Madeline's new recording of the complete Mendelssohn Sonatas with pianist Luis Magalhães was released in August 2016!
"Luis and I had a fantastic experience recording this disc over three days in the glorious acoustics of Endler Hall in Stellenbosch, S. Africa! Although these sonatas are some of Mendelssohn's lesser-known works, I am convinced that this is music of the highest level and worthy of repeated hearings. Mendelssohn's charm and lyrical skills are evident from even the earliest works. And when I became aware of the sonata fragment languishing unpublished in a Berlin archive, I was keen to record it as well! This music brings me great joy to perform, and I hope you enjoy listening!"
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Felix Mendelssohn was one of the most extraordinarily stupendous child prodigies that Western music has seen. Mendelssohn's talents were, in short, otherworldly; in the history of Western society's obsession with musical precociousness, Mendelssohn holds pride of place. Consider the recordings on this disc. The Sonata in F Major was composed in 1820 -- Mendelssohn was only 11 years old! The Sonata in F minor, Op. 4, was composed in 1824, when the composer was 15. The unfinished fragment of the Sonata in D minor followed the next year. It is only the second of the F Major Sonatas recorded here that is chronologically the odd one out, having been written when Mendelssohn was 29 years old.
Of course, when dealing with cases of childwonder composers, questions of misplaced value are often raised. Does it really matter to the listener what age Mendelssohn was when he wrote his first violin sonata? Is maturity in years somehow reflected in musical style? Would our appreciation of Mendelssohn's early work be any different had they been written when the composer was 35?
Mendelssohn's music has, in many instances, been at the sharp end of the critic's stick. Even the otherwise sober-talking critic Donald Francis Tovey called Mendelssohn 'one of the strangest problems in music history'. Rich, well-educated and well-traveled, the adult Mendelssohn did not fit the Romantic artist portrait of tormented, anguished and anti-social. And, listening to the music featured on this recording, one cannot help but think that unbiased critical reflection will prove Mendelssohn's decision not to publish his early violin works mistaken.