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

Yamaha Music London launch Silent Piano concert season

Four piano concerts where the audience will experience the music through headphones, remotely and wirelessly! ...


Leeds Piano Competition winner Anna Tsybuleva in concert this week

Tsybuleva appears at the Harrogate International Festivals this Wednesday. Read this quick interview with ...


Beatrice Rana gives her BBC Proms debut tonight, 24 July!

The Italian pianist will play Schumann Piano Concerto with the BBC Symphony Orchestra and Sir Andrew Davis ...


Why the extra keys? The Bösendorfer Imperial Grand Piano

Alec Coles-Aldridge, a student at the Royal College of Music shares his thoughts on the subject


Other News

Want a career in playing the piano for ballet classes?

Now's the time to sign up to The Dancing Piano summer course, which takes place in London in early September ...


Top Tips for Practising Octaves

Playing octaves (especially quickly!) can be daunting for many. Pianist contributor Melanie Spanswick offers ...


Yamaha's most popular digital piano, the Clavinova, launches its new series!

The CLP-600 series promises breakthrough innovations in digital fidelity ...


Watch this fascinating 30-minute film on the making of a Steinway piano

First aired in June last year, the BBC Four film offers a portrait of the craftsmen behind the famous piano ...