Five LYRICAL Stars! Piano virtuoso Lauma Skride, the rising Latvian classical music star, is on top of her pianistic game as she presents a fabulous rendering of the rarely recorded "The Year" (Das Jahr) by Fanny Mendelssohn-Hensel, said to be the first musical exploraton of the months in a year. During Mendelssohn-Hensel's life in the 1800's, because of the social attitudes and culture, female accomplishments would quite often be diminished if not overlooked completely. Fanny Mendelssohn-Hensel was one of those who deserved much more attention and adulation. Sadly, it's said some of her work was even published under the name of her more famous younger brother, the renowned Felix Mendelssohn, just to get it in front of the unsuspecting public. Indeed, it is said Ms Mendelssohn-Hensel would depart this earth long before "Das Jahr" would be published and performed. Some say she was the musical equal of Felix. Ms Skride has chosen well in picking this fabulous programmatic mood composition and presents what may well be the definitive performance of this work.
This recording yields more heartfelt insight, beauty, complexity, and pure pianistic pleasure with each hearing. Ms Skride, the 25 year old Latvian phenom, unleashes her wonderful lyricism, power, nuances, and kinetic firepower from the somber opening "Januar" to the melancholic ending of the "Epilog". Revelations abound throughout the year, such as the upbeat zest of "Mai" to the apparent joy of the month of "Dezember" and the reflective "Epilog", Lauma takes us through Fanny's emotional musical twists and outbursts during each month giving us Mendelssohn's deep, changing feelings during her six month stay in Italy. Wonderful themes rise to the surface in this work. The lead theme changes hands at times with heavy technical demands on the other hand; almost like a change from a vocal reflection to a mental reflection and then back again. Her thematic recapitulations use embellishments and tempo changes. Each reflection clocks in at about 3 minutes with the exception of the remarkably beautiful "Marz" and the length exposition of "November". Lauma Skride is one of the award-winning Skride sisters which include Baiba the redoubtable violinist and Linda the notable violist. You may well want to track their individual and ensemble recordings and appearances in the future since they are on that rising wave of awesome young classical stars that has appeared in recent years. Fanny Mendelssohn-Hensel would probably have been overjoyed to hear Ms Skride's performance. Highly Recommended. Five REMARKABLE Stars!
(Audio CD, 50:05 total time, jewel box with liner notes in English and two other languages, with numerous photographs. German import from SONY.)