I have included my own arrangement for violin and piano of three of Mendelssohn’s glorious Lieder on this album, not least because the element of song also permeates the other works on this disc. In the same way that the Violin Concerto and Octet represent two very different stages in Mendelssohn’s life and artistic development, “On Wings of Song” (opus 34 no. 2) and “Suleika” (opus 34 no. 4), composed between 1834 and 1837, stem from a time where Mendelssohn was entering a new phase in his life, leaving Düsseldorf to become music director of the Gewandhaus Orchestra in Leipzig, where he would achieve arguably his greatest success. It was also here that he went on to compose the Violin Concerto. “Witches Song” (opus 8) is one of Mendelssohn’s early masterpieces, which like the Scherzo of his Octet, delights in the supernatural, a source of constant inspiration for the composer.
On a personal note, “Suleika” was the favourite song of my great-great grandfather, Julius Valentin. The libretto comes from Goethe’s “West-Eastern Divan”, which he knew so intimately. The photo which I have of Julius even contains a hand written quote from these poems. It is my tribute to an extraordinary man.
Graz, Grazer Congress, Kammermusiksaal (Octet, Lieder) & Stefaniensaal (Concerto), 6/2007
Executive Producer: Marita Prohmann
Producer: John West
Recording Engineer (Tonmeister):
Assistant Engineer: Jürgen Bulgrin
Project Coordinator: Burkhard Bartschback to overview