As a child prodigy Mendelssohn composed this Piano Concerto when aged just 13 for his sister Anna; the Double Concerto for violin and piano followed just a year later.

But these works go far beyond early-teen precocity. They brim with delicious insight and innovation, and easily could have come from the composer’s assured maturity. The Piano Concerto in particular is stamped with a wonderful dynamism which demonstrates his contagious and exhilarating confidence in his own prowess. The middle-movement Adagio gives pause for reflection, but the jaunty Finale reaffirms the joy of being so gifted, and just 13. 

The Double Concerto seems more consciously mature. But the lessening of an impetuous joie de vivre in the earlier work is more than compensated for by the sheer beauty of its writing and in the more reflective nature of the dialogue between the two solo instruments. The Freiburger Barockorchester led by violinist Gottfried von der Goltz gives a nicely judged accompaniment – which is the right term, as this Double Concerto is really a Sonata for two instruments with orchestral support.

These period-instrument performances give full expression to Mendelssohn’s gifts. Particularly pleasing is the beautiful tone of Kristian Bezuidenhout’s fortepiano, an American model copied from an 1824 specimen. Its rippling delicacy is a rare treat though it also boasts a good strong bass, free of the woolliness heard in some period pianos. All in all, this is a fine testament to the genius of the young Mendelssohn, performed with appropriately youthful brio.

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