"Lyricism, flow and beauty, the hallmarks of so much of Mendelssohn’s music, are as integral to his two two-piano concertos as they are to his two concertos for solo piano. But the two-piano works are far less frequently performed, perhaps because they require the duo-pianists to subsume individual virtuosity into uniformity of sound and approach. These are not “display pieces,” but they are wonderful music – and when pianists are as comfortable with them (and apparently with each other) as are Sivan Silver and Gil Garburg, the results are exemplary. These two teachers from the Academy of Music in Hanover present readings of the concertos in E (1823) and A-flat (1824) that effectively balance the works’ classical poise with their Romantic emotions. They are beautifully complemented by the chamber-size Bayerische Kammerphilharmonie, which Christopher Hogwood directs with the clarity and balance that have long been trademarks of his musical approach. The brighter (if not really frothier) Concerto in E comes across particularly well, being more strongly immersed in classicism than its slightly later companion. The Concerto in A-flat is more symphonic and has more of a Romantic temperament; it is less straightforward in both style and harmony. A larger ensemble would have worked well here, but the considerable clarity that Hogwood brings to this work makes an effective argument for keeping the accompaniment modest. Silver and Garburg also have a fine understanding of the differing scales of these two works, handling the one in E with positively Mozartean finesse while allowing the one in A-flat to emerge in larger scale and with greater scope. This CD is about as effective an argument as possible for more-frequent performances of these unfairly neglected and thoroughly winning works."
INFODAD.COM January 28 2010