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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: Songs Without Words / Javier Perianes
Release Date: 11/11/2014   Label: Harmonia Mundi  
Catalog: 902195   Number of Discs: 1
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Mendelssohn: Christus / Piau, Equilbey, Accentus
Release Date: 01/31/2012   Label: Naive  
Catalog: 5265   Number of Discs: 1
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Mendelssohn: Symphony no 3, Hebrides; Schumann: Piano Concerto / Pires, Gardiner [SACD+Blu-ray]
Release Date: 10/14/2014   Label: Lso Live  
Catalog: 765   Number of Discs: 1
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Mendelssohn: Three Sonatas, Rondo /  Frederic Chiu
Release Date: 06/08/2004   Label: Harmonia Mundi  
Catalog: 3957117   Number of Discs: 1
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Mendelssohn, Bruch: Octets / Kodály Quartet, Auer Quartet
Release Date: 04/18/2006   Label: Naxos  
Catalog: 8557270   Number of Discs: 1
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Work: Octet for Strings in E flat major, Op. 20

Browse 1-25 of 54 Available Recordings
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  • 1.
    The Argo Years / Neville Marriner, Academy Of St Martin In The Fields [28-CD Set]
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 002081902 Release Date: 06/03/2014   Number of Discs: 28
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel,  Arcangelo Corelli,  Giuseppe Torelli,  Pietro Antonio Locatelli  ... 
    Performer:  Gwynne Howell,  Philip Langridge,  Anna Reynolds,  Elly Ameling  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir Neville Marriner
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields,  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields Chorus,  Philip Jones Brass Ensemble
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  • 2.
    The Westminster Legacy
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 001999302 Release Date: 02/18/2014   Number of Discs: 40
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Franz Joseph Haydn,  Gustav Mahler  ... 
    Performer:  Sena Jurinac,  Lucretia West,  Hans Loeffler,  Frederick Guthrie  ... 
    Conductor:  Hermann Scherchen,  Pierre Monteux,  René Leibowitz,  Erich Leinsdorf  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra,  Vienna State Opera Orchestra,  Vienna Academy Chamber Chorus  ... 
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  • 3.
    Mendelssohn: Complete Chamber Music For Strings Vol 3 / Mandelring Quartet
    Label: Audite   Catalog: 92658 Release Date: 11/19/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Felix Mendelssohn
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Mandelring String Quartet,  Cremona String Quartet
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  • 4.
    Great Chamber Music
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 8501064 Release Date: 04/30/2013   Number of Discs: 10
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Franz Joseph Haydn,  Franz Schubert,  Felix Mendelssohn  ... 
    Performer:  Tamás Szabo,  Gábor Fias,  Attila Falvay,  György Éder  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Kodály String Quartet,  Auer String Quartet,  Villa Musica Ensemble  ... 
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  • 5.
    Mendelssohn: Double Concerto, Octet / Tognetti, Leschenko, Australian Chamber Orchestra
    Label: Bis   Catalog: 1984 Release Date: 03/26/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Felix Mendelssohn
    Performer:  Richard Tognetti,  Polina Leschenko
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Australian Chamber Orchestra,  Australian Chamber Orchestra Members
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  • 6.
    Arturo Toscanini - The Complete RCA Collection
    Label: Rca   Catalog: 791631 Release Date: 07/10/2012   Number of Discs: 85
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Johannes Brahms,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Franz Joseph Haydn  ... 
    Performer:  Eileen Farrell,  Nan Merriman,  Jan Peerce,  Norman Scott  ... 
    Conductor:  Arturo Toscanini
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  NBC Symphony Orchestra,  Robert Shaw Chorale,  NBC Symphony Chorus  ... 
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  • 7.
    First Choice: Mendelssohn: Octet; String Quartet
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 001662502 Release Date: 04/10/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Felix Mendelssohn
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  • 8.
    The Decca Sound [50-CD Set]
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 001619902 Release Date: 11/15/2011   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: $175.49
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  • 9.
    Gade, Mendelssohn: String Octets / Ensemble Tiramisu
    Label: Divox   Catalog: 25238 Release Date: 10/25/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Felix Mendelssohn,  Niels Gade
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ensemble Tiramisu
    CD: $17.99
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  • 10.
    A Mendelssohn Portrait [40 CDs + CD-ROM]
    Label: Brilliant Classics   Catalog: 94212 Release Date: 09/27/2011   Number of Discs: 40
    Composer:  Felix Mendelssohn
    Performer:  Gil Sharon,  Bart Van Oort,  Emmy Verhey,  Derek Han  ... 
    Conductor:  Wolfgang Sawallisch,  Lev Markiz,  Gil Sharon,  Arpád Joó  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  New Philharmonia Orchestra,  New Philharmonia Chorus,  Amsterdam Sinfonietta  ... 
    CD: $78.99
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  • 11.
    Icon - Melos Ensemble
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 18414 Release Date: 03/22/2011   Number of Discs: 11
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Franz Schubert,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Felix Mendelssohn  ... 
    Performer:  Gervase de Peyer,  Lamar Crowson,  Cecil Aronowitz,  Manoug Parikian  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Melos Ensemble London Members,  Melos Ensemble London
    On sale! $87.98
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  • 12.
    Mendelssohn: Complete String Quartets; Quintets; Sextet; Octet
    Label: Brilliant Classics   Catalog: 94205 Release Date: 02/01/2011   Number of Discs: 6
    Composer:  Felix Mendelssohn
    Performer:  Petra Vahle,  Liisa Tamminen,  Gil Sharon,  Dalia Ouziel  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Gewandhaus Quartet,  Sharon String Quartet,  Amati String Orchestra
    CD: $29.99
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  • 13.
    Mendelssohn: String Octet, Piano Sextet / I Solisti Filarmonici Italiani
    Label: Cpo   Catalog: 777524 Release Date: 01/25/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Felix Mendelssohn
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  I Solisti Filarmonici Italiani
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  • 14.
    Mendelssohn: Violin Concerto, Octet / Ehnes, Ashkenazy, Philharmonia Orchestra
    Label: Onyx   Catalog: 4060 Release Date: 01/11/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Felix Mendelssohn
    Performer:  James Ehnes
    Conductor:  Vladimir Ashkenazy
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra,  Seattle Chamber Music Octet
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  • 15.
    Mendelssohn: Octet, String Symphony no 9 / Tognetti, Australian CO
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 57484 Release Date: 01/02/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Felix Mendelssohn
    Conductor:  Richard Tognetti
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Australian Chamber Orchestra
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  • 16.
    Haydn: Violin Concertos; Mendelssohn: Octet
    Label: Canary Classics   Catalog: 8 Release Date: 03/30/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Franz Joseph Haydn,  Felix Mendelssohn
    Performer:  Gil Shaham
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  International Sejong Soloists
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  • 17.
    Mendelssohn: Octet / Amati String Orchestra
    Label: Brilliant Classics   Catalog: 93991 Release Date: 03/30/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Felix Mendelssohn
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Amati String Orchestra
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  • 18.
    Label: Brilliant Classics   Catalog: 93991 Release Date: 02/09/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Felix Mendelssohn
    Performer:  Alexander Hülshoff,  Ron Ephrat,  Jean Sassen,  Gil Sharon  ... 
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  • 19.
    Mendelssohn, Schubert: String Quartets / Alfiara & Alexander Quartets
    Label: Foghorn Classics   Catalog: 1995 Release Date: 01/12/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Felix Mendelssohn,  Franz Schubert
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Afiara Sring Quartet,  Alexander String Quartet
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  • 20.
    Mendelssohn, Enescu: Octets For Strings / Tetzlaff, Faust, Weithaas, Batiashvili
    Label: Cavi Music   Catalog: 8553163 Release Date: 09/08/2009   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Felix Mendelssohn,  George Enescu
    Performer:  Quirine Viersen,  Rachel Roberts,  Christian Tetzlaff,  Tanja Tetzlaff  ... 
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  • 21.
    Mendelssohn Edition, Vol. 5 - Keyboard & Chamber Works
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 4692674 Release Date: 07/13/2009   Number of Discs: 5
    Composer:  Felix Mendelssohn
    Performer:  Annie D’arco,  Marie-Claire Alain,  Olivier Charlier,  Maxim Vengerov  ... 
    Conductor:  Lawrence Foster
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Fontenay Trio,  Kreuzberger String Quartet,  Éder String Quartet  ... 
    CD: $29.99
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  • 22.
    Musik Festival Davos - Young Artists In Concert
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 68353 Release Date: 05/22/2009   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Felix Mendelssohn,  Ernst Toch,  Francis Poulenc,  Sergei Prokofiev  ... 
    Performer:  Françoise Groben,  Guido Schiefen,  Anthony Marwood,  Douglas Paterson  ... 
    Conductor:  Jürg Henneberger
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Davos Music Festival Chamber Ensemble
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  • 23.
    The Heifetz Collection Vol 35 - Mendelssohn, Gershwin, Et Al
    Label: Rca Victor Gold Seal   Catalog: 61766 Release Date: 05/08/2009   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Felix Mendelssohn,  Ernst Toch,  Sergei Rachmaninov,  Robert Russell Bennett  ... 
    Performer:  Arnold Belnick,  Jascha Heifetz,  Israel Baker,  Joseph Stepansky  ... 
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  • 24.
    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  ... 
    CD: $17.99
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  • 25.
    Mendelssohn: Violin Concerto, Octet / Zukerman, St Paul
    Label: Philips   Catalog: 412212 Release Date: 02/21/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Felix Mendelssohn
    Performer:  Pinchas Zukerman
    Conductor:  Pinchas Zukerman
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  St. Paul Chamber Orchestra
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