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Violin Sonata in F major (1838)
Concerto in D minor for Violin, Piano and String Orchestra

Rudens Turku (violin) & Oliver Schnyder (piano)
Cappella Istropolitana/Ariel Zuckermann


This coupling of two Mendelssohn rarities 'grabbed me' to the extent that I have enjoyed sampling three of Rudens Turku's other recordings for Avie, made with different partners.

The early Mendelssohn sonata languished in obscurity until it was championed and published by Menuhin in the '50s. Also dating from his 20s is the double concerto for violin and piano; there are not many of those (?) - though Search has discovered examples by Mozart and Hummel, as well as the slow movement of this one performed on a curious "response" video on YouTube.

These artists are perfectly attuned with ideal recorded balance and very subtle rapport in their discreet rubatos, just right. Schnyder makes light work of Mendelssohn's multitudinous notes, a tendency of is which can alienate some listeners to some of his chamber works, but not those here. The coupling proves to be an ideal contribution to the valuable Mendelssohn bicentenary celebrations, which have brought into perspective many of the composer's works which had disappeared from the repertoire and were unknown save to specialists.

Of Turku's other discs I am happy to commend particularly one of violin/cello duos, the famous Kodaly example coupled with a slightly earlier one of four (out of eight) pieces in the genre from Gliere. Others from earlier times are by Friedrich Dotzauer, Paganini and a combined effort by Belgians Servais & Ghys, who wrote their Variations on God Save the King (William IV) - also available on Naxos - during a time in London during the mid-1839s.

All these are worth exploring for recital use and are given with style here, and with excellent comprehensive notes by Martin Anderson and Peter Avis (which you wouldn't get by downloading !)...

We are eager to attend Turku & Schnyder's London recital at Wigmore Hall next month, when they will play the Mendelssohn sonata, and too works by Dvorak and Grieg from their earlier Avie CD together.

Peter Grahame Woolf

See also Michael Cookson's review of Turku's disc of Brahms, Schumann & Franck [Editor]