Mendelssohn was an accomplished and quick-learning pianist who wrote many of his compositions apparently out of boredom with the repertoire of the day. The concertos on this recording show the joyousness that effuses most of his compositions, which probably went hand-in-hand with his ability to write them quickly and effortlessly. That is not to say that these works lack mastery in their conception or execution, but rather that they exhibit the free flowing of musical ideas that had not been seen in a composer since Mozart.
Pianist Murray Perahia is a specialist in the music of the classical and early romantic periods; Mendelssohn as a transitional figure between those periods is perfectly suited to his elegant and coloristic technique. He takes quick and happy tempos throughout, and, as is his trademark, Perahia never seems capable of turning out anything but beautiful phrasing. His tone is subtle but filled with great presence and no forcefulness in the attack. Rather than treat Mendelssohn as a shallow composer of salon pieces, Perahia sees in him the drama and pianistic brilliance more often associated with von Weber. These recordings of the concertos will bring joy to any listener, and most will find little room for improvement.