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 In Birmingham Vol 2 /  Gardner, City Of Birmingham Symphony
Release Date: 09/30/2014   Label: Chandos  
Catalog: 5139   Number of Discs: 1
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Mendelssohn: Symphony no 2
Release Date: 02/12/2013   Label: Challenge  
Catalog: 72543   Number of Discs: 1
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Johanna Martzy Plays Mendelssohn & Brahms
Release Date: 03/25/2014   Label: Hänssler Classic  
Catalog: 94226   Number of Discs: 1
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Mendelssohn: Schauspielmusiken / Bernius,  Stuttgart Classical Philharmonic
Release Date: 09/09/2014   Label: Carus  
Catalog: 83022   Number of Discs: 3
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Mendelssohn: Six Sonatas For Organ, Op. 65 / Jos Van Der Kooy
Release Date: 09/08/2009   Label: Challenge  
Catalog: 72315   Number of Discs: 1
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Work: Midsummer Night's Dream Overture, in E major Op. 21

Browse 1-25 of 103 Available Recordings
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  • 1.
    Mendelssohn: Schauspielmusiken / Bernius,  Stuttgart Classical Philharmonic
    Label: Carus   Catalog: 83022 Release Date: 09/09/2014   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Felix Mendelssohn
    Performer:  Sibylla Rubens,  Claudia Schubert,  Michael Ransburg,  Angela Winkler  ... 
    Conductor:  Frieder Bernius
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Stuttgart Baroque Ensemble,  Stuttgart Chamber Choir Women,  Stuttgart Chamber Choir  ... 
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  • 2.
    Claudio Abbado - The Complete RCA & Sony Album Collection
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 304505 Release Date: 08/05/2014   Number of Discs: 39
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Felix Mendelssohn,  Robert Schumann  ... 
    Performer:  Claudio Abbado,  Murray Perahia,  Anatoly Kotcherga,  Midori  ... 
    Conductor:  Claudio Abbado
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  • 3.
    Mendelssohn: Midsummer Night's Dream, Piano Concertos / Chailly
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 002082502 Release Date: 06/17/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Felix Mendelssohn
    Performer:  Saleem Abboud Ashkar
    Conductor:  Riccardo Chailly
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra
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  • 4.
    English Romantics And Transcriptions
    Label: Rondeau Productions   Catalog: 6078 Release Date: 09/24/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Felix Mendelssohn,  William Lloyd Webber,  Percy Whitlock,  Henry Thomas Smart  ... 
    Performer:  Tobias Frank
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  • 5.
    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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  • 6.
    EMI Eminence - The Original Jacket Collection [50-CD Set]
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 393872 Release Date: 02/26/2013   Number of Discs: 50
    Composer:  Richard Wagner,  Richard Strauss,  Ralph Vaughan Williams,  William Byrd  ... 
    Performer:  David Nolan,  Jonathan Small,  George Malcolm,  William Bennett  ... 
    Conductor:  Karl Anton Rickenbacher,  Vernon Handley,  George Guest,  George Malcolm  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra,  Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra,  Cambridge St. John's College Choir  ... 
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  • 7.
    Icon - Constantin Silvestri [15-CD Set]
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 233472 Release Date: 02/05/2013   Number of Discs: 15
    Composer:  Antonín Dvorák,  Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov,  George Enescu,  Franz Liszt  ... 
    Conductor:  Constantin Silvestri
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra,  London Philharmonic Orchestra,  Orchestre de la Société du Conservatoire Paris  ... 
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  • 8.
    Brahms: Symphony No 1; Mendelssohn / Solti, Chicago Symphony Orchestra
    Label: Ica Classics   Catalog: 5089 Release Date: 11/13/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Felix Mendelssohn,  Johannes Brahms
    Conductor:  Sir Georg Solti
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Chicago Symphony Orchestra
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  • 9.
    Label: Melodiya   Catalog: 1300 Release Date: 08/14/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Felix Mendelssohn,  George Frideric Handel,  Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov  ... 
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  • 10.
    Best Of Mendelssohn
    Label: Berlin Classics   Catalog: 300341 Release Date: 07/10/2012   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Felix Mendelssohn
    Performer:  Staatskapelle Berlin,  Günther Herbig,  Kurt Masur,  Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra  ... 
    Conductor:  Günther Herbig,  Kurt Masur,  Gothart Stier,  Helmut Koch  ... 
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  • 11.
    Mendelssohn: Midsummer Night's Dream, Hebrides Overture / Herreweghe, Orchestre Des Champs-elysees
    Label: Harmonia Mundi   Catalog: 501502 Release Date: 07/10/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Felix Mendelssohn
    Performer:  Sandrine Piau,  Delphine Collot
    Conductor:  Philippe Herreweghe
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Champs-Élysées Orchestra,  Ghent Collegium Vocale,  La Chapelle Royale Chorus Paris
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  • 12.
    Mendelssohn: A Midsummer Night's Dream, Symphony No 4 / Abbado
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 62826 Release Date: 07/06/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Felix Mendelssohn
    Performer:  Kenneth Branagh,  Angelika Kirchschlager,  Sylvia McNair
    Conductor:  Claudio Abbado
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra,  Ernst Senff Choir
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  • 13.
    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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  • 14.
    Mendelssohn: A Midsummer Night's Dream / Previn, London Symphony
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 02313 Release Date: 04/24/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Felix Mendelssohn
    Performer:  Lillian Watson,  Delia Wallis
    Conductor:  André Previn
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra,  Finchley Children's Music Group
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  • 15.
    Haydn: Symphony No. 88; Symphony No. 93; Mendelssohn: A Midsummer Night's Dream, Excerpts
    Label: Archipel   Catalog: ARPCD0125 Release Date: 01/01/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Franz Joseph Haydn,  Felix Mendelssohn
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  • 16.
    Celibidache  Vol 4 - Sacred Music & Opera / Munich Phiharmonic
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 85617 Release Date: 11/29/2011   Number of Discs: 11
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Johannes Brahms,  Richard Wagner  ... 
    Performer:  Anton Scharinger,  Yaron Windmuller,  Peter Schreier,  Barbara Bonney  ... 
    Conductor:  Sergiu Celibidache
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Munich Philharmonic Orchestra,  Munich Philharmonic Choir,  Munich Bach Choir
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  • 17.
    The Decca Sound [50-CD Set]
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 001619902 Release Date: 11/15/2011   Number of Discs: 50
    Composer:  Manuel de Falla,  Claude Debussy,  Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov,  Enrique Granados  ... 
    Performer:  Teresa Berganza,  Alfredo Campoli,  Vladimir Ashkenazy,  Cecilia Bartoli  ... 
    Conductor:  Ernest Ansermet,  Ataulfo Argenta,  Anatole Fistoulari,  Vladimir Ashkenazy  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Suisse Romande Orchestra,  London Symphony Orchestra,  Philharmonia Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $175.49
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  • 18.
    Summer Classics
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 82156 Release Date: 07/26/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Antonio Vivaldi,  Ottorino Respighi,  Felix Mendelssohn,  Georges Bizet  ... 
    Performer:  Anne-Sophie Mutter,  Susan Milan
    Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan,  Sir Neville Marriner,  André Previn,  Paul Tortelier  ... 
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  • 19.
    Martha Argerich Edition: Solos & Duos
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 94044 Release Date: 06/07/2011   Number of Discs: 6
    Composer:  Frédéric Chopin,  Robert Schumann,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Felix Mendelssohn  ... 
    Performer:  Martha Argerich,  Alexandre Rabinovitch
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  • 20.
    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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  • 21.
    Mendelssohn: A Midsummer Night's Dream / Bruggen, Orchestra Of The 18th Century
    Label: Glossa   Catalog: 81101 Release Date: 03/29/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Felix Mendelssohn
    Conductor:  Frans Brüggen
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestra of the 18th Century,  Gulbenkian Chorus
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  • 22.
    Sir Thomas Beecham: The Later Tradition - Beethoven, Schubert, Mendelssohn, Etc.
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 18611 Release Date: 03/22/2011   Number of Discs: 8
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Johannes Brahms,  Franz Liszt,  Felix Mendelssohn  ... 
    Performer:  Jennifer Vyvyan,  Monica Sinclair,  Richard Lewis,  Marian Nowakowski  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir Thomas Beecham
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra,  Beecham Choral Society
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  • 23.
    Mendelssohn: Overtures / Chmura, London Symphony Orchestra
    Label: Dg Musikfest   Catalog: 423025 Release Date: 12/08/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Felix Mendelssohn
    Conductor:  Gabriel Chmura
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra
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  • 24.
    Mendelssohn: A Midsummer Night's Dream / Nelson
    Label: Virgin Classics   Catalog: 28631 Release Date: 10/25/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Felix Mendelssohn
    Performer:  Stephen Wright,  Phil Edmonds,  Michael Howarth,  Niel Ross  ... 
    Conductor:  John Nelson
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Paris Orchestral Ensemble,  Jeune Choeur de Paris,  Oxford and Cambridge Shakespeare Company
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  • 25.
    Label: Ligia   Catalog: 104180 Release Date: 09/14/2010   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Felix Mendelssohn
    Performer:  Olivier Vernet,  Cedrick Meckler
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