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Mendelssohn: Midsummer Night's Dream; Schubert: Rosamunde / Levine


Release Date: 07/09/2007 
Label:  Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog #: 415137   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Felix MendelssohnFranz Schubert
Performer:  Judith BlegenFlorence Quivar
Conductor:  James Levine
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Chicago Symphony OrchestraChicago Symphony Chorus
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 5 Mins. 

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This CD is reissued by ArkivMusic.

Notes and Editorial Reviews

The genius of the youthful Mendelssohn in composing the Overture to A Midsummer Night's Dream at the age of only 17 still amazes. The only real rival is Schubert who wrote Gretchen am Spinnrade at the same age. ''What about Mozart?'' some readers will protest. Well, he was just astonishing, for he developed far more than Mendelssohn ever did. Also, he had died at 35, just after he was the age when Mendelssohn completed the Midsummer Night's Dream music, so his work was done incomparably; but one must admit that the orchestra of his younger days hardly made the demands that the orchestration of this overture alone made on Mendelssohn.

Somebody said of the Overture that with it Mendelssohn ''brought fairyland into the
Read more orchestra'', and this new recording does just that, for the Chicago orchestra plays marvelously, their pp violins in particular playing with the merest rustle of sound that perfectly conjures up the faint rustle of fairy wings. It is a wide-ranging recording, and if you start the Overture at a low level it evokes the atmosphere perfectly—and the loud brass of the Wedding March will then be just right, brilliant and jubilant. Indeed, that is the great quality of Levine's performance, that it perfectly fits the mood of each piece as it occurs in the play. The singers in ''You spotted snakes'' and in the final scene are admirable, with particularly clear diction: and in the Intermezzo Levine, unlike Marriner on his Philips disc follows its appropriately stormy performance with the bit that leads to the scene of the rustics. It is admirable, in fact, as is, in its own way, the playing of the Rosamunde pieces. As the Mendelssohn takes more than a side [on LP], there is room only for the Overture, the B flat Entr'acte and the G major ballet music but each is splendidly played. An excellent record, in fact, in either form and one that takes a leading place in an already wide field.

-- Gramophone [7/1985]
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Works on This Recording

1.
Midsummer Night's Dream, Op. 61 by Felix Mendelssohn
Performer:  Judith Blegen (Soprano), Florence Quivar (Alto)
Conductor:  James Levine
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Chicago Symphony Orchestra,  Chicago Symphony Chorus
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1842; Germany 
2.
Rosamunde, D 797/Op. 26: no 1, Overture (D 644) by Franz Schubert
Performer:  Judith Blegen (Soprano), Florence Quivar (Alto)
Conductor:  James Levine
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Chicago Symphony Orchestra,  Chicago Symphony Chorus
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1823; Vienna, Austria 
3.
Rosamunde, D 797/Op. 26: no 7, Entr'acte no 3 in B flat major by Franz Schubert
Performer:  Judith Blegen (Soprano), Florence Quivar (Alto)
Conductor:  James Levine
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Chicago Symphony Orchestra,  Chicago Symphony Chorus
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1823; Vienna, Austria 
4.
Rosamunde, D 797/Op. 26: no 11, Ballet music no 2 in G major by Franz Schubert
Performer:  Judith Blegen (Soprano), Florence Quivar (Alto)
Conductor:  James Levine
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Chicago Symphony Orchestra,  Chicago Symphony Chorus
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1823; Vienna, Austria 

Featured Sound Samples

A Midsummer Night's Dream (Mendelssohn): Scherzo
A Midsummer Night's Dream (Mendelssohn): Nocturne
Rosamunde (Schubert): Entr'acte no 3

Sound Samples

A Midsummer Night's Dream, Op.61 Incidental Music: Overture (Allegro di molto)
A Midsummer Night's Dream, Op.61 Incidental Music: No.1 Scherzo
A Midsummer Night's Dream, Op.61 Incidental Music: No.3 Song with Chorus: "Bunte Schlangen, zweigezüngt"
A Midsummer Night's Dream, Op.61 Incidental Music: No.5 Intermezzo
A Midsummer Night's Dream, Op.61 Incidental Music: No.7 Notturno
A Midsummer Night's Dream, Op.61 Incidental Music: No.9 Wedding March
Finale: "Though this house give glimm'ring light" [A Midsummer Night's Dream, Op.61 Incidental Music]
Rosamunde, D.797 (Incidental music to Helmina von Chézy's Play): Overture (Die Zauberharfe, D.644)
Rosamunde, D.797 (Incidental music to Helmina von Chézy's Play): Entr'acte No. 3 - Andantino
Rosamunde, D.797 (Incidental music to Helmina von Chézy's Play): Ballet Music No. 2

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