My favorite of all the classical music genres is the piano concerto, especially when you have one as exciting as the Mendelssohn concerto in G-minor. I remember my daughter’s classical piano teacher saying that a concerto was like a contest-the soloist vs. the orchestra. In Mendelssohn’s 1st piano concerto there is no doubt who wins this contest. After a quick fury by the orchestra, the pianist comes in to immediately take charge. In that way it is like Beethoven’s Emperor concerto [probably the greatest piano concerto ever written]. While the orchestra makes numerous attempts to take over, Mendelssohn makes sure it is the pianist who is in control of this concerto.
Mendelssohn’s Piano Concerto #1 is not a very long concerto, but that does not mean it lacks in great excitement. This concerto oozes with excitement. Besides the excitement, Mendelssohn, as in all his pieces, has some beautiful melodies in it. The first movement, Molto Allegro con Fuoco, bursts with excitement from the very start. There is no break between the first and second movement as it is connected with a bridge. The bridge is a slow tempo giving it an appropriate bridge into the moving and beautiful Andante second movement. Again after almost no break after the second movement, in comes the third movement, Presto-Molto Allegro y Vivace, as it returns to the dramatic exciting character of the first movement and contains the fireworks that most classical pieces save for the last movement of a symphony or a concerto.
So, please turn up the volume and enjoy some piano excitement from the great composer, Felix Mendelssohn. [note: this You Tube features a young Yuja Wang from over 9 years ago, with Kurt Masur leading the Verbier Festival Orchestra]
Felix Mendelssohn: Piano Concerto #1 in G-minor: