Mendelssohn’s clarity of ideas allows you to immerse yourself in the instrumental strength of whoever performs them, and these two are not about to pass on their opportunity. They have great fun storming through some of the passages in the Variations Concertantes, for instance, and spiritedly negotiate the not altogether convincing whimsicalities in the second Sonata, which a more mature Mendelssohn may have been more inclined to put to one side. Had he done so, he would also have put aside some of what we might see as an attractive characteristic – the ability to find a way to deal with whatever makes life less tolerable.
His was a world seen through the eyes of a very gifted young man. These rather less familiar works show us what the view was like back then, without revealing anything fundamentally unexpected in Mendelssohn’s developing musical vocabulary. The booklet notes might have benefited from a bit more information, but that is hardly a major objection. Not when you discover that the Sonata No 2 was partly written for Felix’s brother Paul. The original audience for these whimsicalities? In any case, hands up if you didn’t even know he had a brother?
Overall, then, here is a good value CD with enjoyable music and strong performances.