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Mendelssohn: Complete String Symphonies / Hofstetter, Stuttgarter Kammerorchester

Mendelssohn / Stuttgarter Kammerorchester
Release Date: 01/26/2010 
Label:  Orfeo   Catalog #: 763093  
Composer:  Felix Mendelssohn
Conductor:  Michael Hofstetter
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Stuttgart Chamber Orchestra
Number of Discs: 3 
Recorded in: Stereo 
In Stock: Usually ships in 24 hours.  

Notes and Editorial Reviews



MENDELSSOHN String Symphonies Michael Hofstetter, cond; Stuttgart CO ORFEO C 763093 D (3 CDs: 221:27)


The well-publicized childhood musical genius of Mozart and Schubert was surpassed by that of Mendelssohn, as witnessed by the 13 string symphonies he completed by age 15. The third of these string symphonies already shows mastery, by this mere child, of the art of contrapuntal writing. This and other signs of precocious musical genius increased as the composer matured through each of the succeeding 10 string Read more symphonies. The first six are imitative of Schubert and Beethoven, but in the Seventh String Symphony in D Minor, Mendelssohn begins to express his individuality. From the Ninth on, Mendelssohn moves forward at a galloping pace, with glorious fugal movements and fugal passages proliferating. The 11th String Symphony, in F Major/F Minor, is my favorite. Mendelssohn augments the second movement, marked Commodo (Schweizerlied) , with percussion at its conclusion. The 13th String Symphony is incomplete, consisting of only a single movement that shows further mastery of contrapuntal writing.


Michael Hofstetter, the principal conductor of the renowned Stuttgart Chamber Orchestra and follower of a line of succession that started with the orchestra’s founder, Karl Münchinger, gives us a commendable set of these early Mendelssohn masterpieces. But the playing is relatively subdued and the conducting is characterized by too weak a beat for my taste. Other listeners may prefer this approach, which uses a small chamber orchestra, to my favored version by Kurt Masur and the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra with its fuller string complement. In terms of the era, Hofstetter’s approach is Baroque in character—small ensemble with restrained vibrato—whereas Masur’s is contemporary and closer to late 19th century. The latter seems to me to be more in line with what Mendelssohn meant to convey, closer to Beethoven than to Bach, but who really knows? In the first movement of the 11th Symphony, Hofstetter fails to take the very important exposition repeat, whereas Masur wisely observes it. This is the only textual difference that I found.


This disc is a very good Baroque-style alternative to Masur’s exceptionally fine modern performances. On that basis, it is recommended.


FANFARE: Burton Rothleder
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Works on This Recording

1.
Symphony for Strings no 1 in C major by Felix Mendelssohn
Conductor:  Michael Hofstetter
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Stuttgart Chamber Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1821; Germany 
2.
Symphony for Strings no 2 in D major by Felix Mendelssohn
Conductor:  Michael Hofstetter
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Stuttgart Chamber Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1821; Germany 
3.
Symphony for Strings no 3 in E minor by Felix Mendelssohn
Conductor:  Michael Hofstetter
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Stuttgart Chamber Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1821; Germany 
4.
Symphony for Strings no 4 in C minor by Felix Mendelssohn
Conductor:  Michael Hofstetter
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Stuttgart Chamber Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1821; Germany 
5.
Symphony for Strings no 5 in B flat major by Felix Mendelssohn
Conductor:  Michael Hofstetter
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Stuttgart Chamber Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1821; Germany 
6.
Symphony for Strings no 6 in E flat major by Felix Mendelssohn
Conductor:  Michael Hofstetter
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Stuttgart Chamber Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1821; Germany 
7.
Symphony for Strings no 7 in D minor by Felix Mendelssohn
Conductor:  Michael Hofstetter
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Stuttgart Chamber Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: ?1821-22; Germany 
8.
Symphony for Strings no 8 in D major by Felix Mendelssohn
Conductor:  Michael Hofstetter
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Stuttgart Chamber Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1822; Germany 
9.
Symphony for Strings no 9 in C major by Felix Mendelssohn
Conductor:  Michael Hofstetter
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Stuttgart Chamber Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1823; Germany 
10.
Symphony for Strings no 10 in B minor by Felix Mendelssohn
Conductor:  Michael Hofstetter
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Stuttgart Chamber Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1823; Germany 
11.
Symphony for Strings no 11 in F major by Felix Mendelssohn
Conductor:  Michael Hofstetter
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Stuttgart Chamber Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1823; Germany 
12.
Symphony for Strings no 12 in G minor by Felix Mendelssohn
Conductor:  Michael Hofstetter
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Stuttgart Chamber Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1823; Germany 
13.
Symphony for Strings no 13 in C minor "Symphoniesatz" by Felix Mendelssohn
Conductor:  Michael Hofstetter
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Stuttgart Chamber Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1823; Germany 

Customer Reviews

Average Customer Review:  1 Customer Review )
 Enjoyable in every respect August 24, 2012 By Michael R. (Huntington Woods, MI) See All My Reviews "I have been waiting for a winning performance of the complete string symphonies and the waiting is over. Hofstetter and his Stuttgart band deliver performances that leave nothing to be desired. The genius of the youthful Mendesssohn is presented with thoughtful and dedicated playing. Everything works and fits together so that my attention was held from beginning to end. I was impressed that these performances reveal the classical roots of the music while offering the emotional warmth of the romantic movement. Unlike Roy Goodman's overly romantic readings played by The Hanover Band on RCA Hostetter gives us the charm and grace suggested by Mendelssohn in his own words in describing these works. The mood and structure of these symphonies are held throughout so that there isn't any inconsistency to disappoint the listener. Orfeo delivers these wonderful readings in lifelike sound free of the distracting reverberation that nags the Goodman recordings. The instruments of the orchestra are heard with detail and a crispness completely lacking in the Goodman-RCA set. The Orpheus Chamber Orchestra has a fine disc of symphonies 8,9, and 10, and Johannes Goritzki with The Deutsche Kammerakamemie made a wonderful recording of numbers 9 and 11 on Claves, but each orchestra unfortunately gives us only part of Mendelssohn's work. Hofstetter gives us the entire set with as much or more beauty in one well organized package. Nothing is missing from Hofstetter unless you crave the Goodman bottom heavy reading recorded by RCA done in what sounds like a train station." Report Abuse
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