Monthly Archives: February 2019

Felix Mendelssohn – Felicitous Musikant

FELIX MENDELSSOHN-BARTHOLDY[February 3, 1809 - November 4, 1847]

NO WORDS OF MINE can fully express my gratitude to the felicitous German composer, Felix Mendelssohn (pictured above) for all the pleasure his many piano compositions have given me during my musical career that allowed me to perform them in India, Europe, Australia and the Americas.  Today, February the 3rd, is Felix’s birth anniversary and I’m happy to say that two of his brilliantly conceived piano pieces have been my favorites – Variations sérieuses and Rondo capriccioso – and which I have programmed regularly.

It so happens that the former was performed by Jeremy Denk at Carnegie Hall just yesterday to an appreciative audience, including me (I was happy to be squired by a couple, who are longtime friends from Englewood, NJ.) But for the soloist’s facial tics during his playing that – for me at least – caused me to squirm somewhat in my parquet seat and at one point shut my eyes at his non-verbal “here’s lookin’ at me, kiddo!” in order to enjoy his otherwise virtuoso performance. By turns lyrical, dramatic, tragic, and whimsical, Denk deftly captured the rapidly changing moods of the 18 variations.

Afterword:
I’ve always been a fan of the late Russian pianist Sviatoslav Richter, and have therefore selected his 1965 performance of the Variations, which you are welcome to access here: Variations.

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