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Ludwig Van
Toronto Montreal

LEBRECHT LISTENS | Johannes Moser And Alisdair Beatson Capture Mendelssohn Siblings’ Nuances To Perfection

By Norman Lebrecht on October 4, 2019

Johannes Moser and Alisdair Beatson
Johannes Moser and Alisdair Beatson offer a rare opportunity to hear both Mendelssohn siblings in one superb recording.

Felix and Fanny Mendelssohn: Works for Cello and Piano (Pentatone)

★★★★☆

🎧 Apple Music | Amazon | Spotify

The near-symbiotic relationship between Mendelssohn and his older sister, examined in my forthcoming book Genius and Anxiety, was so central to both musicians’ lives that Felix was felled by a stroke on hearing of Fanny’s death and died before the year was out.

Fanny, the first to evince musical talent, was silenced by their father as she neared puberty in order not to deflect attention from her genius kid brother. In her 30s she found a publisher and began — to Felix’s chagrin — to produce chamber music. His anger abated on finding that the music was of high quality. At their last meeting, the pair sat at the piano and gleefully played each other’s latest works.

It is almost impossible on record to hear them together, which is why the present release is such a gift. Between Felix’s two sonatas for cello and piano, we hear a delicate Fantasia in G minor by Fanny, followed by a delicious, meditative Capriccio in A-flat. Beside Fanny’s secure inner voice, Felix sounds hard-sell and bombastic. Where he is writing for instant applause, she has a more distant audience in mind.

The performers, Johannes Moser and Alisdair Beatson, capture this contrast to perfection. It’s my favourite Mendelssohn listening of the year.

To read more from Norman Lebrecht, follow him on Slippedisc.com.

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Norman Lebrecht

Norman Lebrecht is one of the most widely-read commentators on music, culture and cultural politics. He is a regular presenter on BBC Radio 3 and a contributor to the Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, Standpoint, Sinfini and other publications. His blog, Slipped Disc, is among the most widely read cultural sites online, breaking exclusive stories and campaigning against human abuse and acts of injustice in the cultural industries.

Norman Lebrecht

Norman Lebrecht is one of the most widely-read commentators on music, culture and cultural politics. He is a regular presenter on BBC Radio 3 and a contributor to the Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, Standpoint, Sinfini and other publications. His blog, Slipped Disc, is among the most widely read cultural sites online, breaking exclusive stories and campaigning against human abuse and acts of injustice in the cultural industries.
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Ludwig Van Toronto

THE SCOOP | Deutsche Welle Launches New Classical Music YouTube Channel

By Anya Wassenberg on December 5, 2019

Christmas came a little early for classical music lovers this year when Deutsche Welle (DW) launched a dedicated YouTube channel on December 4, 2019.
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LEBRECHT LISTENS | Soviet Era Composer Has The Enthusiasm, But Misses The Content

By Norman Lebrecht on November 22, 2019

Every composer suppressed by Stalin deserves to be remembered. Just how much musical attention they warrant is another matter; Alexander Veprik is a case in point.
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ON THE RADAR | Two Biographies Bring The Lives Of Unsung Canadian Musical Heroes To Life

By Robin Roger on November 19, 2019

'The Organist: Fugues, Fatherhood and a Fragile Mind' (Mark Abley) and 'Jan in 35 Pieces' (Ian Hampton) illuminate the lives and struggles of working Canadian musicians.
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