Violin Sonata in F (1820)

Ed. Renate Unser. Deutscher Verlag/Breitkopf


The editor thoughtfully supplies her own testimonial: “this sonata is a further valuable and commendable step towards complete publication”. True enough, at least for those who feel (as I do) that Mendelssohn even at 11 plus can stand up to detailed examination. His fledgling creativity can sustain only a modest flight, being surprisingly heavy harmonically; but the sweet voice and im­pulsive energy in melody and rhythm already form the recognizable features of a highly individual style and personality. Even when (as in the outer movements here) the energy takes control, the result remains more than mere exercises despite the tireless vigour of the working-out process. In addition to the obvious and predictable influences, there are already overtones or the earliest songs and Singspiels. There is also some mild biographical interest; this must have been among the compositions that inspired father Abraham to utter the notably cautious prophecy “Perhaps music will be his career”.


The Musical Times, Apr. 1979 (p. 319) © the estate of eric sams