Felix Mendelssohn was a genius. Youthful, talented, accomplished, and adoring of his sister Fanny, Mendelssohn – were he alive today – would surely be considered a ‘catch’! His music is invigorating, crisp, and inventive. So who better then to perform his masterpieces than The Australian Youth Orchestra under the expert guidance of conductor Christopher Hogwood?
In recent years, Hogwood has spent time studying the original scores of Mendelssohn’s symphonies and overtures. His examinations have led to the creation of several critical editions, vital to understanding Mendelssohn’s intentions, and free of editorial ‘interpretations’. Amongst the delights on offer in the AYO’s two performances at the Melbourne Recital Centre will be his Third and Fifth symphonies, better known to audiences and musicians alike as the ‘Scottish’ and ‘Reformation’. Hogwood’s expertise and critical editions will give the young musicians great insight into how to honour Mendelssohn’s music.
Audiences in Shepparton are also in for a treat when the orchestra takes one of two all-Mendelssohn programs to the Eastbank Centre. Featured in this concert will be young piano virtuoso Amir Farid in the First Piano Concerto, a hugely popular work in its day.
So many young pianists took it up around the 1830s that fellow composer Hector Berlioz – somewhat tongue-in-cheek – was prompted to tell a tale of an Érard piano on which 31 contestants played this piece for a competition. He claimed that the instrument refused to quit playing the music until it was chopped into pieces and burned! Certainly, the fast and fiery first movement promises to set the auditorium alight!