MENDELSSOHN Piano Sonata in G

The Piano Sonata in G minor, Op 105, is among a series of sonatas Mendelssohn wrote during his youthful, student years but elected not to see through the press. In three movements, it features two monothematic sonata-form endpoints framing an expressive, romantic Adagio in the submediant tonality, E flat major. The compact motifs used to generate the outer movements suggest the influence of Haydn (and the conservative instruction of Mendelssohn’s composition teacher, Carl Friedrich Zelter), and reveal that the twelve-year-old had not yet succumbed to Beethoven’s music, which would dramatically affect the young composer’s style just a year or two later. On the other hand, the softly lit Adagio betrays few ties to the eighteenth century. It begins with an expressive leap in excess of two octaves, and much of the movement is filled with blurry, pianissimo arpeggiated textures and subdued washes of sound that explore romantic pedal effects on the piano, and, in particular, the newer technique of the so-called ‘open’ pedal, tentatively explored by Haydn in the 1790s, and then more assertively exploited by a range of nineteenth-century piano virtuosos, including Dussek, Beethoven and Clementi. from notes by R Larry Todd © 2015

 Composition Year 1821 first published in 1868


VIDEO:Rachel Ng playing Sonata in G minor from Opus 105 by Mendelssohn. From the studio of Virginia Bigelow. 2010/01


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