Felix Mendelssohn

Biography

Born: Feb 3, 1809; Germany   Died: Nov 4, 1847; Germany   Period: Romantic
Far from the troubled, coarse libertine that has become an archetype of the Romantic composer, Felix Mendelssohn was something of an anomaly among his contemporaries. His own situation -- one largely of domestic tranquility and unhindered career fulfillment -- stands in stark contrast to the personal Sturm und Drang familiar to his peers. Mendelssohn was the only musical prodigy of the nineteenth century whose stature could rival that of Mozart. Read more Still, his parents resisted any entrepreneurial impulses and spared young Felix the strange, grueling lifestyle that was the lot of many child prodigies. He and his sister Fanny were given piano lessons, and he also studied violin, and both joined the Berlin Singakademie. Carl Friedrich Zelter, director of the Singakademie, became Mendelssohn's first composition instructor. Even in his youth, Mendelssohn moved with natural grace among the circles of influence in society, politics, literature, and art. Although he did spend some time at the University of Berlin, most of his education was received through friendships and travel. Mendelssohn's advocacy was the single most important factor in the revival of Bach's vocal music in the nineteenth century, most famously realized in the 1829 performance of the St. Matthew Passion at the Berlin Singakadamie. He did some touring as a pianist with Ignaz Moscheles, then took the position as music director in Düsseldorf from 1833 to 1835, which involved conducting both the choral and orchestral societies, preparing music for church services and later, becoming intendant for the new theatre. Tension with the theater owner caused him to resign some of his duties, and he began looking for a new post. In 1835, Mendelssohn became municipal music director in Leipzig, where he also would conduct the Gewandhaus Orchestra. He would raise the level of the still-thriving ensemble to a new standard of excellence. In 1838, he married Cécile Jeanrenaud, enjoying an idyllic marriage and family life that was quite unlike the stormy romantic entanglements which profoundly affected such composers as Berlioz, Chopin, and Liszt. He was in demand as a conductor, spent some time as royal composer and music director in Berlin, but remained committed to musical life in Leipzig. He was even able to establish a new conservatory in the city, which is still a well-respected institution.
Mendelssohn was a true Renaissance man. A talented visual artist, he was a refined connoisseur of literature and philosophy. While Mendelssohn's name rarely arises in discussions of the nineteenth century vanguard, the intrinsic importance of his music is undeniable. A distinct personality emerges at once in its exceptional formal sophistication, its singular melodic sense, and its colorful, masterful deployment of the instrumental forces at hand. A true apotheosis of life, Mendelssohn's music absolutely overflows with energy, ebullience, drama, and invention, as evidenced in his most enduring works: the incidental music to A Midsummer Night's Dream (1826-1842); the Hebrides Overture (1830); the Songs Without Words (1830-1845); the Symphonies No. 3 (1841-1842) and No. 4 (1833); and the Violin Concerto in E minor (1844). While the sunny disposition of so many of Mendelssohn's works has led some to view the composer as possessing great talent but little depth, his religious compositions -- particularly the great oratorios Paulus (1836) and Elijah (1846) -- reflect the complexity and deeply spiritual basis of his personality. Read less
Mendelssohn: Incidental Music for Antigone, Oedipus & Athalia
Release Date: 06/28/2011   Label: Brilliant Classics  
Catalog: 94216   Number of Discs: 3
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Mendelssohn: Symphonies No 3 & 4 / Sanderling, RPO
Release Date: 09/14/2010   Label: Royal Philharmonic Masterworks  
Catalog: 28340   Number of Discs: 1
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Mendelssohn: Violin Concerto, Midsummer Night's Dream / Chen, Glover
Release Date: 03/10/2009   Label: Royal Philharmonic Masterworks  
Catalog: 28230   Number of Discs: 1
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Mendelssohn: Songs Without Words / Ronan O'Hora
Release Date: 05/10/2011   Label: Royal Philharmonic Masterworks  
Catalog: 29060   Number of Discs: 1
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Mendelssohn: Symphony No 2
Release Date: 03/11/2014   Label: Harmonia Mundi  
Catalog: 902151   Number of Discs: 1
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Work: Wedding March

Browse 126-142 of 142 Available Recordings
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  • 126.
    Mad About Mad About
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 445900 Release Date: 09/20/1994   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Gioachino Rossini,  Johann Strauss Jr.,  Sergei Prokofiev,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky  ... 
    Performer:  Placido Domingo,  Sting,  David Jolley,  Leonard Bernstein  ... 
    Conductor:  Claudio Abbado,  Herbert von Karajan,  Neeme Järvi,  Carlo Maria Giulini  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Chamber Orchestra of Europe,  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra,  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra  ... 
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  • 127.
    Classical Music For People Who Hate Classical Music
    Label: Classical Heritage   Catalog: 1212 Release Date: 06/09/1994   Number of Discs: 4
    Composer:  Antonio Vivaldi,  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Johann Strauss Jr.,  Johann Strauss Sr.  ... 
    Performer:  Hans-Christoph Becker-Foss,  Anna Lelkes,  Philippe Entremont,  Joseph Brezina  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Salzburg Camerata Academica,  London Festival Orchestra,  Vienna Volksoper Orchestra  ... 
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  • 128.
    The Best Of Mendelssohn
    Label: Philips Duo   Catalog: 442302 Release Date: 05/10/1994   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Felix Mendelssohn
    Performer:  Werner Haas,  Salvatore Accardo
    Conductor:  Sir Colin Davis,  Charles Dutoit,  Wolfgang Sawallisch
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Boston Symphony Orchestra,  London Philharmonic Orchestra,  BBC Symphony Orchestra  ... 
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  • 129.
    Marches - The Greatest Hits
    Label: Reference Gold   Catalog: 3612 Release Date: 04/13/1994   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Johann Strauss Sr.,  Sir Edward Elgar,  Emmanuel Chabrier,  Henry Fillmore  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Military Band,  Houston Symphony Orchestra,  Denver Symphony Orchestra  ... 
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  • 130.
    101 Great Orchestral Classics Vol 6
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 551146 Release Date: 02/15/1994   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Felix Mendelssohn,  Robert Schumann,  Josef Strauss,  Antonio Vivaldi  ... 
    Performer:  Jénö Jandó,  Takako Nishizaki
    Conductor:  Anthony Bramall,  András Ligeti,  Ondrej Lenárd,  Stephen Gunzenhauser  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Slovak Philharmonic Orchestra,  Budapest Symphony Orchestra,  Czecho-Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra  ... 
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  • 131.
    Discover The Classics Volume 1
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 8550035-36 Release Date: 02/15/1994   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Jean-Philippe Rameau,  Johann Pachelbel,  Carl Orff,  Sergei Prokofiev  ... 
    Performer:  Gilbert Rowland,  Norbert Kraft,  Klára Körmendi,  Graciela Alperyn  ... 
    Conductor:  Richard Edlinger,  Stephen Gunzenhauser,  Andrew Mogrelia,  Nicholas Ward  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Capella Istropolitana,  Czecho-Slovak Radio Symphony Chorus,  Czecho-Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra  ... 
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  • 132.
    Wedding Music / Bertalan Hock
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 8550790 Release Date: 02/15/1994   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Strauss Jr.,  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Antonio Vivaldi,  Tomaso Albinoni  ... 
    Performer:  Bertalan Hock,  György Geiger
    Conductor:  István Bogár
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Budapest Strauss Ensemble
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  • 133.
    Bride's Guide To Wedding Music
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 64899 Release Date: 09/14/1993   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Charles-Marie Widor,  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Ralph Vaughan Williams,  Antonio Vivaldi  ... 
    Performer:  Jane Parker-Smith,  Christopher Parkening,  John Shirley-Quirk,  Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir David Willcocks,  Sir Neville Marriner,  Louis Auriacombe
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Taverner Players,  Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra,  English Chamber Orchestra  ... 
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  • 134.
    Music For Festive Occasions / Giangiulio, Riedo
    Label: Crystal   Catalog: 232 Release Date: 06/15/1993   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  John Stanley,  Bert Truax,  Claude Gervaise,  Dietrich Buxtehude  ... 
    Performer:  Paul Riedo,  Richard Giangiulio
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Dallas Trumpets
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  • 135.
    Ceremonial Music For Trumpet And Organ / Smedvig, Murray
    Label: Telarc   Catalog: 80341 Release Date: 04/27/1993   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Giovanni Battist Martini,  Felix Mendelssohn,  Alan Hovhaness,  Jacques de Saint-Luc  ... 
    Performer:  Michael Murray,  Rolf Smedvig,  Jeffrey Curnow,  Martin Hackleman  ... 
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  • 136.
    Majestic Marches / Hayman, Slovak Philharmonic Orchestra
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 8550370 Release Date: 01/14/1993   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Alfred Newman,  Felix Mendelssohn,  Sergei Prokofiev,  Léo Delibes  ... 
    Conductor:  Richard Hayman
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Slovak Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 137.
    Music For All Occasions
    Label: Rca   Catalog: 61488 Release Date: 01/12/1993   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Traditional,  Irving Berlin,  George Frideric Handel,  Adriaen Valerius  ... 
    Performer:  Alfred Krips,  James Galway
    Conductor:  Robert Shaw,  Arthur Fiedler,  James Galway,  Sir Thomas Beecham  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Robert Shaw Chorale,  Boston Pops,  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra  ... 
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  • 138.
    Mendelssohn: A Midsummer Night's Dream / Szell, Stokowski
    Label: Sony Classical Essential Classics   Catalog: 48264 Release Date: 11/17/1992   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Felix Mendelssohn,  Georges Bizet,  Bedrich Smetana
    Conductor:  George Szell,  Leopold Stokowski
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cleveland Orchestra,  National Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 139.
    Organ Classics / Michael Austin
    Label: Chandos Collect   Catalog: 6518 Release Date: 10/28/1992   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Charles-Marie Widor,  Franz Liszt,  Henry Walford Davies  ... 
    Performer:  Michael Austin
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  • 140.
    Organ Spectacular / Peter Hurford
    Label: London/Decca Jubilee   Catalog: 430710 Release Date: 10/11/1991   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Charles-Marie Widor,  Franz Liszt,  Léon Boëllmann  ... 
    Performer:  Peter Hurford
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  • 141.
    The Wedding Album / Anthony Newman
    Label: Sony Classical Masterworks   Catalog: 47273 Release Date: 05/24/1991   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  André Campra,  Franz Schubert,  Henry Purcell  ... 
    Performer:  Anthony Newman
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