16/03/2017 Share this story Share on Facebook icon Share on Twitter icon Share on Pinterest icon Share on Google Plus icon Share on Linked In icon Share via Email icon

22 days left to hear UK premiere performance of Fanny Mendelssohn's Easter Sonata!

3111bd22-f86e-4ad8-b2ea-17fe649b8ed6

Second coming for Fanny Mendelssohn’s Easter Sonata

A substantial piano sonata by Fanny Mendelssohn has received its first public performance and UK premiere, almost 190 years after it was written.

Pianist readers will be more familiar than most with the overlooked figure of Fanny, who gave only one public recital and was discouraged both by her father and especially her brother Felix from making money or a reputation from her composition. Nonetheless, she wrote music throughout her life: mostly songs and miniatures such as the Melodie Op 4 No 2 from his Kinderstück, which was published in the Scores section of the current Pianist 94.

The 22-minute, four-movement ‘Easter’ Sonata is of another order of magnitude and significance. In the diary of his tour to Scotland in 1829, Felix recounts playing the newly composed sonata on board a steamer moored in Liverpool docks. As recently as 2003, Felix’s biographer R Larry Todd could still refer to it as lost, but in fact the manuscript turned up in Paris in 1970. The owner of the manuscript was reported to have said, ‘It can’t be by a woman. It’s a masterpiece.’ However, the musicologist Angela Mace Christian proved the authenticity of the sonata, which was performed at the Royal Academy of Music in London on 8 March by Sofya Gulyak (pictured, left, at the Radio 3 recording studio), winner of the 2005 Leeds International Piano Competition. 

The sonata’s name discloses a dramatic narrative which comes to a dramatic head in the finale with an evocation of the curtain of the Temple being torn in two, followed by a calm and joyful, chorale-like coda. Gulyak’s performance (broadcast live on BBC Radio 3) was as ambitious and volatile as Fanny’s creative inspiration: ‘The Sonata says a lot about her as a composer,’ remarks Gulyak. ‘We can feel the influence of Beethoven and Schubert, but her voice is very much her own.’

HEAR SOFYA GULYAK PLAY THE SONATA! 

 

Back to News

16/03/2017 Share this story Share on Facebook icon Share on Twitter icon Share on Pinterest icon Share on Google Plus icon Share on Linked In icon Share via Email icon

Recent Updates

Pianist Alexei Volodin to display the allure of Medtner in ‘Storytellers’ programme

On Monday 27 November, at Merchant Taylors' Hall, London ...


Lang Lang in need of further rest

Slow recovery from tendonitis sparks career speculation as Lang Lang cancels again ...


TfL and Yamaha Music launch #Platform88 to place pianos across the Tube network

with the help of multi-instrumentalist, composer and producer Tokio Myers ...


Old keyboards & new technology

Unrivalled online museum of musical curiosities opens its digital doors ...


Other News

CONCERT REVIEW: Duo Martha Argerich & Sergei Babayan receive standing ovation

With the help of her friend, Argerich's first-ever appearance in Cleveland proves to be sensational ...


Winner of 2017 Arthur Rubinstein Competition to appear in London

Szymon Nehring gives Wigmore Hall debut on Sunday 3 December 2017 ...


Why is the piano so popular?

Royal College of Music student Alec Coles-Aldridge takes a look at why the piano is such a popular instrument ...


An English Rachmaninov

Simon Callaghan talks to Peter Quantrill about his latest recording of Roger Sacheverell Coke ...