Notes and Editorial Reviews
Symphonies: No. 3,
Stefan Sanderling, cond; Royal PO
ROYAL PHILHARMONIC RPM 28340 (68:36)
These are Mendelssohn’s most familiar symphonies, and deservedly so. The “Italian” was completed about nine years before the “Scottish,” their numbering notwithstanding. Familiar or not, just a first listening to these performances dispenses with any subconscious feelings of familiarity’s
wayward offspring, boredom (let alone contempt). Detail, articulation, brisk tempos, excitement, balance, phrasing, and tonal beauty make this Sanderling/Royal Philharmonic disc a unique contribution to the recorded literature. Exposition repeats are observed in both first movements, important for the “Scottish” and musically necessary for the “Italian.” The “Italian” is suffused with Sanderling’s good judgment: a bouncy first movement, an Andante con moto second movement that does not dawdle in sentimentality falsely linked to its A-Minor key but moves
per the composer, a quiet and lilting third movement, and a final wild Saltarello. The “Scottish” movements are played without pause, per the composer, and again with Sanderling’s good judgment clearly in place. Especially notable is the final movement’s A-Major coda which sounds properly majestic (
Allegro maestoso assai
) rather than inappropriately, and too easily, pompous.
The genetic component of musical ability, and perhaps of conducting ability, is apparent in the Sanderling family. Forty-six-year-old conductor Stefan is the son of noted conductor Kurt and double-bassist Barbara, and the half-brother of noted conductor Thomas.
Just a first listening to these performances made me want to hear them again, and several times again. This CD will probably make my next Want List. Rather than travel to Rome or Edinburgh, get this disc!
FANFARE: Burton Rothleder
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