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 Nos. 1 & 3 / Manze, North German Radio Philharmonic
Release Date: 03/03/2017   Label: Pentatone  
Catalog: 5186595   Number of Discs: 1
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Mendelssohn: Piano Trios Nos. 1 & 2 / Fischer, Muller-Schott, Gilad
Release Date: 02/10/2017   Label: Pentatone  
Catalog: 5186609   Number of Discs: 1
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Mendelssohn: Symphony No. 2
Release Date: 09/01/2017   Label: Lso Live  
Catalog: LSO0803   Number of Discs: 2
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Mendelssohn: Violin Concerto, Symphony No. 5 & Hebrides Overture / Faust, Heras-Casaldo
Release Date: 09/01/2017   Label: Harmonia Mundi  
Catalog: 902325  
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Bruch & Mendelssohn: Violin Concertos / Mintz, Abbado, Chicago Symphony Orchestra
Release Date: 11/13/2015   Label: Pentatone  
Catalog: 5186208   Number of Discs: 1
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Work: Midsummer Night's Dream Overture, in E major Op. 21

Browse 1-25 of 92 Available Recordings
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  • 1.
    Wiener Philharmoniker: 175th Anniversary Edition
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 4797090 Release Date: 03/31/2017   Number of Discs: 45
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Johannes Brahms,  Anton Bruckner,  Emmanuel Chabrier  ... 
    Performer:  Anton Dermota,  Irmgard Seefried,  Rosette Anday,  Paul Schöffler  ... 
    Conductor:  Leonard Bernstein,  Rafael Kubelik,  Wilhelm Furtwängler,  James Levine  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra,  Arnold Schoenberg Choir,  Kuchl String Quartet  ... 
    CD: $175.49
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  • 2.
    Toscanini: The Essential Recordings
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 537604 Release Date: 03/10/2017   Number of Discs: 20
    Composer:  Franz Joseph Haydn,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Franz Schubert  ... 
    Performer:  Edna Phillips,  Jon Garrison,  Gladys Swarthout,  Nicola Moscona  ... 
    Conductor:  Arturo Toscanini
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  NBC Symphony Orchestra,  New York Philharmonic,  Philadelphia Orchestra
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  • 3.
    Mendelssohn: A Midsummer Night's Dream / Gardiner, London Symphony
    Label: Lso Live   Catalog: 795 Release Date: 02/03/2017   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Felix Mendelssohn
    Conductor:  John Eliot Gardiner
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra,  Monteverdi Choir
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  • 4.
    Purple Classics Presents: Ballet Highlights
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 8578334 Release Date: 06/17/2016   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky,  Felix Mendelssohn,  Léo Delibes
    Conductor:  Michael Halász,  Anthony Bramall,  Ondrej Lenárd,  Andrew Mogrelia
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra
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  • 5.
    Mendelssohn: A Midsummer Night's Dream - Schubert: Symphony No. 8
    Label: Opus Kura   Catalog: 7076 Release Date: 06/14/2016   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Felix Mendelssohn,  Franz Schubert
    Performer:  Dagmar Hermann,  Ilona Steingruber-Wildgans
    Conductor:  Clemens Krauss
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  • 6.
    Ouverturen / Steffens, Bamberger Symphoniker
    Label: Tudor Records   Catalog: 7195 Release Date: 05/13/2016   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Christoph W. Gluck,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Luigi Cherubini,  Ludwig van Beethoven  ... 
    Conductor:  Karl-Heinz Steffens
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bamberg Symphony Orchestra
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  • 7.
    Mendelssohn: A Midsummer Night's Dream / Klemperer, Baker, Harper, Philharmonia Orchestra
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 554931 Release Date: 04/15/2016  
    Composer:  Felix Mendelssohn
    Performer:  Dame Janet Baker,  Heather Harper
    Conductor:  Otto Klemperer
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra,  Philharmonia Chorus
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  • 8.
    Deutsche Grammophon: The Mono Era (1948-1957)
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 002457272 Release Date: 03/18/2016   Number of Discs: 51
    Composer:  Franz Schubert,  Dmitri Shostakovich,  Frédéric Chopin,  Johannes Brahms  ... 
    Performer:  Stefan Askenase,  Shura Cherkassky,  Halina Czerny-Stefanska,  Basile Bolotine  ... 
    Conductor:  Karel Ancerl,  Karl Böhm,  Serge Jaroff,  Leopold Ludwig  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Amadeus Quartet,  Czech Philharmonic Orchestra,  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $145.99
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  • 9.
    Philips Classics: The Stereo Years
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 002445602 Release Date: 02/19/2016   Number of Discs: 50
    Composer:  Jean Sibelius,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky,  Robert Schumann,  Franz Schubert  ... 
    Performer:  Salvatore Accardo,  Elly Ameling,  Dalton Baldwin,  Jörg Demus  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir Colin Davis,  Bernard Haitink,  Raymond Leppard,  Eduard van Beinum  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra,  Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra,  English Chamber Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $129.99
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  • 10.
    The Decca Sound [Repackaged Edition]
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 002434502 Release Date: 01/29/2016   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: $181.49
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  • 11.
    Mendelssohn: A Midsummer Night's Dream / Dausgaard, Swedish Chamber Orchestra
    Label: Bis   Catalog: 2166 Release Date: 01/08/2016   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Felix Mendelssohn
    Performer:  Magdalena Risberg,  Camilla Tilling
    Conductor:  Thomas Dausgaard
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Swedish Chamber Orchestra,  Swedish Radio Choir
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  • 12.
    Mendelssohn / Abbado, London Symphony Orchestra
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 002347302 Release Date: 07/31/2015   Number of Discs: 5
    Composer:  Felix Mendelssohn
    Performer:  Elizabeth Connell,  Karita Mattila,  Hans-Peter Blochwitz,  Shlomo Mintz
    Conductor:  Claudio Abbado
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra,  London Symphony Chorus,  Chicago Symphony Orchestra
    CD: $32.99
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  • 13.
    Mendelssohn: Incidental Music - A Midsummer Night's Dream, Antigone, Oedipus at Colonos / 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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  • 14.
    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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  • 15.
    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
    CD: $21.99
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  • 16.
    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
    CD: $18.99
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  • 17.
    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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  • 18.
    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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  • 19.
    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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  • 20.
    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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  • 21.
    Best Of Mendelssohn
    Label: Berlin Classics   Catalog: 300341 Release Date: 07/10/2012   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Felix Mendelssohn
    Performer:  Günther Herbig,  Staatskapelle Berlin,  Kurt Masur,  Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra  ... 
    Conductor:  Günther Herbig,  Kurt Masur,  Gothart Stier,  Helmut Koch  ... 
    CD: $14.99
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  • 22.
    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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  • 23.
    Mendelssohn: A Midsummer Night's Dream, Symphony No 4 / Abbado
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 62826 Release Date: 06/29/2012   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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  • 24.
    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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  • 25.
    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
    CD: $7.99
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