Take a glance at Mendelssohn's catalog of works and you might think that the Organ Sonata No. 2 in C minor/C major, Op. 65, No. 2, took him just three days to write:
No. 1 bears the date December 18, 1844, and No. 2 is dated December 21, 1844.
But in truth, neither of these works was yet in its finished form in that week before Christmas, and he had been working on both -- and the other four Opus 65 organ sonatas as well -- for many months, drawing up a stock of music that he would put together into a finished body of six remarkable organ sonatas during the early weeks of 1845.
The Second Sonata, like the first and the sixth, is in neither the major mode nor the minor mode but, as its title above indicates, both; each of the three movements is allowed to select its mode, and thus to a large extent its own affect and effect, more or less independently of the others.
The Organ Sonata in C minor/C major opens with a weighty Grave in C minor that after 23 bars diffuses into an Adagio whose thick running sixteenth notes ebb and flow in mostly juicy parallel sixths -- the effect is hardly one of syrupy excess, however, for this is as serious an essay as Mendelssohn ever penned.
The second movement is a regal-sounding Allegro maestoso e vivace whose C major dotted figures are, by comparison with the previous movement, all brightness and light.
A 108-bar Fuga follows the second movement without break; it takes up a subject that sounds curiously like a hybrid of Mozart and Brahms -- which one supposes makes sense, given Mendelssohn's historical position and his own artistic leanings.
(Description by Blair Johnston)