Mendelssohn Violin and Piano Sonatas


Madeline Adkins (violin)
Luis Magalhães (piano)
Sonata in F Major (1838)
Sonata in F minor, Op. 4
Sonata in D minor (1825, unfinished)
Sonata in F Major (1820)

Felix Mendelssohn was one of the most extraordinarily stupendous child prodigies Western music has seen. Mendelssohn’s talents were, in short, otherworldly; in the history of Western society’s obsession with musical precociousness, Mendelssohn holds pride of place. Consider the recordings featured on this disk. The Sonata in F major was composed in 1820 — Mendelssohn was only 11 years old. The Sonata in F minor, op. 4, was composed in 1824, when the composer was 15. The unfinished fragment of the Sonata in D minor followed the next year. It is only the second of the F major sonatas recorded here that is chronologically the odd one out, having been written when Mendelssohn was 29 years old. Of course, when dealing with cases of childwonder composers, questions of misplaced value are often raised. Does it really matter to the listener what age Mendelssohn was when he wrote his rst violin sonata? Is maturity in years somehow reacted in terms of musical style? Would our appreciation of Mendelssohn’s early works be any different had they been written when the composer was 35? Mendelssohn’s music has been, in many instances, at the sharp end of the critic’s stick. Even the otherwise sober-talking critic Donald Francis Tovey called Mendelssohn ‘one of the strangest problems in music history’. Rich, well-educated and well-travelled, the adult Mendelssohn did not t the Romantic artist portrait of tormented, anguished and anti-social. And, listening to the music featured on this recording, one cannot help but think that unbiased critical reaction will prove Mendelssohn’s decision not to publish his early violin works mistaken. Hailed as ‘deliciously exuberant’ by the Baltimore Sun, violinist Madeline Adkins has established herself as equally at home in the spheres of solo performance, chamber music, and orchestral playing. Madeline has a striking affinity with Mendelssohn and the release of this disc also celebrates her new post as Concertmaster of the Utah Symphony. TwoPianists co-founder, Luis Magalhães, proves an able and equal partner in navigating the intricacies of the precociousness Mendelssohn.



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