Mendelssohn and MacDonald: Double Concertos

Duo Concertante
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"Duo Concertante, the Newfoundland-based duo of violinist Nancy Dahn and pianist Timothy Steeves, have followed up their outstanding set of the complete Beethoven Sonatas with an equally satisfying CD of Double Concertos for Violin, Piano and Orchestra by Felix Mendelssohn and Andrew Paul MacDonald. Marc David conducts the Newfoundland Symphony Orchestra.

The Mendelssohn D Minor Concerto is performed here in the version with winds and timpani… The grace and lyricism of the mature composer are already in evidence. Dahn and Steeves both display the perfectly judged tone and style that made their Beethoven set such an outstanding success, as well as shining in the virtuosic passages.

The MacDonald Double Concerto Op.51 was commissioned by Duo Concertante some 15 years ago… It really is a very attractive and convincing work. The Duo has performed both concertos numerous times since then, and the two works are perfect companions on a really attractive CD."
– Terry Robbins, The Wholenote

Duo Concertante (Nancy Dahn, violin and Timothy Steeves, piano performs double concertos by Felix Mendelssohn and Andrew Paul MacDonald. With the Newfoundland Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Marc David.

The Mendelssohn Double Concerto Felix Mendelssohn was only fourteen years old when he composed his Concerto for Violin and Piano in D minor. The work fell into oblivion for over one hundred years until the autographic score was rediscovered. The first twentieth century performance with string orchestra was given in Berlin in 1957 and the first performance of the wind version (performed here) in 1999.

Even at his young age, Mendelssohn is already writing with a dramatic and romantic sensibility, and one hears, particularly in the second movement, the beautiful lyricism for which he became famous. He uses recitativo sections to increase drama, and Mendelssohn’s characteristic sparkling and virtuosic writing is in much evidence in both instruments and extends beyond the technical expectations of his day.

The MacDonald Double Concerto From composer Andrew MacDonald: The Double Concerto, Op. 51, for violin, piano and orchestra, was commissioned by Nancy Dahn and Timothy Steeves of Duo Concertante. I designed the music to display the virtuosic talents of this wonderful duo within a symphonic context of shifting textures, where the main musical ideas gradually evolve, taking on new characteristics. The featured duo is joined by a variety of other instruments to create a multitude of chamber music combinations. The many solo and duo cadenza passages, however, make it clear who the true soloists are! Set in one large movement with three main sections separated by cadenzas, the work takes on a fantasy-like character, though the traditional concerto form is just beneath the surface.

Catalog: MAR 463

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Track Listing:

Felix Mendelssohn
Double Concerto for Violin, Piano and Orchestra (with Winds) in D Minor
1. Allegro
2. Adagio
3. Allegro molto

Andrew Paul MacDonald
Double Concerto for Violin, Piano and Orchestra, Op. 51
1. Allegro risoluto
2. Poco piu mosso
3. Molto allegro

Total playing time: 64:46

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