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#393008 - 12/22/01 06:13 AM Mendelssohn's negelected masterpieces?
pianoloverus Offline
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Registered: 05/29/01
Posts: 19591
Loc: New York City
I fins SOME of Mendelssohns's Songs without Words incredibly beautiful and moving despite their often very simple harmony. I have become especially enamored of #12(Venetian Boat Song), #18(Duetto-until recently, my favorite), #20, #25(May Breezes), #32(my current favorite), #40(Elegy), and #47. I once attended one of Jeffrey Siegel's Keyboard Conversations where he began the concert by playing #30(Spring Song) and then asked the audience whether they thought the piece was terrific or a piece of schlock . The audience was about equally divided their opinion. What do you think about Mendelssohn's Songs without Words? Do you think any of them can stand beside the Chopin Preludes, Debussey Preludes, or Brahms Intermezzi?

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#393009 - 12/22/01 11:12 AM Re: Mendelssohn's negelected masterpieces?
piqué Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/15/01
Posts: 5484
 Quote:
Originally posted by pianoloverus:
Do you think any of them can stand beside the Chopin Preludes, Debussey Preludes, or Brahms Intermezzi?[/b]


ABSOLUTELY! I'm working on the first of the Songs Without Words now, and to me it is as, if not more, beautiful and evocative than any of the above. To me they are totally exquisite.
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#393010 - 12/22/01 03:31 PM Re: Mendelssohn's negelected masterpieces?
pianoloverus Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/29/01
Posts: 19591
Loc: New York City
Does anyone know the "names" of the songs I listed only with their numbers in my original post?

Thank you!

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#393011 - 12/22/01 04:20 PM Re: Mendelssohn's negelected masterpieces?
BruceD Online   content
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Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 18230
Loc: Victoria, BC
Pianoloverus;

In my (Peters) edition of the Songs Without Words only ten of them have titles:
Op 19, No 3: "Jaegerlied"
Op 19, No 6: "Venetianisches Gondellied"
Op 30, No 6: "Venetianisches Gondellied"
Op 38, No 6: "Duetto"
Op 53, No 5: "Volkslied"
Op 62, No 3: "Trauermarsch"
Op 62, No 5: "Venetianisches Gondellied"
Op 62, No 6: "Fruehlingslied"
Op 67, No 4: "Spinnerlied"
Op 67, No 6: "Wiegenlied"

"May Breezes" and "Elegy" do not figure as titles in the Peters edition. What edition are you using?

It's surely a subjective thing, so take my opinion as only that, but I have never been attracted to them enough to really want to work on any of them. Some of them are quite pretty - which is perhaps damning them with faint praise - and I have found some of them pleasant enough to play but not profound enough to really study. In my opinion they certainly don't rise to the level of pianism of the Brahms Intermezzi or the Chopin or the Debussy Preludes.

And, of course, we will not - repeat: not - open the can of worms that while these are called by Mendelssohn "Songs without words" each one is still a "piece", not a "song", the composers titles notwithstanding!

Regards,

[ December 22, 2001: Message edited by: BruceD ]
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#393012 - 12/22/01 04:29 PM Re: Mendelssohn's negelected masterpieces?
jgoo Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/23/01
Posts: 3974
Loc: Seattle, Washington, USA
He did not make a mistake in his name for what is a piece but a song without words? They are still pieces.
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#393013 - 12/22/01 04:31 PM Re: Mendelssohn's negelected masterpieces?
jgoo Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/23/01
Posts: 3974
Loc: Seattle, Washington, USA
Heres something that I just thought of: A piece, a song without words. Maybe its called a piece because its only a piece of a song. The missing factor being the words? hmmm...
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#393014 - 12/22/01 07:46 PM Re: Mendelssohn's negelected masterpieces?
piqué Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/15/01
Posts: 5484
sometimes i think mendelssohn gets a bad rap at worst or his genius goes unappreciated at best because his music is happy and inspired. he lived a happy, well-adjusted life, and his music (to my ears) reflects that--it is not filled with the kind of tormented sadness and suffering you hear in the works of so many great composers. it is filled with joy, and a kind of innocence. that does not make it less musically complex, interesting, or "pianistic."

there are those who think suffering is essential to creating great art. i strongly disagree, and i think mendelssohn is a great example of this.
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#393015 - 12/22/01 08:20 PM Re: Mendelssohn's negelected masterpieces?
Carol Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 06/24/01
Posts: 18
Loc: Cleveland, Ohio
I just love playing Mendelssohn's Songs Without Words. The melodies are beautiful and the technical accompaniments make them very interesting to play. Do we have to compare one composer with another? Can't we just enjoy a certain composer without worrying how it compares to another?

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