Howard Shelley – Mendelssohn: The Complete Solo Piano Music, Vol. 4 (2016) [Hyperion FLAC 24bit/96kHz]

Felix Mendelssohn – The Complete Solo Piano Music, Vol. 4 – Howard Shelley (2016)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/96kHz  | Time – 01:07:16 minutes | 1,03 GB | Genre: Classical
Studio Masters, Official Digital Download – Source: hyperion-records | Booklet, Front Cover | © Hyperion Records
Recorded: December 2014, All Saints’ Church, East Finchley, London, United Kingdom

The Op 35 set of Preludes and Fugues is the most substantial single opus Mendelssohn wrote for solo piano, a mark of his reverence for the mighty Bach. Coupled with the popular fifth book of Songs without Words, we have here a heavyweight fourth volume in Howard Shelley’s compendium.

As Howard Shelley reaches the fourth instalment of his solo Mendelssohn journey, familiar and unfamiliar once again rub shoulders. He brings out the Bachian elements in the Op 35 Preludes and Fugues—notably the twisting subject of the First Fugue or the agitated Third Fugue—with total naturalness, while the Prestissimo staccato of the Third Prelude is exactly that. The Fugue of the Fifth dances with due clarity, contrasting very effectively with the song-without-words Sixth Prelude.
You’d be forgiven for doing a double-take at the start of the Andante cantabile e Presto agitato, which is a first cousin to the familiar Andante and Rondo capriccioso. Shelley makes a strong case for it, finding particular poignancy in the recollection of the theme’s first three notes as a dying echo at the close, while the Presto is supple and airborne. After that, an A major Lied, a lilting and highly personal piece penned while the composer was on honeymoon.
We’re back on more familiar territory in the Fifth Book of Songs Without Words. In the first Song, Shelley finds a middle ground between the recent Kirschnereit and the faster-flowing Barenboim. To my mind the second is a tad slow in Shelley’s hands—at least compared to the high jinks of Barenboim and the airily wondrous Perahia—though the E minor number that follows is particularly absorbing. The popular ‘Gondolier Song’ of the fifth poses the question: how con moto do you want your Andante to be? Shelley and Perianes tend towards the dreamy—here Kirschnereit’s faster tempo seems more apt. And in the famous ‘Spring Song’ that closes the set, Shelley is finely detailed yet others find an even greater sense of carefree rapture. All in all, though, a fascinating recital, warmly recorded and with absorbing notes from Mendelssohn scholar R Larry Todd. -Harriet Smith, Gramophone

Felix Mendelssohn (1809-1847)
Prelude and Fugue in E minor Op 35 No 1
1 Prelude: Allegro con fuoco[2’08]
2 Fugue: Andante espressivo[5’55]

Prelude and Fugue in D major Op 35 No 2
3 Prelude: Allegretto[2’44]
4 Fugue: Tranquillo e sempre legato[3’05]

Prelude and Fugue in B minor Op 35 No 3
5 Prelude: Prestissimo staccato[1’56]
6 Fugue: Allegro con brio[3’31]

Prelude and Fugue in A flat major Op 35 No 4
7 Prelude: Con moto[3’53]
8 Fugue: Con moto ma sostenuto[5’03]

Prelude and Fugue in F minor Op 35 No 5
9 Prelude: Andante lento[3’01]
10 Fugue: Allegro con fuoco[3’48]

Prelude and Fugue in B flat major Op 35 No 6
11 Prelude: Maestoso moderato[2’50]
12 Fugue: Allegro con brio[3’36]

Andante cantabile e Presto agitato WoO6
13 Andante cantabile[2’36]
14 Presto agitato[5’55]
15 Lied in A major 1837[2’45]

Lieder ohne Worte V Op 62
16 No 1 in G major: Andante espressivo[2’43]
17 No 2 in B flat major: Allegro con fuoco[1’55]
18 No 3 in E minor: Andante maestoso[2’31]
19 No 4 in G major: Allegro con anima[1’33]
20 No 5 in A minor, ‘Venetianisches Gondellied’: Andante con moto[2’58]
21 No 6 in A major, ‘Spring Song’: Allegretto grazioso[2’50]



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