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: Midsummer Night's Dream, Piano Concertos / Chailly
Release Date: 06/17/2014   Label: Decca  
Catalog: 002082502   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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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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Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy: Organ Works - Overture Paulus, Reformation Symphony, Variations Serieuses
Release Date: 06/24/2014   Label: Md&g (Dabringhaus & Grimm)  
Catalog: 61853   Number of Discs: 1
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Mendelssohn: 5 Symphonies, 7 Overtures / Abbado, London So
Release Date: 05/14/2002   Label: Deutsche Grammophon  
Catalog: 471467   Number of Discs: 4
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Work: Midsummer Night's Dream Overture, in E major Op. 21

Browse 51-75 of 106 Available Recordings
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  • 51.
    Mendelsohn: Symphony No 4, Etc / Bramall, Slovak Po
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 8550055 Release Date: 07/23/2007   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Felix Mendelssohn
    Conductor:  Anthony Bramall
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Slovak Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 52.
    Mendelssohn: Violin Concerto, A Midsummer Night's Dream
    Label: Rca Silver Seal   Catalog: 60910 Release Date: 07/23/2007   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.
    Label: Octave, Les Productions   Catalog: 23326 Release Date: 03/22/2007   Number of Discs: 6
    Composer:  François Couperin,  Antonio Vivaldi,  Jean-Philippe Rameau,  George Frideric Handel  ... 
    Performer:  Wolfgang Schneiderhan,  Marcelle Meyer,  Andrés Segovia,  Gerald Moore  ... 
    Conductor:  Rudolf Baumgartner,  Eduard Van Beinum,  Sir Adrian Boult,  Wilhelm Furtwängler  ... 
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  • 55.
    Carl Schuricht Collection - Historical Recordings 1950-1966
    Label: Hänssler Classic   Catalog: 93140 Release Date: 03/13/2007   Number of Discs: 20
    Composer:  Richard Strauss,  Franz Joseph Haydn,  Richard Wagner,  Felix Mendelssohn  ... 
    Performer:  Barry McDaniel,  Clara Haskil,  Fritz Wunderlich,  Elisabeth Schwarzkopf  ... 
    Conductor:  Carl Schuricht
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Stuttgart Radio Symphony Orchestra,  Stuttgart Southwest German Radio Vocal Ensemble,  Hessian Radio Chorus Frankfurt  ... 
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  • 56.
    Toscanini - Complete Philadelphia Orchestra Recordings
    Label: Rca Victor Red Seal   Catalog: 702331 Release Date: 11/14/2006   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Felix Mendelssohn,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky,  Hector Berlioz,  Ottorino Respighi  ... 
    Performer:  Edwina Eustis,  Florence Kirk
    Conductor:  Arturo Toscanini
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philadelphia Orchestra,  University of Pennsylvania Women's Glee Club
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  • 57.
    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  ... 
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  • 58.
    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
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  • 59.
    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  ... 
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  • 60.
    Zeit Zu Zweit
    Label: Hänssler Classic   Catalog: 98249 Release Date: 03/31/2006   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Franz Liszt,  Joaquin Rodrigo,  Frédéric Chopin  ... 
    Performer:  Vladimir Bunin,  Dale Kavanagh,  Pavlos Hatzopoulos,  Florian Henschel  ... 
    Conductor:  Klaus-Peter Hahn,  Horst-Hans Bäcker,  Helmuth Rilling,  Sir Neville Marriner  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Moscow State Radio and Television Symphony Orchestra,  International Philharmonic Orchestra,  Oregon Bach Festival Orchestra  ... 
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  • 61.
    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
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  • 62.
    Brahms: Symphony No 1;  Mendelssohn / Kempe, Et Al
    Label: Urania   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
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  • 63.
    Label: Cd Baby   Catalog: 5637424492 Release Date: 01/31/2006   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ottorino Respighi,  Bedrich Smetana,  Edvard Grieg,  Felix Mendelssohn
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  • 64.
    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
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  • 65.
    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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  • 66.
    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
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  • 67.
    Original Masters - George Szell
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 000491002 Release Date: 08/09/2005   Number of Discs: 5
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel,  Antonín Dvorák,  Johannes Brahms,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart  ... 
    Performer:  Pilar Lorengar,  Klausjürgen Wussow
    Conductor:  George Szell
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra,  Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra,  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 68.
    Mendelssohn - Greatest Hits
    Label: Universal   Catalog: 000395402 Release Date: 02/08/2005   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Felix Mendelssohn
    Performer:  András Schiff
    Conductor:  Bernard Haitink,  Sir Neville Marriner
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra,  London Philharmonic Orchestra members,  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields  ... 
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  • 69.
    Schumann, Mendelssohn: Overtures / Schuricht, Stuttgart Rso
    Label: Hänssler Classic   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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  • 70.
    Great Conductors Of The 20th Century / Rafael Kubelik
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 62863 Release Date: 07/13/2004   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Paul Hindemith,  Leos Janácek,  Gustav Mahler,  Franz Schubert  ... 
    Conductor:  Rafael Kubelik
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Chicago Symphony Orchestra,  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra,  Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra  ... 
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  • 71.
    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
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  • 72.
    Mendelssohn: A Midsummer Night's Dream / Previn, London So
    Label: Emi Classics Encore   Catalog: 74981 Release Date: 08/19/2003   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Felix Mendelssohn
    Performer:  Delia Wallis,  Lillian Watson
    Conductor:  André Previn
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Finchley Children's Music Group,  London Symphony Orchestra
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  • 73.
    Original Masters - Ferenc Fricsay - A Life In Music
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 000085402 Release Date: 08/12/2003   Number of Discs: 9
    Composer:  Frank Martin,  Johann Strauss Jr.,  Gottfried von Einem,  Johann Strauss Sr.  ... 
    Performer:  Irmgard Helmis,  Gerty Herzog,  Sylvia Kind,  Diana Eustrati  ... 
    Conductor:  Ferenc Fricsay
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin RIAS Symphony Orchestra,  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra,  Berlin RIAS Chamber Chorus  ... 
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  • 74.
    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
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  • 75.
    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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