New from Manchester Camerata

Manchester Camerata and Giovanni Guzzo

Mendelssohn Violin Concerto EP

Giovanni Guzzo with Manchester Camerata conducted by Douglas Boyd 

Recorded live at The Bridgewater Hall in Manchester on Saturday 28 May 2011
Release on the AVIE label: 21 May 2012

As Felix Mendelssohn began to take an interest in writing music, he found a new artistic movement in full swing. Beethoven and Schubert had shone their creative torches down the tunnel of Romanticism, leaving the likes of Mendelssohn and Schumann to take those torches and stride into the unknown. But Mendelssohn's view of the Romantic Movement and its implied strength of expression was actually quite traditional: 'Classical' designs lie under much of his music, which rises from its foundations with dignity and poise rather than flamboyance and angst.

Like many of his best non-vocal works, Mendelssohn's Violin Concerto has the feeling of a true 'song without words'. It was dedicated to its first soloist, the then Leader of Mendelssohn's own Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, Ferdinand David. And it must have seemed to David like the ultimate gift: a beautiful, thoughtful and heartfelt

creation that the violinist Joseph Joachim famously described as 'the heart's jewel'. When the work was first performed in March 1845, Mendelssohn tragically had only two and a half years to live.

The concerto is designed with Classical-style symmetry in three linked movements. The assertive, clear-cut first theme of the Allegro is one of astute balance and momentum, accompanied with determined sensitivity by the orchestra almost as a mark of respect from Mendelssohn for the talents of his soloist friend. A bassoon then threads the Allegro into the touching Andante, sung like an aria and with more than a nod of appreciation in the direction of Mozart, before the sprint finish that is Mendelssohn's Allegretto is launched.

This movement's energy, generated by the soloist's gregarious theme, is unsuppressed by the introduction of a more languid secondary idea and drives the work home with vigour. An enchanting accompaniment – full of piquant flutterings that wouldn't be out of place in the composer's music for A Midsummer Night's Dream – supports both themes.

Andrew Mellor ©2010

Read a Review in Citylife

Track Listings

1. Allegro molto appassionato - 13:18  

2. Andante - 8:01  

3. Allegro non troppo - Allegro molto vivace 7:04   

Total Length: 28:23
Available by download only

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