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Mendelssihn: Piano Works 1: 6 Preludes & Fugues, Op. 35 / 3 Caprices, Op. 33 / Perpetuum mobile in C, Op. 119

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Audio CD, May 23, 1995
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  • Mendelssihn: Piano Works 1: 6 Preludes & Fugues, Op. 35 / 3 Caprices, Op. 33 / Perpetuum mobile in C, Op. 119
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  • Mendelssohn: Piano Works 5: Fantasia (Sonata écossaise) in F sharp minor, Op. 28 / 7 Characteristic Pieces, Op. 7  / Prelude & Fugue in E minor / Sonata movement in B flat minor / Capriccio, Op. 5
  • +
  • Mendelssohn: Piano Sonata, Op. 6 / Variations Serieuse. Piano Works, Vol. 2
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Product Details

  • Performer: Benjamin Frith
  • Composer: Felix Mendelssohn
  • Audio CD (May 23, 1995)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Naxos
  • ASIN: B00000140U
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #17,753 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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With so many recordings of the Violin Concerto, the Midsummer Night's Dream, and Italian symphony, how often do we get a chance to explore Mendelssohn's piano compositions? It is rare that we find a pianist championing even the war-horses like the Variations serieuses or the Rondo capriccioso. For five volumes, however, Naxos has decided to enlist Benjamin Frith's pianism for recording Mendelssohn's piano works. I can tell from this first volume that Mendelssohn's piano compositions are unfairly neglected. And this disc is not even the best representation of Mendelssohn's keyboard powers. Nevertheless, there is nothing abhorrent, distasteful, or even banal to be found here.

The Six Preludes and Fugues Op. 35 are perhaps one of the best bridges between Beethoven's and Franck's fugues. In the days when miniatures and etudes were replacing the old fugue, Mendelssohn proves that it's still propitious to pour musical ideas into this ancient mold. I can confidently declare that all six of these are worth concentrated listenings. If I were to pick the three best, I would say No. 1, 3 and 6 are the most fantastic and inspired. No. 1 is indeed the most popular, and if it wasn't for Murray Perahia's mindblowing performance of this, I could praise Benjamin Frith's interpretation; unfortunately, his playing of the fugue is incomparable to Perahia's duality of expressive power and clarity of voicing. To be fair, Frith does a tremendous job with No. 6; the most gorgeous prelude of them all resides here. A couple of hearings makes it clear, in my mind, that there is an originality in all of these fugues. Each fugue theme is of a different characteristic: some are daring in length and others are simple and short; some are rapidly fast and others lugubriously slow. Ultimately, the Op.
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