This is a beautifully played disc of the First Book of Felix Mendelssohn's "Songs without words"; Tilman Krämer is a German pianist with a deservedly high reputation in Mendelssohn and Brahms. This Venus Music disc was recorded in 2001 in the Stadthalle Leonberg - the piano sound is most realistic.
Back in 1924 Herbert Westerby, in his book "The History of Pianoforte Music"
The History of Pianoforte Music, etc
wrote:- "...Mendelssohn's best works, apart from those in playful Scherzo style and the brilliant ones with orchestra, are the smaller Pieces known as the Songs without Words. These delightful and highly-finished Pieces more than any others have made his name a household word. Oscar Bie, in his "History of the Pianoforte and Pianoforte Players"
A History of the Pianoforte and Pianoforte Players. Translated and revised from the German ... by E. E. Kellett ... and E. W. Naylor ... With numerous portraits, illustrations, and facsimiles
, in a somewhat severe criticism, describes Mendelssohn as a "composer for young girls, the elegant Romanticist of the drawing-room" and as exhibiting a "gilt-edged lyricism." Westerby continued:-
"Speaking of the Songs without Words he says, "The Funeral March, compared with that of Beethoven, is as it were written for a set of marionettes." "The Spring Song," he says, "is, so to speak, set on wires." This seems unduly exaggerated, while something also must be allowed for interpretation or manner of performance. There should be room, in pianoforte music, for all aspects of nature. We have the tragedy of Beethoven and the romantic gloom of Schumann, and we trust there will always be a place for the sunshine and light-hearted fascination of Mendelssohn."
I can only echo Westerby's sentiments from nearly 90 years ago regarding these pieces that, until fairly recently, have been rather looked down upon by some critics. As Westerby said, "On the whole, Mendelssohn's music is never deep, it can boast of warm sympathetic melody and of a sunny nature; and, in spite of its limitations in technique and harmony, it is always truly pianistic and suited to the instrument."
Tilman Krämer followed up this excellent recording a few years later with Book Two
, and I think, on balance, I prefer Krämer's recordings to those of Daniel Barenboim
F. Mendelssohn-Bartholdy: Songs without Words Opus 19
, Ilse von Alpenheim
Songs Without Words (Von Alpenheim)
, and Livia Rev
Mendelssohn: Songs without Words
, fine as those are.
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- Produktabmessungen : 14.4 x 1.2 x 12.5 cm; 104 Gramm
- Hersteller : Afö (Liebermann)
- Label : Afö (Liebermann)
- ASIN : B00008K4GR
- Anzahl Disks : 1
- Amazon Bestseller-Rang: Nr. 596,900 in Musik-CDs & Vinyl (Siehe Top 100 in Musik-CDs & Vinyl)
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