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Dellal, Heffner and Montgomery begin this illuminating disc with Louis Spohr’s Sechs Deutsche Lieder. Though they never lack commitment, opportunities for expanding the colour palette are frequently overlooked. Wiegenlied (Lullaby), for instance, begins with the same energy, dynamic and presence as the previous Sehnsucht (Longing), yet the musical landscape is quite different. The performers demonstrate a richness of sound in these physically challenging works, though the final song Wach auf (Wake Up) would favour more lightness and flight.

The first movement of Hélène Montgéroult’s Piano Sonata (Op. 1) is energetically characterised by the bounding left-hand line, swiftly chased and echoed by the right hand in octaves. Melodic episodes allow the treble to take a lead with rocking accompanimental figures. Both movements convey more than a hint of agitato and the Josef Worel fortepiano (Vienna, 1835) affords a generous range of appropriate colours across its registers. If Montgéroult had had the opportunity to play such an instrument, then it would certainly have inspired her keyboard writing.

Fanny Mendelssohn Hensel’s songs set texts from Heine, Goethe, Rückert and others. Prioritising poetic declamation and the instrumental response to it is a fundamental starting point in performance, and a clearer focus on this aspect would intensify the musical experience for me.

Jane Booth Read the full review on Agora Classica

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Early Music Today, 2014 - ©Rhinegold Publishing