BBC Music Magazine

Felix Mendelssoh­n


Violin Concerto in E minor; Octet

Chouchane Siranossia­n (violin); Anima Eterna Brugge/

Jakob Lehmann

Alpha Classics ALPHA 410 59:46 mins This coupling of the Octet and Violin Concerto, in the versions dated 1825 and 1844 respective­ly in which they were first performed, before Mendelssoh­n’s mania for revision took over, is something of a revelation. True, the difference­s in the Concerto are mostly in the solo part: variations in figuration, a different version of the firstmovem­ent cadenza, and so on.

But the accomplish­ed Chouchane Siranossia­n has also gone back to the phrase-markings of the original soloist, Ferdinand David, which are often in variance with the published version. Accordingl­y, the very opening of the work already comes as a shock, not only in the impetuous speed with which Jakob Lehmann launches the Brugesbase­d period instrument orchestra Anima Eterna, but in the vibratoles­s shaping of the opening melody with many a sliding portamento.

Mendelssoh­n’s revisions of the youthful Octet were far more radical. Only the Scherzo escaped his urge to tighten up by snipping not just odd bars here and there, but whole sections. Elsewhere, as at the beginning of the first movement developmen­t, long passages were drasticall­y recomposed or replaced with different music. As heard in this fervent, closely recorded performanc­e led by Siranossia­n, the original emerges as a longer, richer, even wilder version of what is, arguably, the greatest work ever composed by a 16-year old. Bayan Northcott



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