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

Work: Midsummer Night's Dream Overture, in E major Op. 21

Browse 51-75 of 88 Available Recordings
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  • 51.
    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
    ArkivCD $16.99
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  • 52.
    Mendelssohn: Violin Concerto, A Midsummer Night's Dream
    Label: Rca Silver Seal   Catalog: 60910 Release Date: 07/12/2007   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Felix Mendelssohn
    Performer:  Eugene Fodor,  Helen Vanni,  Arlene Saunders
    Conductor:  Peter Maag,  Erich Leinsdorf
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  New Philharmonia Orchestra,  Boston Symphony Orchestra,  Boston Symphony Chorus
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  • 53.
    Beecham Collection -  Rpo - The Early Days
    Label: Somm   Catalog: 19 Release Date: 05/08/2007   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Felix Mendelssohn,  Robert Schumann,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Richard Wagner
    Performer:  Moura Lympany
    Conductor:  Sir Thomas Beecham
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 54.
    Summer Moods
    Label: Hänssler Classic   Catalog: 210055 Release Date: 09/01/2006   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Felix Mendelssohn,  Charles Koechlin,  Franz Joseph Haydn,  Claude Debussy  ... 
    Performer:  Dirk Altmann,  Florian Henschel,  Eduard Stan,  Iona Brown  ... 
    Conductor:  Helmuth Rilling,  Thomas Fey,  Patrick Strub,  Sir Neville Marriner
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Oregon Bach Festival Orchestra,  Heidelberg Symphony,  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields  ... 
    DVD: $14.99
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  • 55.
    Mendelssohn: Symphonies, Piano Concertos, Etc / Masur, Et Al
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 62769 Release Date: 06/20/2006   Number of Discs: 5
    Composer:  Felix Mendelssohn
    Performer:  Cyprien Katsaris,  Christiane Oertel,  Edith Wiens,  Friedhelm Eberle
    Conductor:  Kurt Masur
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra,  Leipzig Radio Chorus
    CD: $34.99
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  • 56.
    Summer Moods
    Label: Hänssler Classic   Catalog: 98224 Release Date: 04/21/2006   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Felix Mendelssohn,  Charles Koechlin,  Franz Joseph Haydn,  Claude Debussy  ... 
    Performer:  Dirk Altmann,  Florian Henschel,  Eduard Stan,  Iona Brown  ... 
    Conductor:  Helmuth Rilling,  Thomas Fey,  Patrick Strub,  Sir Neville Marriner
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Oregon Bach Festival Orchestra,  Heidelberg Symphony,  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields  ... 
    CD: $17.99
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  • 57.
    Schubert, Mendelssohn, Mahler / Schippers, Susskind
    Label: Vox Box   Catalog: 5138 Release Date: 03/22/2006   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Gustav Mahler,  Felix Mendelssohn,  Franz Schubert
    Performer:  Lili Chookasian,  Richard Cassilly
    Conductor:  Walter Susskind,  Thomas Schippers
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra
    ArkivCD $16.99
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  • 58.
    Brahms: Symphony No 1;  Mendelssohn / Kempe, Et Al
    Label: Urania Records   Catalog: 55201 Release Date: 02/28/2006   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johannes Brahms,  Felix Mendelssohn
    Conductor:  Rudolf Kempe
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Italian Radio Symphony Orchestra Milan
    CD: $17.99
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  • 59.
    Scenes & Dances
    Label: Sophia Pallas And Julian Trail   Catalog: 5637424492 Release Date: 01/31/2006   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ottorino Respighi,  Bedrich Smetana,  Edvard Grieg,  Felix Mendelssohn
    Performer:  Sophia Pallas,  Julian Trail
    CD: $23.99
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  • 60.
    Mendelssohn: Symphony No 2 / Chailly, Leipzig Gewandhaus
    Label: Euroarts   Catalog: 2054668 Release Date: 01/17/2006   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Felix Mendelssohn,  Wolfgang Rihm
    Performer:  Anne Schwanewilms,  Petra Maria Schnitzer,  Peter Seiffert
    Conductor:  Riccardo Chailly
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra
    DVD: $24.99
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  • 61.
    German Overtures / Thielemann, Vienna PO
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 474502 Release Date: 11/08/2005   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Carl Maria von Weber,  Richard Wagner,  Heinrich Marschner,  Otto Nicolai  ... 
    Conductor:  Christian Thielemann
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 62.
    Mendelssohn: Sinfonie
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 000550602 Release Date: 11/08/2005   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Felix Mendelssohn
    Performer:  Petra Maria Schnitzer,  Anne Schwanewilms,  Peter Seiffert
    Conductor:  Riccardo Chailly
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra,  Leipzig Gewandhaus Chorus,  Leipzig Opera Chorus
    Recommendation
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  • 63.
    Schumann, Mendelssohn: Overtures / Schuricht, Stuttgart Rso
    Label: Swr Music   Catalog: 93155 Release Date: 08/01/2004   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Felix Mendelssohn,  Robert Schumann
    Conductor:  Carl Schuricht
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Stuttgart Radio Symphony Orchestra
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  • 64.
    Mendelssohn: Orchestral Masterpieces / Golschmann, Et Al
    Label: Vanguard   Catalog: 1274 Release Date: 03/09/2004   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Felix Mendelssohn
    Performer:  Mischa Elman
    Conductor:  Vladimir Golschmann,  Felix Prohaska
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna State Opera Orchestra
    CD: $14.99
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  • 65.
    Classics - Mendelssohn: Midsummer Night's Dream, Symphony 4
    Label: Telarc   Catalog: 80318 Release Date: 06/24/2003   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Felix Mendelssohn
    Conductor:  Yoel Levi
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Atlanta Symphony Orchestra
    CD: $11.99
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  • 66.
    Wilhelm Furtwängler Conducts Romantic Music
    Label: Opus Kura   Catalog: 2036 Release Date: 06/24/2003   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Carl Maria von Weber,  Hector Berlioz,  Franz Schubert,  Felix Mendelssohn
    Conductor:  Wilhelm Furtwängler
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 67.
    Mendelssohn: A Midsummer Night's Dream, Etc / Nelson, Et Al
    Label: Erato   Catalog: 5455322 Release Date: 04/08/2003   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Felix Mendelssohn
    Performer:  Rebecca Evans,  Joyce DiDonato,  Henry Murray,  John Green  ... 
    Conductor:  John Nelson
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Paris Orchestral Ensemble,  Oxford and Cambridge Shakespeare Company,  Jeune Choeur de Paris
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  • 68.
    The Four Seasons - A Musical Calendar Of Favorite Classics
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 469376 Release Date: 01/13/2003   Number of Discs: 4
    Composer:  Antonio Vivaldi,  Ralph Vaughan Williams,  Karl Goldmark,  Jean Sibelius  ... 
    Performer:  Gidon Kremer,  Pinchas Zukerman,  Daniel Barenboim,  Shlomo Mintz  ... 
    Conductor:  Claudio Abbado,  Daniel Barenboim,  Arthur Fiedler,  Neeme Järvi  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra,  English Chamber Orchestra,  Boston Pops  ... 
    On sale! $41.98
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  • 69.
    Mendelssohn: A Midsummer Night's Dream / Bernius, Rubens
    Label: Carus   Catalog: 83205 Release Date: 07/16/2002   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Felix Mendelssohn
    Performer:  Sibylla Rubens,  Claudia Schubert
    Conductor:  Frieder Bernius
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Stuttgart Chamber Choir Women,  Stuttgart Baroque Ensemble
    CD: $18.99
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  • 70.
    Mendelssohn: 5 Symphonies, 7 Overtures / Abbado, London So
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 471467 Release Date: 05/14/2002   Number of Discs: 4
    Composer:  Felix Mendelssohn
    Performer:  Elizabeth Connell,  Karita Mattila,  Hans-Peter Blochwitz
    Conductor:  Claudio Abbado
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra,  London Symphony Chorus
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  • 71.
    Mendelssohn: Violin Concerto, Ruy Blas Overture, Etc / Previn, Menuhin, London Symphony
    Label: Emi Seraphim   Catalog: 74519 Release Date: 08/14/2001   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Felix Mendelssohn
    Performer:  Yehudi Menuhin
    Conductor:  André Previn,  Efrem Kurtz
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra,  Philharmonia Orchestra
    CD: $7.99
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  • 72.
    Mendelssohn - Gala Concert From The Gewandhaus, Leipzig
    Label: Arthaus Musik   Catalog: 100031 Release Date: 11/14/2000   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Felix Mendelssohn
    Performer:  Frank-Michael Erben
    Conductor:  Kurt Masur
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra
    DVD: $24.99
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  • 73.
    Mendelssohn: Midsummer Night's Dream, Etc / Maag, London So
    Label: London/Decca Legends   Catalog: 466990 Release Date: 06/13/2000   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Felix Mendelssohn
    Performer:  Jennifer Vyvyan,  Marion Lowe
    Conductor:  Peter Maag
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra,  Royal Opera House Covent Garden Chorus Women
    CD: $13.99
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  • 74.
    As You Like It - Shakespeare In Music
    Label: Sony Classical Npr Milestones   Catalog: 61874 Release Date: 01/18/2000   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Jean Sibelius,  Ralph Vaughan Williams,  Cole Porter,  Leonard Bernstein  ... 
    Performer:  Lucine Amara,  Charles Bressler,  Eileen Farrell,  Lili Chookasian  ... 
    Conductor:  Andre Kostelanetz,  Leonard Bernstein,  Pembroke Davenport,  Max Goberman  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Andre Kostelanetz Orchestra,  New York Philharmonic,  Orchestra  ... 
    ArkivCD $16.99
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  • 75.
    Berlioz: Symphonie Fantastique;  Mendelssohn / Bruno Walter
    Label: Music & Arts Programs Of America   Catalog: 4822 Release Date: 09/21/1999   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Felix Mendelssohn,  Hector Berlioz
    Conductor:  Bruno Walter
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra
    CD: $17.99
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