Piano Concerto No.1 in G minor, Op.25
Piano Concerto No.2 in D minor, Op.40
Rondo brillante in E flat, Op.29 Ireland
The Holy Boy Scott
Danse nègre, Op.58/5
Lotus Land, Op.47/1
John Ogdon (piano)
London Symphony Orchestra
Recorded at Abbey Road Studios, London Mendelssohn in September 1969, solo pieces in July 1972
CD No: TESTAMENT SBT 1288 Duration: Reviewed: April 2003
John Ogdon Mendelssohn Concertos (Testament)
Reviewed by Colin Anderson
An immediate reaction to the current recorded state of Mendelssohns piano concertos is that a pianist with technical brio, sensitivity, generosity, weight and delicacy is needed. Cue John Ogdon. While one can enjoy things from Perahia (Sony) and Hough (Hyperion), albeit very little in Thibaudets ram-raiding Decca traversals, just a few bars into the invigorating opening of the First Concerto finds Ogdon scintillating the music in the most natural way nothing forced, precious or enervated. Throughout the sunny lyricism, athleticism and simple good nature of these concertos, and the robust and amiable Rondo, Ogdons pertinent sense of tempo and line is irresistible. The Presto Finale of the G minor is puckish rather than made a vehicle for empty display, while the more ample curves of the D minor are sounded with dignity and feeling. Ive never quite understood the neglect this concerto receives or the underrating of Mendelssohn generally and it gladdens the heart to hear an artist of Ogdons abilities bring such dedication and perception to these splendid works.
Aldo Ceccato and the LSO provide a telling and very-together accompaniment. Just the right amount of time is taken to let this music speak as it should nothing sanctimonious, nothing superficial together with an appreciation of the music on its own terms; its character and delight. The recording is immediate and well balanced.
The encores, pleasurable English miniatures, are played with feeling and insight John Irelands The Holy Boy is more effective on strings, which is not to deny Ogdons concentration or the pianos black-and-white revealing of harmony; the pastoral April is rather Ravelian. Of Cyril Scotts mysterious fancies, his contented Lotus Land and perky Danse enjoy Ogdons affection. This desirable CD documents Ogdons open-hearted response to diverse repertoire, cut short with his early death in 1989.