Notes and Editorial Reviews
Gone are the days when Mendelssohn was patronized as a benignly smiling by-product of early romanticism, best served by his busy scherzos and a handful of charming Songs without Words. With baroque music as 'flavour of the age', it seems only natural that we should rediscover—indeed reappraise—all that is neat, winsome and uncluttered in Mendelssohn's music, its slender forms and high level of invention. Most modern performances of A Midsummer Night's Dream have tended to reflect this new-found appreciation, with Harnoncourt and Masur being particularly strong on filigree detail and a sense of wonder.
Philippe Herreweghe now joins them, underlining—much as he did in his excellent Elijah—the dramatic impact of Mendelssohn's
strategic brass writing. Eleven items are included out of a potential total of 14; the string tone is chaste and pure, the winds likewise, while the overall sound picture is both warm and luminous. The brass tell with particular effectiveness in the Overture and "Wedding March" (the latter also sporting prominent cymbals), while in "Ye Spotted Snakes" the modest but proficient chorus effect some charmingly antiphonal "gute Nachts". Herreweghe's choice of tempos is judicious, with a pert, unhurried "Scherzo", a "Nocturne" that doesn't linger and an "Intermezzo" that is well paced but lacks something in terms of pathos. A lean, dramatic and nicely shaped Hebrides Overture completes a disc which would, I suppose, have benefited from the inclusion of an extra item or two. The recordings are extremely well balanced... Herreweghe's lively offering is best recommended to those whose main priority is a sense of period orchestral texture.
-- Gramophone [4/1995]
Works on This Recording
Midsummer Night's Dream, Op. 61 by Felix Mendelssohn
Sandrine Piau (Soprano),
Delphine Collot (Soprano)
Ghent Collegium Vocale,
La Chapelle Royale Chorus Paris,
Written: 1842; Germany
Date of Recording: 02/1994
Length: 32 Minutes 54 Secs.
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