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Mendelssohn: Lieder, Choral Works / Rademann, Rias Kammerchor


Release Date: 11/11/2008 
Label:  Harmonia Mundi   Catalog #: 901992   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Felix Mendelssohn
Conductor:  Hans-Christoph Rademann
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin RIAS Chamber Chorus
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 7 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews


This is an easy recommendation. With music this ingratiating and performances so absolutely idiomatic and interpretively "right", you simply can't go wrong. The choir, which has already released first-rate recordings of 19th-century secular German choral music with works by Schubert and Brahms--not to mention a wonderful disc of Mendelssohn sacred motets and psalms (all on Harmonia Mundi)--excels here with the kind of personality and tasteful exuberance that these perfect little gems require. Yes, some excessively prim and humorless critics will claim that these characterful, folklike pieces are somehow inferior and lack substance--and no, these pieces certainly are not Bach motets; but
Read more neither are they negligible novelties.

Rather, these 28 choral songs are very smartly written, eminently singable, and surprisingly clever and unaffected in their depictions of words and subjects (mostly optimistic, and drawn from poets no less revered than Heine, Goethe, Eichendorff, and Uhland). In fact, Mendelssohn imagined these pieces as "anti-formal" celebrations of melody and text, and of the pure, unencumbered joy of music-making in the natural, open-air world of the forest or on the water. Their lack of technical complexity (which I believe suits Mendelssohn's choral composition sensibility far better than his overblown oratorio writing!) places more emphasis and importance on the voices--their tone quality, blend and balance, phrasing, and expressive nuances. And in these things, Hans-Christoph Rademann and his RIAS Kammerchor are unsurpassed.

While all of the voices are ideally matched and perfectly integrated into a lovely ensemble sound (not to mention the absolute precision of phrasing and articulation of rhythms--the challenging Jagdlied, for example!), the sopranos must be cited for such consistently gorgeous, uniformly pure quality of tone, unfailingly accurate in difficult leaps (Die Waldvögelein) and never overemphasizing a line or high-register pitch. This is first-class singing, captured in equally first-rate sound (from Berlin's Jesus-Christus-Kirche)--and if you want to fall in love with Mendelssohn's choral writing, this is where it will happen. Highly recommended!

--David Vernier, ClassicsToday.com
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Works on This Recording

1.
Im Freien zu singen, Op. 41 by Felix Mendelssohn
Conductor:  Hans-Christoph Rademann
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin RIAS Chamber Chorus
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1834-1838; Germany 
Length: 11 Minutes 23 Secs. 
2.
Der erste Frühlingstag, Op. 48 by Felix Mendelssohn
Conductor:  Hans-Christoph Rademann
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin RIAS Chamber Chorus
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1839; Germany 
Length: 12 Minutes 15 Secs. 
3.
Im Grünen, Op. 59: no 1, Im Grünen by Felix Mendelssohn
Conductor:  Hans-Christoph Rademann
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin RIAS Chamber Chorus
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1837; Germany 
Length: 1 Minutes 49 Secs. 
4.
Im Grünen, Op. 59: no 2, Frühzeitiger Frühling by Felix Mendelssohn
Conductor:  Hans-Christoph Rademann
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin RIAS Chamber Chorus
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1843; Germany 
Length: 3 Minutes 5 Secs. 
5.
O Täler weit, o Höhen by Felix Mendelssohn
Conductor:  Hans-Christoph Rademann
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin RIAS Chamber Chorus
Period: Romantic 
Written: Germany 
Length: 3 Minutes 25 Secs. 
6.
Im Grünen, Op. 59: no 4, Die Nachtigall by Felix Mendelssohn
Conductor:  Hans-Christoph Rademann
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin RIAS Chamber Chorus
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1843; Germany 
Length: 1 Minutes 57 Secs. 
7.
Im Grünen, Op. 59: no 5, Ruhetal by Felix Mendelssohn
Conductor:  Hans-Christoph Rademann
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin RIAS Chamber Chorus
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1843; Germany 
Length: 2 Minutes 34 Secs. 
8.
Im Grünen, Op. 59: no 6, Jagdlied by Felix Mendelssohn
Conductor:  Hans-Christoph Rademann
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin RIAS Chamber Chorus
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1843; Germany 
Length: 3 Minutes 3 Secs. 
9.
Choruses (6), Op. 88 by Felix Mendelssohn
Conductor:  Hans-Christoph Rademann
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin RIAS Chamber Chorus
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1839-1844; Germany 
Length: 14 Minutes 29 Secs. 
10.
Choruses (4), Op. 100 by Felix Mendelssohn
Conductor:  Hans-Christoph Rademann
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin RIAS Chamber Chorus
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1839-1844; Germany 
Length: 8 Minutes 55 Secs. 

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