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 No 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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Mendelssohn: String Quartets / Vogler Quartet
Release Date: 08/16/2005   Label: Profil  
Catalog: 4091   Number of Discs: 1
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Liszt, Mendelssohn, Clementi: Music For Piano & Chamber Orchestra
Release Date: 01/26/2010   Label: Profil  
Catalog: 9028   Number of Discs: 1
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Work: Midsummer Night's Dream Overture, in E major Op. 21

Browse 76-100 of 106 Available Recordings
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  • 76.
    Original Masters - Eduard Van Beinum
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 000017402 Release Date: 05/13/2003   Number of Discs: 5
    Composer:  Gioachino Rossini,  Alphons Diepenbrock,  Felix Mendelssohn,  Franz Schubert  ... 
    Performer:  Alfredo Campoli,  Clifford Curzon
    Conductor:  Eduard Van Beinum
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra,  London Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 77.
    Mendelssohn: A Midsummer Night's Dream, Etc / Nelson, Et Al
    Label: Virgin Classics   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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  • 78.
    The Four Seasons - A Musical Calendar Of Favorite Classics
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 469376 Release Date: 01/13/2003   Number of Discs: 4
    Composer:  Alexander Glazunov,  Astor Piazzolla,  Johann Strauss Jr.,  Leroy Anderson  ... 
    Performer:  Patrick Gallois,  Göran Söllscher,  Dino Ciani,  Jörg Demus  ... 
    Conductor:  Ernest Ansermet,  Claudio Abbado,  Lorin Maazel,  Arthur Fiedler  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Suisse Romande Orchestra,  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra,  Boston Pops  ... 
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  • 79.
    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
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  • 80.
    Great Conductors Of The 20th Century - Nikolai Golovanov
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 75112 Release Date: 06/04/2002   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Franz Liszt,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky,  Felix Mendelssohn,  Alexander Glazunov
    Conductor:  Nikolai S. Golovanov
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Moscow Radio Symphony Orchestra
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  • 81.
    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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  • 82.
    The Classics - Mendelssohn: Symphony No 4, Etc / Mackerras
    Label: Virgin Classics   Catalog: 61975 Release Date: 01/29/2002   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Felix Mendelssohn
    Conductor:  Sir Charles Mackerras
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment
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  • 83.
    101 Great Orchestral Classics
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 8550001 Release Date: 01/25/2002   Number of Discs: 10
    Composer:  Sergei Rachmaninov,  Erik Satie,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky,  Johann Strauss Jr.  ... 
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  • 84.
    Best Of Naxos Vol 2
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 8550002 Release Date: 01/25/2002   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Antonio Vivaldi,  Frédéric Chopin,  Johann Sebastian Bach  ... 
    Performer:  Takako Nishizaki,  Balázs Szokolay,  Peter Lang,  Herbert Weissberg  ... 
    Conductor:  Wolfgang Sobotka,  Stephen Gunzenhauser,  Bohdan Warchal,  Christoph Eberle  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Capella Istropolitana,  Slovak State Philharmonic Orchestra,  Budapest Dall' Arco Chamber Orchestra  ... 
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  • 85.
    Mendelssohn: Violin Concerto, Ruy Blas Overture, Etc
    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
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  • 86.
    Lovers - Greatest Hits
    Label: Bci Music   Catalog: 40030 Release Date: 05/08/2001   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Ruggero Leoncavallo,  Georges Bizet,  Felix Mendelssohn,  Maurice Ravel  ... 
    Performer:  José Maria Pérez,  Oliver Colbentson,  Erich Appel,  Dieter Goldmann  ... 
    Conductor:  Hanspeter Gmür,  Alfred Scholz,  Alberto Lizzio,  Samo Hubad  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Nuremberg Symphony Orchestra,  London Festival Orchestra,  Philharmonia Slavonica  ... 
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  • 87.
    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
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  • 88.
    Mendelssohn: Italian Symphony, Violin Concerto, Octet, Etc
    Label: Dg Panorama   Catalog: 469157 Release Date: 10/17/2000   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Felix Mendelssohn
    Performer:  Daniel Barenboim,  Anne-Sophie Mutter
    Conductor:  Rafael Kubelik,  Herbert von Karajan
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields Chamber Ens.,  Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra,  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 89.
    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
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  • 90.
    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  ... 
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  • 91.
    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
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  • 92.
    Shakespeare's Music
    Label: Telarc   Catalog: 80551 Release Date: 07/27/1999   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Stephen Warbeck,  Patrick Doyle,  Giuseppe Verdi,  Felix Mendelssohn  ... 
    Conductor:  Erich Kunzel,  Yoel Levi,  David Zinman,  Lorin Maazel
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cincinnati Pops,  May Festival Chorus,  Atlanta Symphony Orchestra  ... 
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  • 93.
    A Midsummer Night's Dream (1999) - Original Soundtrack
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 466098 Release Date: 04/20/1999   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Felix Mendelssohn,  Gaetano Donizetti,  Pietro Mascagni,  Vincenzo Bellini  ... 
    Performer:  Roberto Alagna,  Luciano Pavarotti,  Marcello Giordani,  Renée Fleming  ... 
    Conductor:  Vladimir Ashkenazy,  Evelino Pidň,  Herbert von Karajan,  Terry Davies  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Deutsches Symphony Orchestra,  Lyon National Opera Orchestra,  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra  ... 
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  • 94.
    Summer Classics - Greatest Hits
    Label: Rca   Catalog: 63186 Release Date: 06/16/1998   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Antonio Vivaldi,  Giuseppe Verdi,  Thomas Moore,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky  ... 
    Performer:  Vladimir Spivakov,  Alfred Krips,  Kong Xiang-Dong,  Gerhard Oppitz  ... 
    Conductor:  Vladimir Spivakov,  Roberto Abbado,  Arthur Fiedler,  Claus Peter Flor  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Moscow Virtuosi Chamber Orchestra,  Munich Radio Symphony Orchestra,  Boston Pops  ... 
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  • 95.
    The Best Of Mendelssohn
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 8556660 Release Date: 10/20/1997   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Felix Mendelssohn
    Performer:  Benjamin Frith,  Takako Nishizaki,  Péter Nagy
    Conductor:  Robert Stankovsky,  Anthony Bramall,  Kenneth Jean,  Oliver Dohnányi
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Czecho-Slovak State Philharmonic Orchestra Kosice,  Slovak Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 96.
    Mozart, Mendelssohn: Famous Overtures / Wordsworth
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 8553261 Release Date: 11/28/1995   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Felix Mendelssohn
    Conductor:  Barry Wordsworth,  Anthony Bramall
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Capella Istropolitana,  Slovak Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 97.
    Mendelssohn: Ein Sommernachtstraum / Rilling, Oregon Bach Festival, Et Al
    Label: Hänssler Classic   Catalog: 98922 Release Date: 11/01/1995   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Felix Mendelssohn
    Performer:  Ingeborg Danz,  Christine Schäfer
    Conductor:  Helmuth Rilling
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Oregon Bach Festival Orchestra,  Oregon Bach Festival Women's Chorus
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  • 98.
    The Organ Of St. Mary's Cathedral Edinburgh / Byram-wigfield
    Label: Herald Records   Catalog: 169 Release Date: 10/24/1995   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Théodore Dubois,  Charles-Marie Widor,  Henry Walford Davies,  Camille Saint-Saëns  ... 
    Performer:  Timothy Byram-Wigfield,  Rupert Waddington
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  • 99.
    An Evening With The Hollywood Bowl Symphony Orchestra
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 68860 Release Date: 10/17/1995   Number of Discs: 5
    Composer:  Gioachino Rossini,  Emmanuel Chabrier,  Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov,  Emil Waldteufel  ... 
    Performer:  Michael Rabin,  Leonard Pennario
    Conductor:  Felix Slatkin,  Carmen Dragon,  Miklós Rózsa,  Earl Bernard Murray  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Hollywood Bowl Symphony Orchestra
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  • 100.
    Mendelssohn: Symphony No 4, A Midsumer Night's Dream, Etc
    Label: Virgin Classics Special Import   Catalog: 61183 Release Date: 03/14/1995   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Felix Mendelssohn
    Conductor:  Sir Charles Mackerras
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment
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