Tuesday, 11 August 2009

297. Felix Mendelssohn - Variations sérieuses (1841)


Title: Murray Perahia - Mendelssohn
Performer: Murray Perahia
Year: 1982
Length: 12 minutes


Mendelssohn gives us a quite traditional musical format, the theme and variation for piano. So it is not particularly innovative there, and it does not sound very new at all, in fact it sometimes sounds like a throwback and you really seems to see tributes to older composers such as Bach and Beethoven in the playing.

Making little nods to these composers is quite natural taking into account the fact that they were probably the two most important composers of variations up until this time.

However there is expressiveness in this small piece that is definitely a part of the romantic period, in terms of sound however it is hard not to think back on other composers when listening to this.

Final Grade



From Wikipedia:

This conservative strain in Mendelssohn, which set him apart from some of his more flamboyant contemporaries, bred a similar condescension on their part toward his music. His success, his popularity and his Jewish origins irked Richard Wagner sufficiently to damn Mendelssohn with faint praise, three years after his death, in an anti-Jewish pamphlet Das Judenthum in der Musik. This was the start of a movement to denigrate Mendelssohn's achievements which lasted almost a century, the remnants of which can still be discerned today amongst some writers. The Nazi regime was to cite Mendelssohn's Jewish origin in banning performance and publication of his works. Charles Rosen, in his book The Romantic Generation, disparages Mendelssohn's style as "religious kitsch", such opinion reflecting a continuation of the aesthetic contempt of Wagner and his musical followers.

Richter plays the Variations:

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