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Mendelssohn: Midsummer Night's Dream / Judd, New Zealand Symphony Orchestra

Mendelssohn / Wollerman / New Zealand So / Judd
Release Date: 07/27/2010 
Label:  Naxos   Catalog #: 8570794   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Felix Mendelssohn
Performer:  Gunnar CautheryDavid TimsonTom MisonJenny Wollerman,   ... 
Conductor:  James Judd
Orchestra/Ensemble:  New Zealand Symphony OrchestraNota Bene ChoirVarsity Voices
Number of Discs: 1 
In Stock: Usually ships in 24 hours.  

Notes and Editorial Reviews

MENDELSSOHN A Midsummer Night’s Dream: Complete Incidental Music James Judd, cond; Tom Mison, Adrian Grove, Emily Raymond, Anne-Marie Piazza, Gunnar Cauthery, Peter Kenny, David Timson (nar); Jenny Wollerman, Pepe Becker (sop); Varsity Voices; Nota Bene; New Zealand SO NAXOS 8.570794 (76:44)

At the age of only 17, Mendelssohn produced the Overture to A Midsummer Night’s Dream , op. 21. As amazing as this may be, it is Read more equally impressive that when he wrote the rest of the incidental music some decade-and-a-half later, he was able to recapture the spirit of his younger self so vividly, so exactly. Because this music is so often performed as a concert piece, though, we sometimes forget that it is indeed incidental music, written to accompany the spoken word. While there are ample recordings of just the music alone, there are fewer performances of the entire melodrama, and while many of these performances choose to use a single narrator to enact all of the roles (for example, a very fine performance by Seiji Ozawa and the Boston Symphony Orchestra with Dame Judi Dench narrating, on Deutsche Grammophon 439897), the one here has a handful of actors who take on anywhere from two to four roles each. There is something highly convincing about this approach, perhaps because it is performed in the manner that Mendelssohn intended it to be. And though the acting at first seemed to me overdramatic in certain instances, upon repeated listenings the comical aspects, especially, became more apparent. Musically speaking, there is a wonderful sense of youthful energy and sprightliness. James Judd doesn’t overindulge himself; rather he seems to let the music just be. The lighter textures that he keeps help delineate many of the interesting inner voices, and allow splashes of instrumental color that are inherent in Mendelssohn’s orchestration to pop out. All in all, I found myself listening over and over with newfound enthusiasm, and though I still would not be without my other favorite performances (the Ozawa previously mentioned, and Philippe Herreweghe’s stunning account on Harmonia Mundi), the performance here goes to the top of my list of those that include the text. The sound on the disc is perfectly suited to the lighter sounds of this music, only becoming more reverberant when the speakers enter. If one wanted only one recording of the piece, or wanted to add another performance to one’s collection, this is a prime candidate for either. Once again, Naxos produces a winner.

FANFARE: Scott Noriega
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Works on This Recording

Midsummer Night's Dream, Op. 61 by Felix Mendelssohn
Performer:  Gunnar Cauthery (Narrator), David Timson (Narrator), Tom Mison (Narrator),
Jenny Wollerman (Soprano), Pepe Becker (Soprano), Adrian Grove (Narrator),
Emily Raymond (Narrator), Peter Kenny (Narrator)
Conductor:  James Judd
Orchestra/Ensemble:  New Zealand Symphony Orchestra,  Nota Bene Choir,  Varsity Voices
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1842; Germany 

Customer Reviews

Average Customer Review:  1 Customer Review )
 Mendelssohn+Shakespeare=Delight July 22, 2012 By D. Scamehorn (Kentwood, MI) See All My Reviews "All is well done--nothing left undone. The actors are wonderful as well. I do wish though that Mendelssohn had written music to underscore the lovers' scenes too, to cover "all" the dramatic bases!" Report Abuse
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