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Mendelssohn: A Midsummer Night's Dream / Nelson


Release Date: 10/25/2010 
Label:  Virgin Classics   Catalog #: 28631   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Felix Mendelssohn
Performer:  Stephen WrightPhil EdmondsMichael HowarthNiel Ross,   ... 
Conductor:  John Nelson
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Paris Orchestral EnsembleJeune Choeur de ParisOxford and Cambridge Shakespeare Company
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 17 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

This is a very fine recording of Mendelssohn's more-or-less complete music to A Midsummer Night's Dream that also includes dialogue ably rendered by The Oxford and Cambridge Shakespeare Company. John Nelson has at his disposal a fine chamber ensemble such as might actually have played as a pit orchestra in a theater, and he gives a performance that doesn't treat the music as a virtuoso vehicle yet retains substantial atmosphere and color. So you won't find the most dazzling account of the scherzo here, though it is beautifully played and shaped. Nor does Nelson try to set a speed record in the scurrying violin music of the overture--but the purity of the opening wind chords is a pleasure to behold.


Indeed, Nelson
Read more doesn't put a foot wrong. The Nocturne comes across as eloquently poetic, while the Wedding March is quite grand. We even get a bonus in the form of a fine account of the Ruy Blas Overture, tossed in for good measure. There is a fundamental issue here, though, of just how many times you will want to repeat the experience of hearing the melodramas with spoken text over music, and that can only be a matter of individual taste. Nimbus released a similar project at the dawn of the CD era that, if memory serves, was even more complete regarding the Shakespearean angle, and was spread over two discs. Still, if you want a sense of how Mendelssohn's music actually works in a performance of the play, this release fills the bill nicely and offers plenty of musical rewards as well.
--David Hurwitz, ClassicsToday.com [reviewing the original release] Read less

Works on This Recording

1.
Midsummer Night's Dream, Op. 61 by Felix Mendelssohn
Performer:  Stephen Wright (Voice), Phil Edmonds (Voice), Michael Howarth (Voice),
Niel Ross (Voice), John Green (Voice), Henry Murray (Voice),
Joyce DiDonato (Mezzo Soprano), Rebecca Evans (Soprano), Jonathan James-Moore (Voice)
Conductor:  John Nelson
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Paris Orchestral Ensemble,  Jeune Choeur de Paris,  Oxford and Cambridge Shakespeare Company
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1842; Germany 
Language: English 
2.
Midsummer Night's Dream Overture, in E major Op. 21 by Felix Mendelssohn
Conductor:  John Nelson
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Paris Orchestral Ensemble
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1826; Germany 
3.
Ruy Blas Overture, Op. 95 by Felix Mendelssohn
Conductor:  John Nelson
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Paris Orchestral Ensemble
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1839; Germany 

Sound Samples

A Midsummer Night's Dream Op.61 (1843): Overture (1826): Allegro di molto
A Midsummer Night's Dream Op.61 (1843): Scherzo: Allegro vivace
A Midsummer Night's Dream Op.61 (1843): ACT II, Scene 1: How now spirit - L'istesso tempo - Allegro vivace - Ill met by moonlight
A Midsummer Night's Dream Op.61 (1843): ACT 2, Scene 2: Come, now a roundel - Song with chorus: You spotted snake - Allegro ma non troppo
A Midsummer Night's Dream Op.61 (1843): What thou seest - Andante
A Midsummer Night's Dream Op.61 (1843): Intermezzo : Allegro appassionato - Allegro molto comodo
A Midsummer Night's Dream Op.61 (1843): ACT III, Scene I: Come, sit down - Allegro - What hempen home-spuns
A Midsummer Night's Dream Op.61 (1843): ACT III, Scene 2: I wonder if Titania be awaked
A Midsummer Night's Dream Op.61 (1843): Nocturne : Con moto tranquillo
A Midsummer Night's Dream Op.61 (1843): ACT IV, Scene I: Welcome good Robin
A Midsummer Night's Dream Op.61 (1843): Wedding March
A Midsummer Night's Dream Op.61 (1843): ACT V, Scene I: Come now, what masques - Allegro comodo; Marcia funebre : Andante c
A Midsummer Night's Dream Op.61 (1843): A Dance of Clowns : Allegro di molto - The iron tounge of midnight - Allegro vivace come prima
A Midsummer Night's Dream Op.61 (1843): Now the hungry lion roars
A Midsummer Night's Dream Op.61 (1843): Finale : Allegro di molto - Through the house
Ruy Blas Overture Op. 95

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