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: String Quartets Nos. 2 & 3 / Escher String Quartet
Release Date: 09/11/2015   Label: Bis  
Catalog: 1990   Number of Discs: 1
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Mendelssohn: A Midsummer Night's Dream / Dausgaard, Swedish Chamber Orchestra
Release Date: 01/08/2016   Label: Bis  
Catalog: 2166   Number of Discs: 1
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Mendelssohn: Quartets Nos. 1 & 4 / Escher String Quartet
Release Date: 06/09/2015   Label: Bis  
Catalog: 1960   Number of Discs: 1
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Mendelssohn: A Midsummer Night's Dream / Klemperer, Philharmonia Orchestra
Release Date: 04/15/2016   Label: Warner Classics  
Catalog: 554931  
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Mendelssohn: Songs Without Words / Ronald Brautigam
Release Date: 11/27/2012   Label: Bis  
Catalog: 1982   Number of Discs: 1
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Work: Scottish Symphony

Browse 26-50 of 98 Available Recordings
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  • 26.
    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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  • 27.
    Best Of Mendelssohn
    Label: Berlin Classics   Catalog: 300341 Release Date: 07/10/2012   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Felix Mendelssohn
    Performer:  Gustav Schmahl,  Renate Schorler,  Peter Schreier,  Karl Engel  ... 
    Conductor:  Günther Herbig,  Kurt Masur,  Gothart Stier,  Helmut Koch  ... 
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  • 28.
    Mendelssohn: Symphonies 3 & 5; Ruy Blas Overture / Bernstein, New York Philharmonic
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 47591 Release Date: 06/25/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Felix Mendelssohn
    Conductor:  Leonard Bernstein
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  New York Philharmonic
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  • 29.
    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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  • 30.
    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  ... 
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  • 31.
    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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  • 32.
    Mendelssohn: Symphonies 3 & 4 / Munch, Boston Symphony
    Label: Ica Classics   Catalog: 5039 Release Date: 10/25/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Felix Mendelssohn,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
    Conductor:  Charles Munch
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Boston Symphony Orchestra
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  • 33.
    Icon: William Steinberg
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 26486 Release Date: 10/11/2011   Number of Discs: 20
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Johannes Brahms,  Franz Joseph Haydn,  Franz Schubert  ... 
    Performer:  Nathan Milstein,  Rudolf Firkusny
    Conductor:  William Steinberg
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra,  Philharmonia Orchestra,  Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 34.
    A Mendelssohn Portrait
    Label: Brilliant Classics   Catalog: 94212 Release Date: 09/27/2011   Number of Discs: 40
    Composer:  Felix Mendelssohn
    Performer:  Gil Sharon,  Bart Van Oort,  Emmy Verhey,  Derek Han  ... 
    Conductor:  Wolfgang Sawallisch,  Lev Markiz,  Gil Sharon,  Arpád Joó  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  New Philharmonia Orchestra,  New Philharmonia Chorus,  Amsterdam Sinfonietta  ... 
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  • 35.
    Mendelssohn: Symphonies No 3 & 4 / Holliger, Musikkollegium Winterthur
    Label: Md&g (Dabringhaus & Grimm)   Catalog: 901163 Release Date: 09/13/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Felix Mendelssohn
    Conductor:  Heinz Holliger
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Musikkollegium Winterthur
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  • 36.
    Mendelssohn: Symphonies Nos. 3 & 4 / Harnoncourt, Chamber Orchestra Of Europe
    Label: Apex   Catalog: 673910 Release Date: 08/30/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Felix Mendelssohn
    Conductor:  Nikolaus Harnoncourt
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Chamber Orchestra of Europe
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  • 37.
    Mendelssohn: Symphonies Nos. 3 & 4 / Vasary, Philharmonia Orchestra
    Label: Musical Concepts   Catalog: 1140 Release Date: 07/12/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Felix Mendelssohn
    Conductor:  Tamás Vásáry
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra
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  • 38.
    The Classic Sound - Mendelssohn: Symphony No 3, Midsummer Night's Dream / Maag
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 443578 Release Date: 04/07/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Felix Mendelssohn
    Conductor:  Peter Maag
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra
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  • 39.
    Mendelssohn In Verbier / Yuja Wang
    Label: Euroarts   Catalog: 3079248 Release Date: 10/26/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Felix Mendelssohn,  Igor Stravinsky
    Performer:  Maxim Rysanov,  Kirill Troussov,  Yuja Wang,  David Aaron Carpenter  ... 
    Conductor:  Kurt Masur
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Verbier Festival Orchestra
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  • 40.
    Mendelssohn: Complete Symphonies / Dohnanyi, Vienna Philharmonic [4-CD Collector's Edition]
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 001480002 Release Date: 10/19/2010   Number of Discs: 4
    Composer:  Felix Mendelssohn
    Performer:  Josef Böch,  Edita Gruberova,  Sona Ghazarian,  Horst Laubenthal  ... 
    Conductor:  Christoph von Dohnányi
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra,  Vienna State Opera Chorus,  Vienna Singverein
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  • 41.
    Mendelssohn: Symphonies No 3 & 4 / Sanderling, RPO
    Label: Royal Philharmonic Masterworks   Catalog: 28340 Release Date: 09/14/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Felix Mendelssohn
    Conductor:  Stefan Sanderling
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 42.
    Toscanini - Mendelssohn 200th Anniversary Tribute
    Label: Guild   Catalog: 2358/59 Release Date: 08/10/2010   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Felix Mendelssohn
    Performer:  Edna Philips,  Jascha Heifetz
    Conductor:  Arturo Toscanini
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  NBC Symphony Orchestra
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  • 43.
    Mendelssohn: Symphonies No 3 & 5 / Haitink, London Philharmonic
    Label: Philips   Catalog: 420884 Release Date: 04/08/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Felix Mendelssohn
    Conductor:  Bernard Haitink
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 44.
    Mendelssohn: Symphonies 3 & 5 / Litton, Bergen Philharmonic
    Label: Bis   Catalog: 1604 Release Date: 01/26/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Felix Mendelssohn
    Conductor:  Andrew Litton
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 45.
    Mendelssohn Highlights
    Label: Berlin Classics   Catalog: 149502 Release Date: 01/12/2010   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Felix Mendelssohn
    Performer:  Renate Schorler,  Valentin Gheorghiu,  Igor Oistrach
    Conductor:  Herbert Kegel,  Franz Konwitschny,  Kurt Masur,  Günther Herbig
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  • 46.
    Mendelssohn: Symphonies No 3, 4, & 5 / Bruggen, 18th Century
    Label: Philips   Catalog: 456267 Release Date: 01/12/2010   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Felix Mendelssohn
    Conductor:  Frans Brüggen
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestra of the 18th Century
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  • 47.
    Mendelssohn: The Five Symphonies / Dohnanyi, Vienna Phil
    Label: London/Decca Jubilee   Catalog: 421769 Release Date: 11/10/2009   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Felix Mendelssohn
    Conductor:  Christoph von Dohnányi
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 48.
    Mendelssohn Discoveries / Chailly, Prosseda, Gewandhaus Orchesta
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 001328002 Release Date: 10/06/2009   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Felix Mendelssohn
    Performer:  Roberto Prosseda
    Conductor:  Riccardo Chailly
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra
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  • 49.
    Mendelssohn: Complete Symphonies Vol 5 / Fey, Heidelberg
    Label: Hänssler Classic   Catalog: 98552 Release Date: 09/08/2009   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Felix Mendelssohn
    Conductor:  Thomas Fey
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Heidelberg Symphony
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  • 50.
    Mendelssohn: Symphony No 3; Bartók, Strauss / Dohnanyi
    Label: Euroarts   Catalog: 2072208 Release Date: 03/31/2009   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Béla Bartók,  Richard Strauss,  Felix Mendelssohn
    Performer:  Rudolf Buchbinder
    Conductor:  Christoph von Dohnányi
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
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