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Mendelssohn Bartholdy Edition

Mendelssohn Bartholdy Edition

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Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy was born in Hamburg in 1809 and died in Leipzig at the age of 38. He was very early musically gifted. Mendelssohn performed in public at the age of 9 and composed already from the age of 11. As a pupil of Friedrich Zelter, who was a friend of Goethe, Mendelssohn composed at the age of 17 his first masterpiece: the Overture to the Midsummer Night's Dream. This is included in the extensive release as well as a large number of other known or less known pieces by him. The String Quartet in F Minor Op. 80 - written in memory of his beloved sister Fanny - which was recorded in this collection by the Aurora String Quartet is undoubtedly one of his most beautiful works. The Gächinger Kantorei with Helmuth Rilling, the Bach Collegium Stuttgart, the Bartholdy Piano Quartet, the Heidelberger Sinfoniker with Thomas Fey, Ana-Marija Markovina and other renowned interpreters and orchestras can also be heard.

Artists

Juliane Banse, Wolfgang Brunner, Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, Benjamin Frith, Christian Gerhaher, Walter Gieseking, Matthias Goerne, Marlis Petersen, Gitti Pirner

Dana Protopopescu, Sibylla Rubens, Michael Schade, Wolfgang Schone, Julia Varady, Iris Vermillion, Aurora String Quartet, Bartholdy Piano Quartet, Fine Arts Quartet, Gachinger Kantorei, Rundfunkchor Leipzig, Chamber Choir of Europe, Gewandhausorchester Leipzig, Bach-Collegium Stuttgart, Heidelberger Sinfoniker, Kurt Masur, Nicol Matt, Helmuth Rilling, Thomas Fey



REVIEW:

Now here’s an interesting marketing ploy: At the cusp of Beethoven’s 250th anniversary year, what does Hänssler Classic do but bring out a 56-CD big box devoted to Mendelssohn! The collection draws upon the Hännsler/Profil back catalog, fleshed out by recordings licensed from other labels.

Its contents are loosely organized by genre, with discs 50 through 56 containing chamber, concerted, solo, and vocal pieces omitted from discs 1 through 49. Both the String Quartet in A minor Op. 13 and Violin Sonata Op. 4 are represented by two performances each. Most of Dana Protopopescu’s solo-piano Mendelssohn recordings appear, but not her Six Preludes and Fugues Op. 35. Instead, Gitti Pirner’s Op. 35 (originally on Calig) occupies disc 20, coupled with her Fantasy in F-sharp minor Op. 28. Yet somehow Protopopescu’s Op. 28 Fantasy survived the purge; it’s on disc 48. In any event, the heart of the Mendelssohn Edition lies in its extensive and well-chosen vocal and orchestral selections.

Pride of place goes to Helmuth Rilling’s recordings of the oratorio Elias and the rarely heard, thoroughly delightful comic opera Der Onkel aus Boston. Doris Hagel’s brash, vividly detailed, and headlong period-instrument Paulus energizes this overextended and occasionally dull work as no other recording does. Nicol Matt makes as vibrant a case as any for Mendelssohn’s reams of sacred vocal music. Thomas Fey’s surveys of the string symphonies (he wisely opts for No. 8 in its incarnation with winds) and the five symphonies for full orchestra remain points of reference. No complaints about the collection’s generally fine modern-day chamber recordings, although one would have expected stereo versions for the popular Piano Trios instead of the late-1940s Oistrakh/Knushevitsky/Oborin versions.

– ClassicsToday (Jed Distler)

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  • Release Specifications

    • Number of Discs: 56
    • Release Date:
    • Label: Haenssler Classic
    • UPC/Barcode: 881488190588
    • Item Number: HC19058