Felix Mendelssohn (1809-47) was one of the most gifted of all composers. A child prodigy born to a wealthy banking family in Berlin, he matured musically at an incredible rate – and was composing music in his ‘mature’ style by the age of 15 – something not even Mozart achieved. Like Beethoven, Chopin and Liszt, he was a formidable pianist, and his style as a pianist was influenced by composers such as Hummel, Thalberg, Moscheles and Weber.
Mendelssohn his two mature piano concertos ( a third has just been discovered) are brilliant compositions for the instrument and novel in structure, with the 3 movements linked. His music for solo piano contains some remarkable music, especially the Op.54 Variations, his greatest work for solo piano – it is brilliantly conceived and executed, highly virtuosic, harmonically and thematically daring piece. The other works on this release illustrate both the virtuosic and the more reflective facets of Mendelssohn’s writing for piano. The capriccios reflect the popular taste at the time for works with a slow romantic introduction followed by a dashing finale. Op.72 Kinderstücke are very different from Schumann’s Kinderszenen. These are idyllic, gentle pieces, and have a fairy-tale quality to them.