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Mendelssohn - Symphonies, String Symphonies & Concertos


11 CDs for the price of 4

Gathered here, the three discs with Felix Mendelssohn’s symphonies recorded in 2007 and 2008 by Andrew Litton and his Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra were warmly received by the reviewers when they were first released. While each instalment, according to the BBC Music Magazine, demonstrated ‘the same wide dynamic range, eloquent phrasing and attention to detail, always with an ear for its contribution to the bigger picture’, performances of individual symphonies were hailed as ‘an exhilarating, thoroughly enjoyable Italian, superbly played and recorded’ (No. 4, Gramophone), ‘finally a Scottish that I have been able to listen to repeatedly with sheer delight’ (No. 3, klassik-heute.de), ‘suitably glowing, with an ideal balance between orchestral sound and chorus’ (No. 2 Lobgesang, Financial Times), and as bringing out ‘all of the rugged Beethovenian character in the Reformation symphony’ (No. 5, MusicWeb International). But this box set also gives the background to the symphonies for full orchestra, through the inclusion of the composer’s 12 string symphonies (and an incomplete 13th), written by a boy not yet fifteen. While forming a striking proof of Mendelssohn’s enormous, and enormously precocious talent, these works also allow us to discover the influences absorbed by the young man, who only one year later would compose his Symphony No. 1. The recordings, with the Amsterdam Sinfonietta conducted by Lev Markiz, were described in Fanfare as ‘absolutely lovely’ with ‘an exuberance that seems as fresh as that of the youthful composer himself’. And as if all this wasn’t enough, a further four discs offer all of the eight concertos that Mendelssohn composed. These include the youthful works with string orchestra accompaniment (concertos for violin, for piano, for violin and piano, and for two pianos), as well as the mature works for violin and for piano and full orchestra, performed here by Isabelle van Keulen ‘with a soft tone like the finest-spun silk - plus strength to match, when required’ (Gramophone), and Ronald Brautigam, in what has been described as ‘one of the great piano recordings’ (In Tune).
 
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Disc 1
 
  Felix Mendelssohn (-Bartholdy)
01 ‘Ruy Blas’ Overture, Op. 95 7'48
 
  Symphony No. 1 in C minor, Op. 11 29'45
02 I. Allegro di molto 10'07
03 II. Andante 5'50
04 III. Menuetto. Allegro molto 6'01
05 IV. Allegro con fuoco 7'47
 
  Symphony No. 4 in A major, Op. 90 (‘Italian’) 27'45
06 I. Allegro vivace 9'53
07 II. Andante con moto 5'44
08 III. Con moto moderato 6'37
09 IV. Saltarello. Presto 5'31
 
 
Disc 2
 
  Felix Mendelssohn (-Bartholdy)
  Symphony No. 2 in B flat major, Op. 52 ‘Lobgesang’ 62'53
01 I. Sinfonia: Maestoso con moto – Allegro – 11'20
02 Allegretto un poco agitato – 5'11
03 Adagio religioso 6'40
04 II. Chorus and Aria (Soprano) 6'35
05 III. Recitative and Aria (Tenor) 2'45
06 IV. Chorus: Sagt es, die ihr erlöset seid 1'46
07 V. Soprano Duet and Chorus 4'54
08 VI. Aria and Recitative 4'06
09 VII. Chorus and Soprano Solo: Die Nacht ist vergangen 4'34
10 VIII. Chorale: Nun danket alle Gott 4'24
11 IX. Duet (Tenor, Soprano): Drum sing ich mit meinem Liede 4'32
12 X. Final Chorus: Ihr Völker, bringet her 5'33
13 Applause 0'33
 
 
Disc 3
 
  Felix Mendelssohn (-Bartholdy)
  Symphony No. 3 in A minor, ‘Scottish’, Op. 56 39'48
01 I. Andante con moto – Allegro un poco agitato – Assai animato – 15'58
02 II. Vivace non troppo – 4'11
03 III. Adagio – 9'48
04 IV. Allegro vivacissimo – Allegro maestoso assai 9'51
 
  Symphony No. 5 in D minor, Op. 107, ‘Reformation’ 29'30
05 I. Andante – Allegro con fuoco 11'32
06 II. Allegro vivace 5'44
07 III. Andante 3'33
08 IV. Choral „Ein’ Feste Burg ist unser Gott!“ 8'41
 
 
Disc 4
 
  Felix Mendelssohn (-Bartholdy)
  String Symphony No.1 in C major 11'14
01 I. Allegro 4'43
02 II. Andante 3'48
03 III. Allegro 2'43
 
  String Symphony No.6 in E flat major 12'20
04 I. Allegro 3'56
05 II. Menuetto 5'00
06 III. Prestissimo 3'24
 
  String Symphony No.7 in D minor 23'40
07 I. Allegro 4'54
08 II. Andante 5'34
09 III. Menuetto 5'54
10 IV. Allegro molto 7'18
 
  String Symphony No.12 in G minor 21'16
11 I. Fuga 5'18
12 II. Andante 6'32
13 III. Allegro molto 9'26
 
 
Disc 5
 
  Felix Mendelssohn (-Bartholdy)
  String Symphony No.2 in D major 10'40
01 I. Allegro 4'02
02 II. Andante 4'37
03 III. Allegro 2'01
 
  String Symphony No.3 in E minor 8'27
04 I. Allegro di molto 3'24
05 II. Andante 2'46
06 III. Allegro 2'17
 
  String Symphony No.9 in c minor 28'38
07 I. Grave - Allegro 10'13
08 II. Andante 6'12
09 III. Scherzo 3'02
10 IV. Allegro vivace 9'11
 
  String Symphony No.10 in B minor
11 I. Adagio - Allegro 10'04
 
 
Disc 6
 
  Felix Mendelssohn (-Bartholdy)
  String Symphony No.4 in C minor 8'50
01 I. Grave - Allegro 3'24
02 II. Andante 2'58
03 III. Allegro vivace 2'28
 
  String Symphony No.5 in B flat major 11'12
04 I. Allegro vivace 4'31
05 II. Andante 3'02
06 III. Presto 3'39
 
  String Symphony No.13 in C minor (Symphonic Movement)
07 Grave - Allegro molto 7'22
 
  String Symphony No.8 in D major (Version with Winds) 29'12
08 I. Adagio - Allegro 10'11
09 II. Adagio 4'43
10 III. Menuetto 5'02
11 IV. Allegro molto 9'16
 
 
Disc 7
 
  Felix Mendelssohn (-Bartholdy)
  String Symphony No.8 in D major (Version for Strings) 30'14
01 I. Adagio e grave - Allegro 10'34
02 II. Adagio 4'46
03 III. Menuetto & Trio 5'20
 
  String Symphony No.11 in F major 37'50
04 I. Adagio - Allegro molto 12'02
 
  String Symphony No.8 in D major (Version for Strings) 30'14
05 IV. Allegro molto 9'34
 
  String Symphony No.11 in F major 37'50
06 II. Scherzo. Commodo. Schweizerlied 4'36
07 III. Adagio 8'07
08 IV. Menuetto 4'21
09 V. Allegro molto 8'44
 
 
Disc 8
 
  Felix Mendelssohn (-Bartholdy)
  Concerto in D minor for violin and strings (1822-23) (second version) 20'20
01 I. Allegro molto 8'40
02 II. Andante 7'47
03 III. Allegro 3'53
 
04 Scherzo from Octet, Op.20 4'16
 
  Concerto in E minor for Violin and Orchestra, Op.64 (original 1844 version) 25'41
05 I. Allegro con fuoco 11'50
06 II. Andante 7'09
07 III. Allegretto non troppo - Allegro molto vivace 6'42
 
 
Disc 9
 
  Felix Mendelssohn (-Bartholdy)
  Concerto in A minor for Piano and String Orchestra (1822) 31'30
01 I. Allegro 13'42
02 II. Adagio 8'30
03 III. Finale 9'18
 
  Concerto No.1 in G minor for Piano and Orchestra, Op.25 (1831) 18'41
04 I. Molto allegro con fuoco 6'58
05 II. Andante 5'54
06 III. Presto 5'49
 
  Concerto No.2 in D minor for Piano and Orchestra, Op.40 (1837) 20'30
07 I. Allegro appassionato 8'53
08 II. Adagio - Molto sostenuto 5'39
09 III. Finale 5'58
 
 
Disc 10
 
  Felix Mendelssohn (-Bartholdy)
  Concerto in D minor for Violin, Piano and String Orchestra (1823) 33'32
01 I. Allegro 17'05
02 II. Adagio 8'00
03 III. Allegro molto 8'27
 
04 Capriccio brillant, Op.22, for piano and orchestra (1825-26/1832) 10'26
 
05 Rondo brillant, Op.29, for piano and orchestra (1834) 9'55
 
06 Serenade and Allegro giocoso, Op.43, for piano and orchestra (1838) 11'49
 
 
Disc 11
 
  Felix Mendelssohn (-Bartholdy)
  Concerto in E major for Two Pianos and Orchestra (1823) 30'34
01 I. Allegro vivace 12'25
02 II. Adagio non troppo 10'21
03 III. Allegro 7'48
 
  Concerto in A flat major for Two Pianos and Orchestra (1824) 41'03
04 I. Allegro vivace 17'05
05 II. Andante 10'31
06 III. Allegro vivace 13'27
 
  Album total 722'35
ComposerMendelssohn (-Bartholdy), Felix
OrchestraAmsterdam Sinfonietta
Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra
ConductorLitton, Andrew
Markiz, Lev
SopranoHowarth, Judith
TenorPrégardien, Christoph
ChoirBergen Philharmonic Choir
Bergen Vocal Ensemble
Danish National Vocal Ensemble
Mezzo-sopranoLarmore, Jennifer
EnsembleAudience
ViolinKeulen, Isabelle van
PianoBrautigam, Ronald
Derwinger, Love
Pontinen (Pöntinen), Roland

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