“I wrote it in a few days and almost carelessly” wrote the 22-year-old Felix Mendelssohn about his first piano concerto, which he himself premiered while on a visit to Munich in 1831.

Mendelssohn wanted to ready the Second Piano Concerto for its premiere in Birmingham, ten years after his First Piano Concerto, and he wanted to impress the English concert-going audience and critics. The composer was known to write abundantly and fast, and yet, the Second Piano Concerto bedeviled him for quite a long time before he was able to complete it.

All three works are inventively inspired, rich in melody and full of technical hurdles for the soloist, especially the uncharacteristically fiery, fast and furious opening Allegro movements of both concertos.

The ONDINE CD includes the composer’s Capriccio Brillant along with the Piano Concertos Nos. 1 and 2. German pianist and conductor Lars Vogt plays impeccably, while impressively conducting from the piano the fine Orchestre de Chambre de Paris.

Rafael de Acha        ALL ABOUT THE ARTS