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: Scottish Symphony

Browse 1-25 of 112 Available Recordings
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  • 1.
    Mendelssohn: Symphonies 1 & 3 / De Vriend, Netherlands Symphony Orchestra
    Label: Challenge   Catalog: 72641 Release Date: 09/09/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Felix Mendelssohn
    Conductor:  Jan Willem de Vriend
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Netherlands Symphony Orchestra
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  • 2.
    100 Great Symphonies
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 002054602 Release Date: 06/03/2014   Number of Discs: 56
    Composer:  Giovanni Battista Sammartini,  Johann Wenzel Stamitz,  Carl Ditters von Dittersdorf,  Johann Christian Bach  ... 
    Performer:  Dame Gwyneth Jones,  Hanna Schwarz,  René Kollo,  Kurt Moll  ... 
    Conductor:  Kevin Mallon,  Christopher Hogwood,  Thomas Füri,  Sir Neville Marriner  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Aradia Ensemble,  Academy of Ancient Music,  Camerata Bern  ... 
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  • 3.
    The Argo Years / Neville Marriner, Academy Of St Martin In The Fields [28-CD Set]
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 002081902 Release Date: 06/03/2014   Number of Discs: 28
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel,  Arcangelo Corelli,  Giuseppe Torelli,  Pietro Antonio Locatelli  ... 
    Performer:  Gwynne Howell,  Philip Langridge,  Anna Reynolds,  Elly Ameling  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir Neville Marriner
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields,  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields Chorus,  Philip Jones Brass Ensemble
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  • 4.
    Mendelssohn: Symphonies Nos. 1 & 3 / Orozco-estrada, Niederosterreich Tonkunstler Orchestra
    Label: Oehms   Catalog: 898 Release Date: 05/27/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Felix Mendelssohn
    Conductor:  Andres Orozco-Estrada
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Lower Austrian Tonkünstler Orchestra
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  • 5.
    Herbert Blomstedt - The San Francisco Years
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 002032302 Release Date: 04/01/2014   Number of Discs: 15
    Composer:  Béla Bartók,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Franz Berwald,  Johannes Brahms  ... 
    Performer:  Jard Van Nes,  Elisabeth Norberg-Schulz,  Wolfgang Holzmair,  Wendy Hoffman  ... 
    Conductor:  Herbert Blomstedt
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  San Francisco Symphony Orchestra,  San Francisco Symphony Chorus,  San Francisco Girls Chorus  ... 
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  • 6.
    Mendelssohn: Symphony No 3, Violin Concerto / Swensen, Scottish Co
    Label: Linn Records   Catalog: 216 Release Date: 02/25/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Felix Mendelssohn
    Performer:  Joseph Swensen
    Conductor:  Joseph Swensen
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Scottish Chamber Orchestra
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  • 7.
    Roger Norrington - The Romantics
    Label: Hänssler Classic   Catalog: 93313 Release Date: 01/28/2014   Number of Discs: 10
    Composer:  Franz Schubert,  Hector Berlioz,  Felix Mendelssohn,  Anton Bruckner  ... 
    Performer:  Anu Komsi
    Conductor:  Roger Norrington
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Stuttgart Radio Symphony Orchestra,  Southwest German Radio Symphony Orchestra,  Stuttgart Radio Orchestra
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  • 8.
    Decca Sound - The Analogue Years
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 001934702 Release Date: 11/19/2013   Number of Discs: 54
    Composer:  Camille Saint-Saëns,  Anton Bruckner,  Arnold Schoenberg,  Giuseppe Verdi  ... 
    Performer:  Pascal Rogé,  Dame Joan Sutherland,  Marilyn Horne,  Luciano Pavarotti  ... 
    Conductor:  Charles Dutoit,  Sir Georg Solti,  Bernard Haitink,  Horst Stein  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra,  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra,  Chicago Symphony Orchestra  ... 
    On sale! $169.98
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  • 9.
    Karajan - 1970s
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 001873702 Release Date: 09/03/2013   Number of Discs: 82
    Composer:  Arcangelo Corelli,  Francesco Manfredini,  Pietro Antonio Locatelli,  Giuseppe Torelli  ... 
    Performer:  Thomas Brandis,  Michel Schwalbé,  Karlheinz Zöller,  Edith Mathis  ... 
    Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan,  Hans Priem Bergrath
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra,  Vienna Singverein,  Berlin Deutsche Oper Chorus  ... 
    CD: $313.99
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  • 10.
    Sir Colin Davis - Staatskapelle Dresden
    Label: Profil   Catalog: 13032 Release Date: 07/30/2013   Number of Discs: 6
    Composer:  Sir Edward Elgar,  Hector Berlioz,  Felix Mendelssohn,  Jean Sibelius  ... 
    Performer:  Keith Ikaia-Purdy,  Ute Selbig
    Conductor:  Sir Colin Davis
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Dresden Staatskapelle,  Dresden Singakademie,  Dresden State Opera Chorus
    CD: $78.99
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  • 11.
    The Magic Mountain - Verbier Festival 20th Anniversary Edition
    Label: Euroarts   Catalog: 3079078 Release Date: 07/30/2013   Number of Discs: 5
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Béla Bartók,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Georges Bizet  ... 
    Performer:  Renaud Capuçon,  Martha Argerich,  Martin Helmchen,  Malcolm Martineau  ... 
    Conductor:  Kurt Masur,  Esa-Pekka Salonen,  Gábor Takács-Nagy
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Verbier Festival Orchestra,  UBS Verbier Festival Orchestra,  Verbier Festival Chamber Orchestra
    DVD: $78.99
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  • 12.
    Claudio Abbado - The Symphony Edition [41-CD Set]
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 001846502 Release Date: 07/02/2013   Number of Discs: 41
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Franz Joseph Haydn,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Franz Schubert  ... 
    Performer:  Violeta Urmana,  Thomas Moser,  Thomas Quasthoff,  Karita Mattila  ... 
    Conductor:  Claudio Abbado
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestra Mozart,  Chamber Orchestra of Europe,  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $129.99
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  • 13.
    Claudio Abbado - The Decca Years / [7-CD Set]
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 001847802 Release Date: 06/18/2013   Number of Discs: 7
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Johannes Brahms,  Anton Bruckner,  Felix Mendelssohn  ... 
    Performer:  James King,  Leslie Fyson,  Nicolai Ghiaurov
    Conductor:  Claudio Abbado
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra,  New Philharmonia Orchestra,  Ambrosian Chorus  ... 
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  • 14.
    The Art Of Wolfgang Sawallisch
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 4807707 Release Date: 05/28/2013   Number of Discs: 14
    Composer:  Johannes Brahms,  Franz Joseph Haydn,  Felix Mendelssohn,  Franz Schubert
    Performer:  Wilma Lipp,  Franz Crass,  Aafje Heynis,  Elly Ameling  ... 
    Conductor:  Wolfgang Sawallisch,  Raymond Leppard
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Symphony Orchestra,  Vienna Singverein,  Leipzig Radio Chorus  ... 
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  • 15.
    Mendelssohn: The Five Symphonies / Lang-lessing, Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra
    Label: Abc Classics   Catalog: 4763623 Release Date: 02/05/2013   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Felix Mendelssohn
    Conductor:  Sebastian Lang-Lessing
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra,  Sydney Philharmonia Chamber Singers
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  • 16.
    Romantic Symphonies & Overtures / Otto Klemperer
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 404309 Release Date: 11/06/2012   Number of Discs: 10
    Composer:  Franz Schubert,  Antonín Dvorák,  Felix Mendelssohn,  Robert Schumann  ... 
    Performer:  Dame Janet Baker,  Heather Harper
    Conductor:  Otto Klemperer
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra,  Philharmonia Chorus,  New Philharmonia Orchestra
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  • 17.
    Mendelssohn: Complete Symphonies, String Symphonies, Concertos / Markiz, Litton, Amsterdam Sinfonietta , Bergen Philharmonic
    Label: Bis   Catalog: 2002 Release Date: 10/30/2012   Number of Discs: 11
    Composer:  Felix Mendelssohn
    Performer:  Jennifer Larmore,  Judith Howarth,  Christoph Prégardien,  Isabelle van Keulen  ... 
    Conductor:  Andrew Litton,  Lev Markiz
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra,  Amsterdam Sinfonietta
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  • 18.
    Mendelssohn: 'Scottish' And 'Italian' Symphonies / Laredo, Scottish Chamber Orchestra
    Label: Nimbus   Catalog: 7085 Release Date: 08/14/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Felix Mendelssohn
    Conductor:  Jaime Laredo
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Scottish Chamber Orchestra
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  • 19.
    Mendelssohn: Symphonies 3 & 5; Ruy Blas Overture / Bernstein, New York Philharmonic
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 47591 Release Date: 07/12/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Felix Mendelssohn
    Conductor:  Leonard Bernstein
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  New York Philharmonic
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  • 20.
    Charles Munch Conducts Romantic Masterworks
    Label: Rca   Catalog: 826732 Release Date: 06/12/2012   Number of Discs: 8
    Composer:  Franz Schubert,  Felix Mendelssohn,  Johannes Brahms,  Robert Schumann
    Performer:  Gary Graffman,  Artur Rubinstein,  Jascha Heifetz
    Conductor:  Charles Munch
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Boston Symphony Orchestra
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  • 21.
    Mendelssohn: Symphonies 3 & 5, Capriccio Brillante / Mitroupoulos, Graudan
    Label: Andromeda   Catalog: 9091 Release Date: 05/29/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Felix Mendelssohn
    Performer:  Joanna Graudan
    Conductor:  Dimitri Mitropoulos
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra,  Cologne West German Radio Symphony Orchestra,  Minneapolis Symphony Orchestra
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  • 22.
    Label: Zyx Records   Catalog: 10132 Release Date: 05/25/2012   Number of Discs: 5
    Composer:  Felix Mendelssohn
    Performer:  Yehudi Menuhin,  Jascha Heifetz,  Rudolf Serkin,  Rita Streich  ... 
    Conductor:  Yehudi Menuhin,  Sir Thomas Beecham,  Alfred Scholz,  Eugene Ormandy  ... 
    CD: $12.99
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  • 23.
    Mendelssohn: Symphony No 3 / Gustavo Dudamel, Wiener Philharmoniker
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 001669401 Release Date: 05/22/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Felix Mendelssohn
    Conductor:  Gustavo Dudamel
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 24.
    Mendelssohn: Symphonies Nos. 3 & 4; Schumann: Symphony No. 4 / Klemperer, Philharmonia Orchestra
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 55910 Release Date: 05/08/2012   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Felix Mendelssohn,  Robert Schumann
    Conductor:  Otto Klemperer
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra
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  • 25.
    Great Romantic Symphonies
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 8501057 Release Date: 04/24/2012   Number of Discs: 10
    Composer:  Franz Schubert,  Johannes Brahms,  Robert Schumann,  Felix Mendelssohn  ... 
    Performer:  Sidney Green,  Imrich Szabo
    Conductor:  Michael Halász,  Alexander Rahbari,  Antoni Wit,  Reinhard Seifried  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Slovak State Philharmonic Orchestra,  Failoni Orchestra Budapest,  Brussels Belgian Radio & TV Philharmonic Orchestra  ... 
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