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Mendelssohn: Complete Concertos

Mendelssohn: Complete Concertos

BIS  BIS-SACD-1766

Stereo Single Layer

Classical - Orchestral


Mendelssohn: Complete Concertos

Ronald Brautigam, Love Derwinger & Roland Pöntinen (pianos)
Isabelle van Keulen (violin)
Amsterdam Sinfonietta
Lev Markiz (conductor)


If the String Symphonies, collected on the accompanying release BIS-SACD-1738, are the works by the young Mendelssohn on the way to becoming a fully-fledged composer, the concertos give a more all-round picture of the composer. Beginning in 1822, when he composed the Concerto in D minor for Violin and the Concerto in A minor for Piano, Mendelssohn kept returning to the concertante format throughout his life, until the great E minor Violin Concerto, written three years before his death, in 1844.

Between these works can be found the two rarely heard Concertos for Two Pianos – youthful, but surprisingly mature works – as well as his two piano concertos Opp 25 and 40, and three concert pieces for piano and orchestra. Soloist in these is Ronald Brautigam, who will be well-known for his acclaimed surveys of the solo piano music of Haydn, Mozart and Beethoven.

Isabelle van Keulen takes on the works involving solo violin, and was at the time of the original release described as ‘a winning soloist with a soft tone like the finest-spun silk – plus strength to match, when required’ (Gramophone). Swedish pianists Roland Pöntinen and Love Derwinger partner each other in the concertos for two pianos, virtuosic works first performed by Felix and his sister Fanny.

The accompaniments throughout are provided by Amsterdam Sinfonietta, under Lev Markiz, and were characterized as ‘both polished and warmly supportive’ (Gramophone).

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PCM recording

Recorded in October 1995 (Violin Concerto in D minor) and July 1998 (Violin Concerto in E minor) at the Waalse Kerk, Amsterdam, The Netherlands; July 1995 (Concerto for Violin & Piano); May 1995 (Concert Pieces; Piano Concerto in A minor); August 1994 (Piano Concertos in G minor & D minor); September 1994 (Concertos for Two Pianos) at the Concertgebouw, Haarlem, The Netherlands

Recording producer: Ingo Petry

Sound engineers: Ingo Petry (Violin Concertos; Concerto for Violin & Piano; Concert Pieces; Piano Concerto in A minor; Concertos for Two Pianos); Hans Kipfer (Piano Concertos in G minor & D minor)

Assistant sound engineer: Jens Braun (Concertos for Two Pianos)

Digital editing: Dirk Lüdemann, Jens Braun, Stephan Reh

Neumann microphones; Studer 961 mixer; Fostex D-10 (Violin Concertos) and PD-2 DAT recorders; Stax headphones

Executive producer (recordings): Robert von Bahr

Executive producer (SACD reissue compilation): Joachim Budweg
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Total time: 4:15:55
Comments (2)
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Comment by Waveform - August 3, 2017 (1 of 2)

Has anybody heard this album? Is there any improvement compared to the original Compact Discs? I have considered to buy this but was this all effort necessary just in order to receive somewhat better sounding versions on these recordings? Comments, please.

Comment by William Hecht - August 3, 2017 (2 of 2)

This set, like the super long playing Mendelssohn string symphonies and the set of Fagius' Bach organ work, and perhaps one or two others, shouldn't be seen (heard) as a major sonic improvement, if any, over the rbcds that preceded them. On these BIS used the extra storage capacity of the sacd for more material not more resolution.