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: 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: Midsummer Night's Dream, Piano Concertos / Chailly
Release Date: 06/17/2014   Label: Decca  
Catalog: 002082502   Number of Discs: 1
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An Introduction To Felix Mendelssohn
Release Date: 09/19/2006   Label: Chandos  
Catalog: 2025   Number of Discs: 1
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Mendelssohn, Adams: Violin Concertos / Jarvi, Hoopes,  Leipzig Radio Symphony Orchestra
Release Date: 05/27/2014   Label: Naive  
Catalog: 5368   Number of Discs: 1
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Work: Midsummer Night's Dream Overture, in E major Op. 21

Browse 26-50 of 106 Available Recordings
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  • 26.
    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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  • 27.
    Argerich & Friends Live From Lugano 2009
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 07367 Release Date: 04/06/2010   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel,  Manuel de Falla,  Sergei Rachmaninov,  Mikhail Glinka  ... 
    Performer:  Karin Lechner,  Sergio Tiempo,  Martha Argerich,  Alexander Mogilevsky  ... 
    Conductor:  Alexander Vedernikov
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Italian Switzerland Radio/TV Orchestra
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  • 28.
    Mendelssohn: Symphony No 4, Overtures / Previn, London Symphony
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 767775 Release Date: 01/12/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Felix Mendelssohn
    Conductor:  André Previn
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra
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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.
    Mendelssohn: Violin Concerto, Etc;  Bruch / Menuhin, Et Al
    Label: Emi Seraphim   Catalog: 68524 Release Date: 10/26/2009   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Felix Mendelssohn,  Max Bruch
    Performer:  Yehudi Menuhin
    Conductor:  Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos,  Sir Adrian Boult,  André Previn
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra
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  • 31.
    Mendelssohn: Midsummer Night's Dream / Kubelik, Mathis
    Label: Dg Galleria   Catalog: 415840 Release Date: 10/12/2009   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Carl Maria von Weber,  Felix Mendelssohn
    Performer:  Edith Mathis,  Ursula Boese
    Conductor:  Rafael Kubelik
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra,  Bavarian Radio Chorus
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  • 32.
    Edition Wilhelm Furtwängler - The Complete RIAS Recordings
    Label: Audite   Catalog: 21403 Release Date: 06/09/2009   Number of Discs: 13
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Richard Wagner,  Richard Strauss,  Johannes Brahms  ... 
    Performer:  Gerhard Taschner,  Yehudi Menuhin
    Conductor:  Wilhelm Furtwängler
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 33.
    Spectacular Overtures / Ormandy, Philadelphia Orchestra
    Label: Rca   Catalog: 38062 Release Date: 05/08/2009   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Felix Mendelssohn,  Franz von Suppé,  Jacques Offenbach,  Louis Ferdinand Herold  ... 
    Conductor:  Eugene Ormandy
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philadelphia Orchestra
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  • 34.
    Sergiu Celibidache - Portrait
    Label: Orfeo D'or   Catalog: 725085 Release Date: 04/28/2009   Number of Discs: 5
    Composer:  Franz Schubert,  Maurice Ravel,  Boris Blacher,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky  ... 
    Conductor:  Sergiu Celibidache
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cologne West German Radio Symphony 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.
    Mendelssohn: Die Erste Walpurgisnacht, Midsummer Night's Dream / Dohnanyi, Ashkenazy
    Label: Eloquence   Catalog: 4801279 Release Date: 02/16/2009  
    Composer:  Felix Mendelssohn
    Performer:  Lynne Dawson,  Dalia Schaechter,  Margarita Lilowa,  Tom Krause  ... 
    Conductor:  Vladimir Ashkenazy,  Christoph von Dohnányi
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin,  Berlin Radio Women's Chorus,  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 37.
    Romantic Orchestral Masterpieces / Rilling, Gielen, Marriner, Sanderling, Et Al
    Label: Hänssler Classic   Catalog: 98540 Release Date: 02/10/2009   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Gustav Mahler,  Anton Bruckner,  Johannes Brahms,  Robert Schumann  ... 
    Conductor:  Michael Gielen,  Sir Neville Marriner,  Jirí Stárek,  Sylvain Cambreling  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Baden-Baden Southwest German Radio Symphony Orchestra,  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields,  Oregon Bach Festival Chorus  ... 
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  • 38.
    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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  • 39.
    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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  • 40.
    Greatest Works - Mendelssohn
    Label: Berlin Classics   Catalog: 184312 Release Date: 08/12/2008   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Felix Mendelssohn
    Performer:  Peter Arne Rohde,  Renate Schorler,  Valentin Gheorghiu,  Gustav Schmahl
    Conductor:  Herbert Kegel,  Helmut Koch,  Kurt Masur,  Franz Konwitschny  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Leipzig Radio Symphony Orchestra,  Berlin Chamber Orchestra,  Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra  ... 
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  • 41.
    Mendelssohn: A Midsummer Night's Dream, Overtures / Herbig, Masur
    Label: Berlin Classics   Catalog: 1340 Release Date: 07/08/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Felix Mendelssohn
    Conductor:  Kurt Masur,  Günther Herbig
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra,  Berlin Staatskapelle Orchestra
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  • 42.
    Mendelssohn: Midsummer Night's Dream / Ormandy, Philadelphia
    Label: Rca Victor Red Seal   Catalog: 2084 Release Date: 06/25/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Felix Mendelssohn
    Performer:  Frederica Von Stade,  Judith Blegen
    Conductor:  Eugene Ormandy
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philadelphia Orchestra,  Mendelssohn Club Chorus Philadelphia
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  • 43.
    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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  • 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.
    Mendelssohn: Symphony No 4, A Midsummer Night's Dream / Mackerras
    Label: Virgin Classics   Catalog: 90725 Release Date: 04/07/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Felix Mendelssohn
    Conductor:  Sir Charles Mackerras
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment
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  • 46.
    Ultimate Mendelssohn - The Essential Masterpieces
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 001084202 Release Date: 03/11/2008   Number of Discs: 5
    Composer:  Felix Mendelssohn
    Performer:  Pinchas Zukerman,  András Schiff
    Conductor:  Herbert Blomstedt,  Pinchas Zukerman,  Charles Dutoit,  Sir Neville Marriner
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  San Francisco Symphony Orchestra,  St. Paul Chamber Orchestra,  Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra  ... 
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  • 47.
    Mendelssohn: Overtures / Claus Peter Flor, Bamberg Symphony
    Label: Rca Victor Red Seal   Catalog: 7905 Release Date: 01/07/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Felix Mendelssohn
    Conductor:  Claus Peter Flor
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bamberg Symphony Orchestra
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  • 48.
    Organ Transcriptions - Thomas Trotter
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 436656 Release Date: 11/27/2007   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Sir Edward Elgar,  Charles Gounod,  Felix Mendelssohn,  Gioachino Rossini  ... 
    Performer:  Thomas Trotter
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  • 49.
    The Beecham Edition - Overtures - Rossini, Mendelssohn, Etc
    Label: Emi Studio   Catalog: 63407 Release Date: 09/24/2007   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Gioachino Rossini,  Felix Mendelssohn,  Hector Berlioz,  Franz von Suppé  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir Thomas Beecham
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 50.
    Mendelssohn: Symphony No 4, Etc / Wordsworth, London So
    Label: Virgin Classics   Catalog: 91372 Release Date: 08/14/2007   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Felix Mendelssohn
    Conductor:  Barry Wordsworth
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra
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