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Mendelssohn: Songs without Words, Vol. 2 / Peter Donohoe

Mendelssohn: Songs without Words, Vol. 2 / Peter Donohoe

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Lieder ohne Worte – Songs without Words – seems to be a description invented by Mendelssohn himself for these short, lyrical and descriptive piano pieces which he composed so prolifically. Indeed, it is arguable that these works define his pianistic output in the same way that the Mazurka defines Chopin’s. Publishing them in sets of six, Mendelssohn composed Lieder ohne Worte throughout his career – they proved a type of composition to which he had a lifetime attraction. For the first volume, rather than approaching them chronologically or as complete sets, Peter Donohoe selected pieces to build a satisfying programme. Here he does the same with all the pieces that remain.

In addition, the album features three free-standing significant works. The 17 Variations serieuses, from 1841, is one of Mendelssohn’s largest solo piano works, and was published in an album to raise funds for a monument to Beethoven. The Phantasie on ‘The Last Rose of Summer’ is a much earlier work, based on the Irish folk melody that – with added words by the Irish poet Thomas Moore – took Europe by storm in the early 1800s. The album concludes with Rachmaninoff’s piano transcription of the Scherzo from A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

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    • Number of Discs: 1
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    • Label: Chandos
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