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: Symphonies 4 & 5, Hebrides / Gardner
Release Date: 02/25/2014   Label: Chandos  
Catalog: 5132   Number of Discs: 1
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Mendelssohn: Midsummer Night's Dream, Piano Concertos / Chailly
Release Date: 06/17/2014   Label: Decca  
Catalog: 002082502   Number of Discs: 1
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Handel, Beethoven, Mendelssohn, Brittten / Marriner
Release Date: 03/27/2012   Label: Ica Classics  
Catalog: 5064   Number of Discs: 1
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Mendelssohn: The Complete Solo Piano Music, Vol. 2 / Howard Shelley
Release Date: 07/08/2014   Label: Hyperion  
Catalog: 68059   Number of Discs: 1
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Mendelssohn: 5 Symphonies, 7 Overtures / Abbado, London So
Release Date: 05/14/2002   Label: Deutsche Grammophon  
Catalog: 471467   Number of Discs: 4
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Work: Wedding March

Browse 26-50 of 145 Available Recordings
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  • 26.
    Marchenstunde: Fairytale Hours
    Label: Berlin Classics   Catalog: 300088 Release Date: 09/14/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Engelbert Humperdinck,  Sergei Prokofiev,  Felix Mendelssohn,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky  ... 
    Performer:  Walter Olbertz,  Peter Schreier,  Magdalena Falewicz
    Conductor:  Otmar Suitner,  Günther Herbig,  Kurt Masur,  Heinz Rögner
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  • 27.
    Essential Wedding
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 27937 Release Date: 08/24/2010   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Claude Debussy,  Dmitri Shostakovich,  Camille Saint-Saëns,  George Frideric Handel  ... 
    Performer:  Markus Klinko,  Piers Lane,  Tasmin Little,  Frederic Bayco  ... 
    Conductor:  Reginald Kilbey,  Stephen Cleobury,  Sir David Willcocks,  Kenneth Montgomery  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Nash Ensemble,  Camerata Lysy,  Liverpool Cathedral & Brass Ensemble  ... 
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  • 28.
    50 Classical Music Favorites
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 001388102 Release Date: 06/08/2010   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Luigi Boccherini,  Ludwig van Beethoven  ... 
    Performer:  Heinz Holliger,  Italo Colandrea,  Antonio Perez,  Michael Copley  ... 
    Conductor:  Frans Brüggen,  Sir Colin Davis,  Kurt Masur,  Silvio Varviso  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  I Musici
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  • 29.
    Mendelssohn: Overtures, Midsummer Night's Dream, Symphony No 4; Schubert / Ansermet
    Label: Eloquence   Catalog: 4800382 Release Date: 11/17/2009   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Franz Schubert,  Felix Mendelssohn
    Conductor:  Ernest Ansermet
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Suisse Romande Orchestra
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  • 30.
    Live From Dresden - Wedding At The Opera / Andre Rieu
    Label: Denon Records   Catalog: 17791 Release Date: 11/03/2009   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Strauss Jr.,  Franz Lehár,  Felix Mendelssohn,  Johann Paul A. Martini  ... 
    Performer:  André Rieu
    Conductor:  André Rieu
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Johann Strauss Orchestra
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  • 31.
    Best Wedding 100
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 64262 Release Date: 06/16/2009   Number of Discs: 6
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  George Frideric Handel,  Claude Debussy,  Camille Saint-Saëns  ... 
    Performer:  Markus Klinko,  Ian Brown,  Christopher van Kampen,  Susan Tomes  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir Neville Marriner,  Reginald Kilbey,  Sir John Barbirolli,  Stephen Cleobury  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Nash Ensemble,  Vienna String Sextet Members,  Ensemble Berlin  ... 
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  • 32.
    The Original Piano Roll Recordings - Brahms, Mendelssohn / Artur Rubinstein, Myra Hess, Vladimir De Pachmann
    Label: Dal Segno   Catalog: 36 Release Date: 05/26/2009   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johannes Brahms,  Felix Mendelssohn
    Performer:  Myra Hess,  Artur Rubinstein,  Vladimir de Pachmann
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  • 33.
    Just Classics 2: The Gold Collection
    Label: Abc Classics   Catalog: 854485 Release Date: 05/19/2009   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Felix Mendelssohn,  Antonín Dvorák,  Ottorino Respighi,  Simon Jeffes  ... 
    Performer:  Fiona Campbell,  Sara Macliver
    Conductor:  Benjamin Northey
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  • 34.
    Spectacular Marches / Ormandy, Philadelphia Orchestra
    Label: Rca   Catalog: 38129 Release Date: 05/08/2009   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  John Philip Sousa,  Traditional,  George Frideric Handel,  Johann Strauss Sr.  ... 
    Conductor:  Eugene Ormandy
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philadelphia Orchestra
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  • 35.
    Mendelssohn: Violin Concerto, Midsummer Night's Dream / Chen, Glover
    Label: Royal Philharmonic Masterworks   Catalog: 28230 Release Date: 03/10/2009   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Felix Mendelssohn
    Performer:  Leland Chen
    Conductor:  Jane Glover
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 36.
    The Mendelssohn Experience
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 517453 Release Date: 01/27/2009   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Felix Mendelssohn
    Performer:  Cyprien Katsaris,  Barbara Bonney,  Geoffrey Parsons,  Maxim Vengerov  ... 
    Conductor:  Kurt Masur,  Raymond Leppard,  Armin Jordan,  Edward Higginbottom
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra,  English Chamber Orchestra,  Éder String Quartet  ... 
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  • 37.
    The Most Relaxing Classical Music In The Universe - Music For Weddings
    Label: Denon Records   Catalog: 17719 Release Date: 01/13/2009   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Antonio Vivaldi,  Johann Sebastian Bach,  George Frideric Handel,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart  ... 
    Performer:  Otto Büchner,  Peter Schmalfuss,  Renate Modron,  Peter Jancovic  ... 
    Conductor:  Alberto Lizzio,  Hanspeter Gmür,  Oliver Dohnányi,  Bohdan Warchal  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Musici di San Marco,  Munich Bach Soloists,  Slovak Philharmonic Chamber Orchestra  ... 
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  • 38.
    Mendelssohn: Midsummer Night's Dream, Etc / Dutoit, Montreal
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 417541 Release Date: 12/16/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Felix Mendelssohn
    Conductor:  Charles Dutoit
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Montreal Symphony Orchestra
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  • 39.
    Popular Orchestral Classics / Neville Marriner
    Label: Philips Touch Of Classics   Catalog: 420814 Release Date: 09/16/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Felix Mendelssohn,  Claude Debussy  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir Neville Marriner
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Dresden Staatskapelle,  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields Chamber Ens.,  Philharmonia Orchestra  ... 
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  • 40.
    World Of Wedding Music
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 436402 Release Date: 08/26/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Felix Mendelssohn,  George Frideric Handel,  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Charles-Marie Widor  ... 
    Performer:  Peter Hurford,  Harry Dilley,  Dame Joan Sutherland,  Peter White  ... 
    Conductor:  Francesco Molinari-Pradelli,  George Guest,  Herbert von Karajan,  Stephen Cleobury  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Opera House Covent Garden Orchestra,  Cambridge St. John's College Choir,  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra  ... 
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  • 41.
    Leipzig Classics
    Label: Berlin Classics   Catalog: 149252 Release Date: 07/08/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Robert Schumann,  Edvard Grieg,  Felix Mendelssohn,  Richard Wagner  ... 
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  • 42.
    40 Most Beautiful Summer Classics - Mozart, Vivaldi, Debussy, Etc
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 511596 Release Date: 06/24/2008   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Antonio Vivaldi,  Alexander Glazunov,  Manuel de Falla,  Claude Debussy  ... 
    Performer:  Jean-François Heisser,  Howard Cook,  Helen Huang,  Malcolm Martineau  ... 
    Conductor:  Claudio Scimone,  José Serebrier,  Jesús Lopez-Cobos,  Alain Lombard  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  I Solisti Veneti,  Royal Scottish National Orchestra,  Lausanne Chamber Orchestra  ... 
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  • 43.
    Beautiful Wedding - Ceremony - Handel, Bach, Vivaldi, Etc / Ozawa, Pearlman, Levi, Empire Brass Et Al
    Label: Telarc   Catalog: 80717 Release Date: 05/20/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel,  Ottorino Respighi,  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Ludwig van Beethoven  ... 
    Performer:  John Sauer,  Kurt Wortman,  Rick Tiven,  Joel Brown  ... 
    Conductor:  Martin Pearlman,  Jesús Lopez-Cobos,  Frederick Fennell,  Yoel Levi  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Boston Baroque,  Lausanne Chamber Orchestra,  Empire Brass  ... 
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  • 44.
    Mendelssohn: Meisterwerke
    Label: Delta Ent.   Catalog: 772847 Release Date: 04/08/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Felix Mendelssohn
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  • 45.
    Power Of Classics: Handel, Bach, Mozart, Bizet, Rossini
    Label: Bell'art   Catalog: 768066 Release Date: 03/25/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel,  Felix Mendelssohn,  Georges Bizet,  Johannes Brahms  ... 
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  • 46.
    Serenade: A Classical Wedding Collection
    Label: T Carter   Catalog: 3018128 Release Date: 03/18/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Franz Schubert,  Johann Pachelbel,  Traditional,  Richard Wagner  ... 
    Performer:  David Francis,  Andrea Zonn,  Catherine Marx
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  • 47.
    Mendelssohn: Symphony No 3, Hebrides / Ormandy, Philadelphia Orchestra
    Label: Rca Victor Red Seal   Catalog: 38112 Release Date: 02/06/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Felix Mendelssohn
    Conductor:  Eugene Ormandy
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philadelphia Orchestra
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  • 48.
    Peter Hurford - Organ Favorites
    Label: London/Decca Jubilee   Catalog: 425013 Release Date: 01/29/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Charles-Marie Widor,  Henry Purcell,  Herbert Murrill  ... 
    Performer:  Peter Hurford
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  • 49.
    Best Romantic Classics 100
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 15490 Release Date: 01/15/2008   Number of Discs: 6
    Composer:  Isaac Albeniz,  Lucio Quarantotto,  Pablo de Sarasate,  Antonio Vivaldi  ... 
    Performer:  Julian Byzantine,  Amy Nuttall,  Anne-Sophie Mutter,  Sharon Isbin  ... 
    Conductor:  Julian Kershaw,  Seiji Ozawa,  Lawrence Foster,  Sir John Barbirolli  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  French National Orchestra,  Lausanne Chamber Orchestra,  Rome Opera House Orchestra  ... 
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  • 50.
    Instant Classics - Musiques De Mariage
    Label: Naive   Catalog: 5107 Release Date: 11/20/2007   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Felix Mendelssohn,  Giovanni Battista Pergolesi,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Gabriel Fauré  ... 
    Performer:  Paul Badura-Skoda,  Anne Gastinel
    Conductor:  Emmanuel Krivine,  Jean-Claude Malgoire,  Christophe Coin
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Toulouse National Chamber Orchestra,  Limoges Baroque Ensemble,  La Grande Ecurie et la Chambre du Roy
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