Fanny & Felix Mendelssohn Chamber Music
Fanny Mendelssohn (1805-1847)Piano Trio in D minor, Op. 11:
Fanny Mendelssohn (1805-1847) (arr. for violin and piano)
Fanny Mendelssohn (1805-1847)
Felix Mendelssohn (1809-1847)Piano Trio in C minor, Op. 66 No. 2:
Felix Mendelssohn (1809-1847) (arr. for trio)
Alejandro Bustamante, violin. Lorenzo Meseguer, cello. Alberto Rosado, piano.
Musicstry Studios. TRT® sound (calibration 2.4b). Recorded: December 18, 19, 20 2020. Released: October 1 2021. Photo: Michal Novak. Liner notes: Eva Sandoval. Producer: Mario Martínez. PC21003 ℗ & © 2021 Play Classics.
“I am both an artist and a scholar, and now you know what kind of human you have to deal with”.
Paphlëis (Felix Mendelssohn, 1820-1821)
Fanny Hensel (1805-1847) and her brother Felix Mendelssohn (1809-1847) were two of the most dazzling musical talents of the first half of the XIX century. Felix achieved great recognition in life as a pianist, conductor, teacher and composer, while Fanny, due to her condition as a woman, saw the possibilities of disseminating her work limited and developed her career in the private sphere. In Felix's catalog we find around 200 compositions in all the relevant genres cultivated at the time: operas, oratorios, cantatas, incidental music, choral pages, lieder, symphonies, concerts, overtures, chamber music works and multitude of creations for keyboard. Surprisingly, Fanny, a virtuoso pianist as well as a composer, contains more than 400 works (essentially pieces for her instrument and songs, but also chamber music and symphonic-choral scores) that place her as one of the most prolific authors of the century and one of the first women to write a string quartet.
Both were very close throughout their lives. So much so that Felix died at the age of 38, on November 4, 1847, due, in part, to the severe blow caused by the loss of his sister Fanny just six months earlier. They were children of the banker Abraham Mendelssohn (1776-1835) and his wife Lea Salomon (1777-1842), both Jews; grandsons of Moses Mendelssohn (1729-1786), eminent philosopher of the Enlightenment in Germany, and great-grandsons of Daniel Itzig (1723-1799), a wealthy court financier. Along with genetic inheritance and a well-off economic situation, what other crucial aspects for the development of their intelligence and musical instinct did they have in common? The possibility of enjoying an excellent education and a childhood full of stimuli in a domestic environment where art and culture were highly valued.
Fanny and Felix, the first and second of the four children in the family that were completed by Rebecka and Paul, were born in Hamburg. In 1816 the children were baptized into the Protestant faith and in 1822 the parents also converted to Lutheranism, adding "Bartholdy" to their surname to distinguish themselves from the "other Mendelssohn." Lea was a skilled painter, and Felix received from her her taste and skill in the visual arts. It was also Lea who oversaw Fanny and Felix's early music education. The Mendelssohns took advantage of the trips they made in and out of Germany so that their offspring frequented international intellectuals and artists. For example, in 1816 and 1817 they visited Paris and the children received piano lessons from Marie Bigot or the violinist Pierre Baillot. And in 1825, the Italian composer and director of the Paris Conservatory, Luigi Cherubini, assured Abraham that his son had a very promising musical future before him.
At the age of twelve and eight, Fanny and Felix could already read complex scores on the piano. At nine, Felix made his public debut accompanying two horn players in a Joseph Wölfl trio and playing by memory the Concerto for piano and orchestra "Military", Op. 40 by Dussek, an achievement overshadowed by the performance by Fanny, at the age of thirteen, of the 24 preludes to Bach's The Well-Tempered Clavier without paper. Felix also studied violin and viola, and attended Friday rehearsals with Fanny in the Singakademie in Berlin where they listened to works by Bach and Handel. In 1820 Felix began to study organ and the two brothers joined the Singakademie choir, conducted by the illustrious Carl Friedrich Zelter, who, in turn, was the theory teacher musical and counterpoint of Fanny since 1819 and, from that moment, also of Felix. In 1821, Zelter brought about the family contact with Goethe, but the two brothers also knew Hegel and Heine or Humboldt. Since then, and throughout their life, they related to personalities of the stature of Chopin, Spohr, Moscheles, Hiller, Kalkbrenner, Weber, Clara and Robert Schumann, Berlioz or Liszt.
Baroque counterpoint and classical style no longer held secrets for the twelve-year-old Felix. His precociousness as a composer is difficult to match. Possibly, he began writing sonatas for two pianos that he interpreted with Fanny, a great advisor on the creative plane (not in vain, he called her "my Minerva"), although his first official piece is a song from 1819. At the age of sixteen he had already composed masterpieces such as the String Octet in E flat Major, Op. 20 or the famous overture to A Midsummer Night's Dream, Op. 21. For his part, Fanny explored various genres and styles, but, encouraged by her father, at that time of youth she mainly cultivated the lied. However, trying to emulate the activities of her brother, she also experimented with the piano sonata or the piano quartet.
In addition, Abraham Mendelssohn organized from the beginning of 1822 the famous Sonntagsmusiken, morning concerts that took place at the Mendelssohn's home every Sunday and that attracted the cultural elite of Berlin. In them both Felix and Fanny played, and it is documented that Felix premiered some of his own works. It is not clear if Fanny was able to present hers, but what we do know is that these meetings were the germ of the concerts that the pianist and composer would organize in her home from 1830 until the end of her days.
Felix was always very aware of his sister's capabilities. In fact, he considered her a better pianist than he, and he was not the only one. In a letter to Goethe, Zelter wrote referring to the descendants of Abraham Mendelssohn: "She has adorable children and his eldest daughter is really special." He would later claim that Fanny played the piano "like a man", a comment that at the time was considered a great compliment to her skill. On the other hand, Charles Gounod stated: “Mrs. Hensel was an unforgettable musician, an excellent pianist, an intellectually superior woman. She was small and petite, but the fire in her gaze revealed extraordinary energy. As a songwriter she was exceptionally talented."
Even though their parents had supported their children's early artistic activities without discrimination, when they professionalized their skills they did not receive the same family support. Already in July 1820 Abraham began to curb his fourteen-year-old daughter's enthusiasm and ambition: "Music may become his profession [speaking of Felix], while for you it can and should be only an ornament, not the foundation of your being and your actions". But it was not only a matter of her gender, but his social class also contributed a specific weight to that decision. The daughter of a wealthy banker had no need to earn a living using her skills to work. Perhaps if she had belonged to a lower stratum, Fanny could have more easily carved out a musical career. Thus, the father “limited” Fanny's creativity to voice and piano in genres that were not too complex and ambitious, but lighter and more casual, qualities considered more “feminine”. On the contrary, in 1821 a theater was created in a room of the Mendelssohn house for Felix to premiere his first singspiel ... That same year, Fanny met the court painter William Hensel, with whom she fell in love and with whom she married in 1829.
Fanny was the victim of a constant contradiction between the expectations of the society of her time for a woman and her creative will. Although her brother was reluctant, encouraged by her husband, she decided to start publishing some of her works in 1846, just a few months before dying prematurely at 41 years of age. A part of her previous compositions of hers had already been made public under the name Felix, and some of those lieder became very successful without it being known that Fanny was actually the author.
In the chamber music section of her extensive catalog stands out the Trio in D minor, Op. 11, written as a birthday present for his sister Rebecka. Encouraged by the good reviews that those first pieces of her published under her authorship had garnered, she decided to embark on a more substantial project. She herself premiered the work on the piano on April 11, 1847 with her friend Robert von Keudell on the violin and her brother Paul on the cello in one of the Sonntagsmusiken. It is curious that, during the previous March, Clara Schumann had visited her almost every day, a composer who, for her part, had completed her Trio in G minor the previous summer, Op. 17. On May 14, just a month after the score's private premiere, Fanny died of a stroke.
In this virtuous page of maturity, published posthumously in 1850, we find the heritage of Bach, Beethoven and Mendelssohn, his leading composers (not in vain she baptized her only son as Sebastian Ludwig Felix), but also an intense lyricism, more typical of late Romanticism, as well as a certainly original approach to the form. The “Allegro molto vivace” begins with a great intensity generated by the sixteenth notes of the piano, which have been defined as “stormy waves”. Above them, the violin and the cello interpret the first theme of the work in octaves, a truly passionate, anguished and even furious melody that has its origin in the initial, heroic motif of the "Allegro con fuoco" of the Symphony No. 5 in D Major “La reforma”, Op. 107 by Felix, a composition in which Fanny was very involved. In the unusual musical relationship that the brothers maintained, the quotations of the other's works in their own pieces were very common. Afterwards, the cello presents in a major mode the second theme, cantabile and delicate, although the tremolos of the left hand of the piano maintain the inner agitation. In the extensive development the defining elements of both materials are shown with different appearances, managing to increase the tension until the dizzying cadence of closure.
The “Andante espressivo” opens with a luminous classical melodic profile presented in chords on the piano that, later, will be taken up by the strings. It is a clear reflection of Fanny's taste for the genre of the song and the accompanying melody. Again, it will be the piano who will enunciate the second theme accompanied by some ethereal arpeggios in staccati of violin and cello. The climate is tinged with melancholy by the change to the minor mode. This second track is especially inspired and has very idiosyncratic characteristics, such as the dotted rhythms or the expressive opening sixth rising jump. In the last section of the movement we witness an ingenious intermingling of the two materials.
The "Allegretto", bypassing the traditional scherzo, continues the same line of the wordless romance (whose origin probably owes much more to Fanny than we think). In fact, it is entitled "Lied" and is seamlessly linked to the previous one. The piano starts the action again presenting a lyrical and romantic design that comes from Obadiah's aria for tenor "So ihr mich von ganzem Herzen suchet" ("You will find me if you seek me with all your heart") from the first part of the oratorio Elías, Op. 70, one of her brother Felix's masterpieces that she herself had heard in Berlin in December 1846. The declamation of this melody on the three instruments builds, without great excesses, the brief third movement of the trio.
To conclude, it will be again the piano, Fanny's instrument, who opens the “Allegretto moderato” in the somber main key. We are surprised by a virtuous and rhapsodic passage, cadential, with a peculiar texture and rhythm with fast figurations in both hands with a Chopinian aftertaste. Curiously, through a hidden melody in the highest register, it continues to be cantabile. That is going to be the main theme of this movement in rondo form, so it will come back repeatedly between episodes contrasting in character and in tempo that play with other motifs. Without a doubt, it is the most demanding section of the work for the interpreters, especially for the piano, whose thrust must be continuous and constant culminating in a brilliant final “molto vivace”.
Fanny Hensel's main corpus is based on the lied: more than half of her production is songs. She wrote 255, that's why some of them could not be missing from this album in instrumental format, specifically in version for violin and piano. In October 1847, five months after Fanny's death, Felix, perhaps overwhelmed with guilt, took several of his sister's manuscripts to his own publisher. Among them, in addition to the Trio, Op. 11, were the six lieder of youth Op. 9 and the five songs of the late period Op. 10 that appeared published in Leipzig in 1850.
The components of Op. 9, written for the most part in 1820, were probably selected by Felix himself as a tribute to the happier years he enjoyed with Fanny. The yearned for, Op. 9 nº 1 (1827), based on a text by Ludwig Hölty, evokes the anxious speech of the beloved through the perpetual motor of the accompaniment in eighth notes in measure of 12/8. Spring and the sounds of nature from Op. 9 nº 1 reappear in The night of May, Op. 9 nº 6 (1838), also on a poem by Hölty. But on this occasion, the mood becomes somewhat darker, confused and nocturnal, thanks to studied rhythmic fluctuations in the dialogue between song and piano on which Fanny leans to recreate the loneliness of the protagonist wandering in the moonlight. In Towards the South, Op. 10 No. 1 (1841), it is believed that she sets to music a text by her husband, the painter Wilhelm Hensel, about Fanny's wish to know Italy, a country that he had visited for the first time just a couple of years before composing this piece. With an ABA structure, the poem focuses on a recurring symbol in its lieder: birds as an emblem of the journey. We can hear her wings in the motoric rhythm of the piano. In addition, the freedom and charm of the south are reflected in this luminous score.
At just 24 years old, Fanny wrote two pages for cello and piano (the Capriccio in A-flat Major and the Sonata or Fantasy in G minor) intended for his brother Paul Mendelssohn, who lived in London and who is said to have become an excellent interpreter. In fact, Felix dedicated his Variaciones concertantes, Op. 17 that same 1829. Fanny's two creations show us the influence of Beethovenian sonatas for this group through the intense dialogue between both instruments . The Capriccio is a short character piece of notable technical demand that associates the improvisatory style of the fantasy genre with the essence of some more serious formal structures such as the sonata. After an introduction “Andante”, in which both interpreters present and intertwine a friendly theme, comes the stormy “Allegro di molto” on a continuous base of sixteenth notes. This central section leads to a transformation of the initial melody. The densification of the texture manages to cover it with a certain degree of bitterness.
At the age of twelve, Felix Mendelssohn was not only a good musician, but he also read Caesar and Ovid, studied history, geography, arithmetic and French, and also displayed a prodigious memory. He later became an avid classicist and studied Greek. Even as a teenager, together with Fanny, who also received a significant humanities education, he maintained a mock literary magazine, the Gartenzeitung, and they avidly read Jean Paul and Shakespeare. In 1827, Felix went on to enroll at the University of Berlin, where he studied history, aesthetics, and geography. During 1829 he began a series of trips through Europe that were a very important source of inspiration for his works and that completed his exquisite and heterogeneous education. All these teachings enhanced the high capacities of who, both today and in his own time, is considered one of the greatest composers of all time.
From his childhood, chamber music was essential for Felix. He went so far as to affirm that sonatas for violin or viola and quartets interested him more than the pieces for his instrument, the piano. In fact, it is possible that in 1820 he wrote a trio in C minor that does not survive and that would have been one of his first compositions. Our Trio No. 2 in C minor, Op. 66 is his last great chamber music work with piano. It was completed in April 1845, just two years before he died and six years after writing his Trio No. 1 in D minor, Op. 49. At that time, Felix lived with his family in Frankfurt, retired of his official duties in Leipzig and Berlin to be able to compose with a certain tranquility, since energy and health began to fail him after years of frenzied professional activity. Although he presented it as a birthday present for his sister Fanny, the score is dedicated to his colleague and friend Louis Spohr, who, in addition to being a conductor and composer, was a great violinist and would perform this second trio on numerous occasions with Felix at the piano.
The main key of the work, C minor, contains in itself strong Beethovenian resonances, since this tone was used by the German composer in works of special meaning, of a pathetic and tragic character. On the other hand, from the first bars of the ambitious and tense “Allegro energico e con fuoco”, written by Brahmsian script, we notice that the piano part is very overloaded. Felix himself wrote to Fanny saying: "The trio is a bit scary at first glance, but not really difficult to play." The powerful first theme, more rhythmic than melodic, is presented as a dynamic, yearning and compact whirlwind in piano eighth notes, while the second, characterized by an ascending minor sixth jump “marcato e con forza”, shows us a progressively Mendelssohn more lyrical and upbeat.
The slow movement, “Andante espresssivo”, is a kind of “romance without words”. The piano introduces a cantabile melody, introspective and somewhat nostalgic in an oscillating 9/8 that will take up the strings in a more expressive aspect. The lightness and energy of the "Scherzo: Molto allegro quasi presto", typically Mendelsshonian, reminds us of the boisterous beginning of the scherzo of A Midsummer Night's Dream, Op. 61 or of the Octet, Op. 20. The strings present a continuous and rapid movement in sixteenth notes, spiced up by an ingenious use of the canon. These brief rhythmic figurations are maintained by the piano during the trio, dancing and carefree, whose strong beats are reinforced by very distinctive trills.
After this relentless third section we come to the final “Allegro appassionato”, of symphonic dimensions, which will elevate the trio's aspirations to the spiritual and religious. The first theme is performed by the cello, who begins by formulating a versatile and powerful jump of the ascending ninth. This agile melody has been related to earlier key works (such as the gig in English Suite No. 3 in G minor, Bach's BWV 808 or Aufschwung, Op. 12 no. 2 by Schumann), later (like the scherzo of the Sonata, Op. 5 by Brahms) or even with Jewish folk music. The second motif, almost heroic, is presented by the strings on chords on the piano that represent a foretaste of the true devotional element of the work: a majestic “tenuto” and “pianissimo” choral created by Felix himself with reminiscences of some Lutheran choirs, a common rhetorical device that helps him reaffirm his Christianity. It is presented on the piano and coexists with the exchange of strokes of the first theme on the violin and the cello. Musicologist Robert Philip has likened this juxtaposition to "two tiny figures speaking softly as they enter a great cathedral."
“People often complain that the music is too ambiguous […], while everyone understands the spoken language. In my opinion, it is the exact opposite”. This is how Felix expressed himself in 1842, referring to his ingrained opinion that the ideas contained in his scores are too precise to be verbalized. Music is, therefore, the ideal vehicle for his expression. This approach constitutes the essence of the "romance without words" that the Mendelssohn turned into an aesthetic category of their own. But Felix, like almost all the German composers of his time, also cultivated the “romance with words” and left us hundreds of lieder and duets.
From this perspective, his Question, Op. 9 nº 1 (1827), is specially striking, the text of which, although initially attributed to Johann Heinrich Voss, seems to have been written by Felix himself. The Twelve Songs, Op. 9 are closely related to Fanny's lieder Op. 9. Beyond the intertextual resonances, it must be remembered that three of the numbers of Op. 9 of Felix were written by Fanny, who, at that time, in 1830, thought it more convenient to publish them under the name of her brother. The short piece that begins this youth collection ends the album in an arrangement for trio. It is a lied of love and fidelity whose characteristic feature is the initial questioning gesture for the phrase: "Is it true?" In the author's liederistic corpus it is interesting to observe the relationship between his songs and his instrumental works, as is the case with his Quartet No. 2 in A minor, Op. 13, whose main thematic material is precisely extracted of this Question.
One of the greatest contributions of Felix Mendelssohn to the artistic life of his time was the creation in 1843 of the first higher music school in Germany, the Leipzig Conservatory, which he directed until his death. Some of the best composers and performers of the moment taught there: Robert Schumann, Ignaz Moscheles, Ferdinand David and Joseph Joachim. For their part, the protagonists of this album, the violinist Alejandro Bustamante, the cellist Lorenzo Meseguer and the pianist Alberto Rosado, whose group originally received the name of Trío Unamuno, also develop a broad, successful and vocational career as teachers. Specifically, at the time of the recording of this album they worked as professors at the Higher Conservatory of Music of Castilla y León, in Salamanca, a city inextricably linked to the training of young students and to Miguel de Unamuno, who was Rector of its University. Pedagogy has brought them together and facilitated the development of Fanny & Felix Mendelssohn Chamber music, where they capture a conscientious chamber music that achieves a passionate vision, with tempi to the limit and maximum agogic contrasts, of this bouquet of works by the Mendelssohn brothers. The importance of musical instruction and the value of higher education, which did so much to develop the innate gifts of Fanny and Felix, fly over the genesis of this ambitious project. Hopefully our society will once again value “good education” as an essential and irreplaceable tool to build the future and progress of humanity.
Interview with the artists
Why did you choose this repertoire centered on the brothers Fanny and Felix Mendelssohn for your debut album?
We raised and debated various options that seemed interesting to us, always from the perspective that recording is a unique opportunity to contribute to the visibility and expansion of certain repertoires that are unjustly forgotten or poorly attended. For this reason, one of the possibilities we proposed was to dedicate the entire album to female composers, for example, including Clara Schumann with Fanny Mendelssohn, since they are two of the greatest creators of Romanticism whose piano trios are extraordinary. But we have come to the conclusion that, perhaps, the best way to contribute to making visible the traditionally little extended repertoire in the great concert cycles (music written by women, Spanish music, contemporary music, etc.) is precisely not to isolate it from the traditional canon creating concert cycles or ad hoc recordings, but to interpret it together with the rest of the best-known works. We believe that, otherwise and although with the best intention, we generate the perception that they are second-class works and that they only deserve to be heard in very specific contexts or for very specialized audiences. Fanny Mendelssohn's Trio is a great work, and we are convinced that it should be part of the regular repertoire of piano trios. So we decided to record it together with Felix's second trio. Because of that, and because Fanny and Felix weren't just brothers. They were tremendously close and had a truly spiritual relationship. To the extent that, when Fanny died prematurely, Felix wrote his Quartet No. 6 in F minor, Op. 80 dedicated to her: a work of heartbreaking pain. And such was his grief that he too died a few months later. So the idea of putting them together in this recording seemed especially beautiful to us.
Alberto, both trios are practically contemporaries in time. What differences do you find in the piano writing of Fanny and Felix? Do these differences affect the way you interpret each of the trios?
The writing of the two trios is really different. Within the same aesthetic and handling similar elements, both composers manage to create their own instrumental language that gives a unique and recognizable stamp to each of the works. As for piano writing, it is highly virtuosic in both cases. If that of Felix tends to use, in general, precise and rather short articulations, with an inclination towards a polyphonic texture, that of Fanny is conceived in longer strokes and the accompanied melody predominates. Fanny uses many tremolos and long passages in octaves, which resemble her piano style more like that of Franz Liszt than that of her brother. If Felix's writing is highly refined and her devotion to Bach is reflected in various passages, Fanny's is spontaneous, imaginative and contains a dose of daring that brings freshness in many moments. These obvious differences entail a specific technical and artistic search that makes the interpretation of each trio have its own character.
Alejandro, and regarding the strings, what are the differences in treatment and language between Fanny and Felix? Who is more idiomatic?
From my point of view there are quite a few points in common, but also some differences. To begin with, that characteristic so common in Felix's works of including first movements full of boiling and permanent agitato is very palpable in Fanny's Trio as well. The cantabile treatment of the string in the slow movement is similar in both. However, Felix uses in many of his works, and also in many of his chamber scores, a third scherzante movement, usually devilishly fast and leggiero. We see this, for example, in his Trio No. 2 in C minor. Fanny, however, chooses as the third movement a deliberately short and simple lied, she would say that as an intermezzo, probably to seek a balanced structure after the very intense first two sections. And the fourth movement is perhaps a little lighter than Felix's great final blocks. It has a more popular character and does not seek a huge final climax, as it does in the immense and ecstatic concluding choir of the last movement of Felix's trio.
Regarding the treatment of technical resources, I would say that, although both are idiomatic for the string, Felix's Trio is something else. It has always seemed to me that Felix writes, generally in a demanding way for the violin in particular, but also in a manifestly idiomatic way. In fact, I personally find him one of the most comfortable composers to play. Fanny's style is somewhat more challenging, with riskier position changes and right-hand resources that are not always comfortable. But that has nothing to do with the quality of the work. Beethoven's music, without going any further, is usually terribly uncomfortable for the string and no one can therefore question its quality.
Of the second Felix trio we find a numerous discography, while of the Fanny trio there are much fewer recordings. What are the differences between preparing a highly registered piece and one that is not so well known? Do the record references of the most performed work, in this case, by Félix's trio weigh much?
In theory, the weight that tradition exerts on a work performed and recorded on numerous occasions is much greater than that which falls on a piece that is not part of the usual repertoire. Even so, our way of approaching any musical creation always involves the study and analysis of the score, the catalog of that composer, his / her writings and the composers who wrote in the same context. We try to make a kind of tabula rasa with respect to everything we have heard previously in order to get a personal version and as close as possible to what we think could be the spirit in which it was conceived.
As for the Trio of Fanny, we have found, with some exceptions, recordings of dubious quality that do a disservice to the dissemination of such a masterful work. In this case, the responsibility of knowing that we can provide something to make this a regular piece in the trio repertoire is much greater than the responsibility of recording the second Felix trio.
You have completed your record proposal with the arrangement of several lieders by Fanny and Felix, a genre highly cultivated by the two brothers, such as chamber music and solo piano. Why did you choose these specific songs? Who has been in charge of making the arrangements and with what criteria?
Indeed, both brothers were great lieder composers, and we consider that this ability to write for the voice has a very clear impact on the evident singing vocation that, on many occasions, their chamber music has. In Fanny's case, we have chosen three lieder of very contrasting characters whose common link is the appearance of elements of nature in her text. We believe that they fit together so well that they could form a unity. The first of them, Die Ersehnte (The yearned for), Op. 9 nº 1 generates a melancholic and contemplative atmosphere. The second, Nach Süden (Towards the south), Op. 10 nº 1 is the most Schumannian. The poem contains references to nature, birds and the arrival of spring, with a character full of optimism and passionate effervescence. Finally, Die Mainacht (The Night of May), Op. 9 nº 6 is the most nostalgic and sad of the three. Also the most poetic. It describes a person who, despite the natural beauty that surrounds him, cannot help but feel sad and unhappy, and cries inconsolably. It is a real wonder. This block of lieder did not require a real arrangement, since it was enough to play the part of the voice with the violin. For the register and for the articulation it works perfectly.
On the other hand, to close the album we wanted to include a lied by Felix that string players who love to play in quartet know well: Frage (Question), Op 9 No. 1. It is the song on which he bases the introduction and the epilogue of his Quartet No. 2 in A minor, Op. 13, and, in fact, the one that gives unity and meaning to all the work. The lied is short and asks a question: "Is it true?" And the inspired follow-up to the question is immediately established. In the quartet, however, the question appears in the introduction of the first movement, but just when the answer has to come, the dramatic “Allegro vivace” bursts in. Only at the end of the last movement does Mendelssohn take up the question to, this time, answer it beautifully. Both Lorenzo and I [Alejandro] have played this quartet a lot and that is why we were especially excited to include this piece on the album. And also, this time, the three of them together. The violin plays the part of the voice and the cello alternates between the different voices of the piano creating a colorful texture.
Lorenzo, what would you highlight from Fanny's Capriccio for cello and piano?
It is one of the two original parts for this instrument from their catalog. Although it follows the line of the fantasy genre, with an improvised and imaginative character, in this work it clearly delimits the structure of the ternary lied. The work is tremendously contrasting and, despite being a shorter piece in duration, it requires a great adaptability for both players due to its writing, mainly in the central section: great rhythmic and harmonic accumulation in the piano part and jumps of scope in the voice of the cello. One of the peculiarities is, without a doubt, the use of the cello register, since it takes it to extremes that are difficult to see in other contemporary titles.
From a purely personal point of view, Fanny displays and develops unapologetic music, making it clear that the important thing is the lyricism and the expressiveness of the instruments. This not only happens in the cello and piano piece, but we see it very clearly also in the trio. In this way, we find that the treatment that this composer usually presents denotes a main idea: the overcoming of the technical limitations of the instrument based on a greater purpose, musical expression. Obviously it is not something new, since Beethoven is another of the great creators who takes up this idea, but it is peculiar to find it in the context in which this author moves.
What do you think would have happened if Fanny had started publishing her works earlier? What if she hadn't died so soon? Would we be facing a composer today much more known, programmed and respected?
The assumptions are risky, but, without a doubt, it would have been formidable to have a much more varied production, than not extensive (remember that it has more than 400 works), because we could observe an evolution and perhaps a greater development in its language in other types of repertoires. But the fact of suffering a premature death deprived us of seeing it. In the same way, it is difficult to know if this author would be better known and programmed, because, unfortunately, the position of a female composer at that time was far from being something accepted and normalized in society. Even so, Fanny was an artist who took risks in her approach and, it is likely that that natural talent that she possessed and showed from a certainly early age, overwhelmed many at the time: teachers, colleagues, family ...
What do you think of this increasingly considered statement that indicates that a good part of Felix's work was written by Fanny?
Working on the pieces and on the language of the brothers, a certain influence of one towards the other is more than visible. That passion for lyricism, for example, is characteristic of both. But we have also found obvious discrepancies regarding the instrumental writing of each one and the way of understanding the form, from the small phrases to the large structures. Therefore, in the case of these two trios, it is evident that they have different authorship. The same happens with many other works by Felix that we have interpreted, but the rest of his extensive corpus would have to be analyzed case by case to arrive at a statement as categorical as that his sister wrote a large part of his work.
Since his debut as a soloist at the age of 19, his sensitivity, his ability to connect emotionally with the public, and the honesty and integrity of his performances have made Alejandro Bustamante one of the most valued violinists of his generation. Vitalist and multifaceted, he stands out in his performances as a soloist with an orchestra, as a chamber musician in various formations and offering solo violin recitals, with a wide repertoire that ranges from baroque to the most avant-garde music.
Winner of the Permanent Competition of Musical Youths of Spain in both Chamber Music (2005) and Bow Instruments (2008) in which he won two first prizes unanimously, and the Artistic Revelation Award of the Awards Cultura Viva 2015, has offered concerts in Spain, Germany, France, Italy, Holland, Switzerland, USA, Mexico, Argentina, Brazil, Chile and Uruguay, in prestigious venues such as Carnegie Hall in New York, Christel deHaan Fine Arts Center in Indianapolis, National Music Auditorium in Madrid, Monumental Theater and Juan March Foundation in Madrid, Palau de la Musica Catalana and Auditori in Barcelona, Euskalduna Palace in Bilbao, Auditorium in Zaragoza, Brandenburger Theater in Brandenburg, Sala Tlaqná in Xalapa, Instituto Cervantes de Brasilia or Teatro Solís de Montevideo, among others.
As a soloist, Alejandro Bustamante has played with orchestras such as the RTVE Symphony Orchestra, Madrid Community Orchestra, Brandenburg Symphony Orchestra, Xalapa Symphony Orchestra (Mexico), Schubertiada Chamber Orchestra, Cambra Illa Orchestra de Menorca and the Symphonic Orchestra of the Province of Chaco (Argentina), under the direction of Maestros such as Antoni Wit, Pablo González, Víctor Pablo Pérez, Christoph König, Noam Zur, Jonathan Webb, Juan Luis Martínez and Josep Vicent.
In 2010 he recorded together with the pianist Enrique Bagaría his first CD for Columna Música with works by César Franck, Eduard Toldrà and Olivier Messiaen. And in 2017 his second album was released, dedicated to contemporary Spanish music for solo violin and recorded for the IBS Classical label. The third CD of his dedicated to chamber music by Fanny and Felix Mendelssohn with Alberto Rosado and Lorenzo Meseguer and under the label Play Classics will be released shortly.
Firmly committed to the music of his time and especially to Spanish composers, he rescued and performed Joan Guinjoan's Concerto for violin and orchestra under the express wish of the composer after almost thirty years since its first and only performance at its premiere.
Born in Madrid in 1986, Alejandro Bustamante has received a solid international training that began in Madrid and Indiana (United States) and continued in Zaragoza and Berlin (Germany), with figures such as Sergio Castro, Anna Baget, Mimi Zweig, Rolando Prusak, Sergei Fatkulin, Latica Honda-Rosenberg and Nora Chastain, and as a chamber musician with the Casals, Quiroga and Artemis Quartets, and with Eberhard Feltz. His interest in conducting has led him to train in this field in courses taught by Maestro Enrique García Asensio. He has also received influences from important figures such as Boris Kuschnir, Ana Chumachenco, Nicolás Chumachenco, Rainer Schimdt, Walter Levin, Valentin Erben, Ferenc Rados and Mihaela Martin.
He currently combines his concert activity with intense pedagogical work as a violin professor at the "Manuel Castillo" Superior Conservatory of Music in Seville and at the Forum Musikae (Madrid), as well as in numerous courses and master classes to which he is frequently invited.
Professor of cello at the Conservatorio Superior de Música de Castilla y León, he combines teaching with his concert career being a member of the “City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra” until the 2020 season and currently of the “Balthasar Neumann Ensemble” of Freiburg.
He began his musical studies at the conservatory of his hometown, continuing them at the Real Conservatorio Superior de Música de Madrid where he finished with an Honorary Degree. Later he moved to Salzburg with a scholarship from the BBVA foundation, where he completed his Master's degree at the Universität Mozarteum among the most outstanding students under the tutelage of the prestigious cellist Enrico Bronzi. In 2015 he finished his Postgraduate studies with Honorary Degree from the Royal Academy of Music in London with a scholarship from “Santander Universities UK”.
Lorenzo has been awarded in numerous national and international competitions, highlighting the “Liezen International Wettbewerb” (Austria), first prize at the XXVII International Music Festival of Portogruaro (Venice), the first prize in the “Ciutat de Xátiva” competition , first prize and special prize of the Don Juan de Borbón Foundation in the V Florián de Ocampo National Cello Competition, II Illa de Menorca Fidah National Competition, Manresa National Chamber Music Competition, Arquillos National Cello Competition, V Contest Nacional Intercentros Melómano, among others .
Founding member of the Seikilos Quartet, he has recently been awarded the Ensemble Emergente Festclásica 2021 award, offering concerts for the most important festivals in the country.
He made his debut as a soloist when he was only 12 years old, since then he has been increasing this work, subsequently interpreting and recording for Radio Nacional de España works by J. Haydn, C.P.E. Bach, C. Saint-Saëns, concert E. Elgar, E.Lalo. In the 2011/12 season the Murcia Auditorium's concert season opens with the concert no.1 by D. Shostakovich together with the Murcia Region Symphony Orchestra with which he also performs, more recently, the cello concerto of A. Dvorak was very well received by the public and critics.
Likewise, his interest in chamber music has led him to study with Rainer Schmid (Hagen Quartet), Wolfgang Redik (Vienna piano Trio), Emerson Quartet, Brentano Quartet, Minetti Quartet, Trio di Parma, and in the McGill University of Montreal (Canada). He has shared stages with musicians such as Sir Simon Rattle, Guy Braunstein, Kolja Blacher, Gordan Nikolich, Wolfgang Redik, Nicholas Altstaed, Arabella Steinbacher, Elisabeth Scholl, Scharoun Ensemble of the Berliner Philharmoniker, and has performed at festivals throughout much of Europe and North America, highlighting the Santa Cecilia festival (Portogruaro, Venice), Bayreuth (Nüremberg), Rutesheim (Stuttgart), Segovia Summer Festival (Spain), Schleswig-Holstein Musik Festival (Hamburg), Zermmat Festival 2013 and 2014 (Switzerland) invited by members of the Berliner Philharmoniker, Toronto Summer Festival 2014 (Canada), Rheingau Festival 2015, Fundación Juan March 2016.
In the orchestral field he has performed with various orchestras in North America, Europe, China and South America and has been part of orchestras such as the Young National Orchestra of Spain (JONDE), the Schleswig-Holstein orchestra (SHMF), Sandor Vegh Kammerorchester Salzburg, and of which he has been a cello soloist.
During the years 2014-2016 I obtained the position of academist of the historicist ensemble "Balthasar Neumann Ensemble" of Freiburg (Germany), directed by the prestigious conductor Thomas Hengelbrock and under his personal patronage of him. p>
His interest of him in teaching has led him to be invited as a professor at the National Youth Orchestra of Costa Rica, at the Luigi Boccherini Festival and recently at the Liceo Mozartiano in Havana (Cuba). He also highlights the recording of his first album "Perspectiven" (Salzburg, 2013) with works for solo cello by Reger, Ysaÿe and Ligeti.
Lorenzo plays an instrument Richard Duke, London 1770.
Born in Salamanca in 1970, Alberto Rosado belongs to a generation of interpreters trained in a classical repertoire and committed in a special way to contemporary music. He has given recitals in major cities and festivals in Europe, America and Asia and has performed as a soloist with the National Orchestra of Spain, the Bamberg Symphony, the RTVE Symphony, the Castile and Leon Symphony, the Seville Philharmonic and the Gran Canaria Philharmonic. ORCAM, Mexico City Philharmonic, OFUNAM (Mexico), Córdoba Symphony Orchestra (Argentina), JONDE, PluralEnsemble, UMZE (Budapest), Guerrero Project and Modus Novus, and conducted by Péter Eötvös, Susanna Mälkki, Josep Pons, Jonathan Nott, Fabián Panisello, Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos, Pedro Halffter, Arturo Tamayo, José Ramón Encinar, Zsolt Nagy, José Luis Temes, Massimo Quarta, Hadrian Ávila, Philip Greenberg and Carlos Riazuelo, among others.
He has been interested in contemporary music throughout his career, but it is in these last two decades that his activity has focused on today's music. He then began a close relationship with composers such as Boulez, Lachenmann, De Pablo, Halffter, Hosokawa, Eötvös, López López and many others, both as a soloist and as a member of the Plural Ensemble, of which he has been a member since 1999. Currently As a result of intense research work, part of its activity in the field of current music is dedicated to the dissemination of works for piano and electronics.
His recordings include the Concerto for piano and orchestra and the Movements for two pianos and orchestra by José Manuel López López with the Deutsches Symphonie Orchester conducted by Johannes Kalitzke, for Kairos, the complete piano work by Cristóbal Halffter and that of José Manuel López López with Verso, a label that also released an album with works by Messiaen, Ligeti, Takemitsu and Cage. He has recorded three monographs, with Plural Ensemble, dedicated to Fabián Panisello (col legno), César Camarero (Verso) and José Manuel López López (NEOS) as well as an album with the Castilla y León Symphony Orchestra with works by Antonio José for the Naxos seal. He has also recorded Dipolo, together with the cellist David Apellániz, within the Spanish and Latin American Composers of Current Music collection of the BBVA Foundation in collaboration with the Verso label. In addition, he has performed together with the Plural Ensemble Ligeti's Piano Concerto, published by the NEOS label and the BBVA Foundation, and together with Claron McFadden he has recorded Ramón Humet's Tribute to Martha Graham, with poems by Mario Lucarda and with the label NEU. His most ambitious project to date is e-piano_video & electronics, a CD-DVD distributed by the IBS Classical label in collaboration with the BBVA Foundation and featuring the most recent music for piano, electronics and video from Fuentes , Paredes, Humet, Estrada, Edler-Copes, Morales-Ossío and Navarro. His latest recording is Fin du Temps, with the Messiaen and Takemitsu quartets together with José Luis Estellés, Aitzol Iturriagagoitia and David Apellániz, published by the IBS-Classical label and which has been unanimously recognized by the national and international critics.
For four years he has been a visiting professor at the Universidad Católica de Santiago de Chile and the Universidad de Santiago, and on three other occasions at the Centro Nacional de las Artes de México in Mexico City. Between 2013 and 2014 he has also been a piano teacher in the project “Europa u Bram” in Poland. He is a professor of Chamber Music, Contemporary Piano, teaches a master's degree in piano and coordinates the Contemporary Music Workshop at the Higher Conservatory of Music of Castilla y León.