin Classics
    0149002BC
    2007
    Verdi Music
    72435555262
    2007
    MDG
    3431421
    2007
    MDG
    9431421
    2007
    Apex
    2006
    Berlin Classics
    0017752
    2006
    Querstand
    507
    2006
    Sony Classical Essential Classics
    88697008182
    2006
    Warner Music
    62769
    2006
    Brilliant Classics
    99668
    2005
    RCA Red Seal
    67885
    2005
    Archipel
    0203
    2004
    Brilliant
    92393
    2003
    Nimbus Records
    5112
    2003
    Testament
    1288
    2002
    Sony Classical
    89842
    2001
    Brilliant
    99550
    2001
    Decca
    4686002
    2001
    Decca
    468600
    1999
    BIS
    966968
    1999
    Decca
    4664252
    1999
    FSM Adagio
    91107
    1997
    Arte Nova
    74321 49685-2
    1997
    Point Classics
    267182
    1997
    Hyperion
    CDA66969
    1997
    Nimbus
    NI1765
    1997
    Arabesque
    6688
    1996
    Naxos
    8 553267
    1996
    Decca
    4524102
    1995
    BIS
    718
    1995
    Berlin Classics
    0090272
    1994
    Naxos
    550681
    1993
    Chandos
    CHAN9215
    1992
    Teldec
    75860
    1991
    CBS Records / Sony Music Distribution
    SX11K-48153
    1991
    Sony Music Distribution
    46542
    1987
    Sony Classical
    42401
    RFCM Symphony Orchestra
    RCA
    7988
    Compose Records
    9150
    Klavier Records
    11029
    Brilliant Classics
    93672/8
    Pro-Arte Records
    3507
    Brilliant
    93164/3
    Brilliant Classics
    99668/13
    Brilliant
    92393/8
    IMP Classics
    953
    Marquis Records
    123
    London
    414672
    Teldec
    Apex
    89088
    Claves
    502910