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 Nos. 1 & 4 / Gardiner, London Symphony
Release Date: 09/09/2016   Label: Lso Live  
Catalog: 0769   Number of Discs: 2
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Mendelssohn & Schumann: Violin Concertos / Widmann, Chamber Orchestra of Europe
Release Date: 09/09/2016   Label: Ecm  
Catalog: 002552402   Number of Discs: 1
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Mendelssohn: String Quartets, Op. 44 Nos. 1 & 3 / Parker Quartet
Release Date: 09/09/2016   Label: Nimbus  
Catalog: NI6327   Number of Discs: 1
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Mendelssohn: String Quartets Nos. 5 & 6 / Escher String Quartet
Release Date: 09/09/2016   Label: Bis  
Catalog: 2160   Number of Discs: 1
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Die Singphoniker - Singphonic Mendelssohn
Release Date: 09/20/1994   Label: Cpo  
Catalog: 999091   Number of Discs: 1
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Work: Octet for Strings in E flat major, Op. 20

Browse 1-25 of 52 Available Recordings
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  • 1.
    It's Me: The Baroque & Romantic Albums / Hope
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 002565102 Release Date: 10/14/2016   Number of Discs: 4
    Composer:  Andrea Falconieri,  George Frideric Handel,  Diego Ortiz,  Biagio Marini  ... 
    Performer:  Stephan Rath,  Kristian Bezuidenhout,  Lorenza Borrani,  Daniel Hope  ... 
    Conductor:  Thomas Hengelbrock,  Sakari Oramo
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Chamber Orchestra of Europe,  Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra
    CD: $25.49
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  • 2.
    Jascha Heifetz: The Complete Stereo Collection (Remastered)
    Label: Rca   Catalog: 309534 Release Date: 08/26/2016   Number of Discs: 24
    Composer:  Johannes Brahms,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Felix Mendelssohn  ... 
    Performer:  Jascha Heifetz
    On sale! $99.98
    CD: $95.99
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  • 3.
    The Magic of Jascha Heifetz (Remastered)
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 503224 Release Date: 08/26/2016   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Henri Vieuxtemps,  Alexander Glazunov,  Sergei Prokofiev,  Felix Mendelssohn  ... 
    Performer:  Jascha Heifetz,  Israel Baker,  Arnold Belnick,  Virginia Majewski  ... 
    CD: $19.99
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  • 4.
    Pinchas Zukerman: Complete Recordings on DG, Decca, & Philips
    Label: Dg Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 002514302 Release Date: 07/22/2016   Number of Discs: 22
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Antonio Vivaldi,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Franz Schubert  ... 
    Performer:  Pinchas Zukerman,  Midori,  Daniel Barenboim,  Marc Neikrug  ... 
    Conductor:  Pinchas Zukerman,  Daniel Barenboim,  Charles Dutoit,  Pierre Boulez  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra,  St. Paul Chamber Orchestra,  Chicago Symphony Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $78.99
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  • 5.
    Emerson String Quartet: Complete Recordings on Deutsche Grammophon
    Label: Dg Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 002514572 Release Date: 07/15/2016   Number of Discs: 52
    Composer:  Franz Schubert,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Béla Bartók,  Claude Debussy  ... 
    Performer:  Carol Wincenc,  Mstislav Rostropovich,  Thomas Hampson,  Menahem Pressler  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Emerson String Quartet
    On sale! $167.98
    CD: $159.99
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  • 6.
    Purple Classics Presents: Elegant Dinner Music
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 8578328 Release Date: 06/17/2016   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Franz Schubert,  Felix Mendelssohn  ... 
    Performer:  Wolfgang Rübsam,  István Tóth,  Jenö Jandó,  Dong-Suk Kang  ... 
    Conductor:  Petter Sundkvist,  Béla Drahos
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Swedish Chamber Orchestra,  Kodály String Quartet,  Auer String Quartet  ... 
    CD: $9.99
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  • 7.
    The Decca Sound [Repackaged Edition]
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 002434502 Release Date: 01/29/2016   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: $181.49
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  • 8.
    Mendelssohn Bartholdy: Complete Chamber Music For Strings
    Label: Audite   Catalog: 21436 Release Date: 08/14/2015   Number of Discs: 4
    Composer:  Felix Mendelssohn
    Performer:  Gunther Teuffel
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Mandelring Quartet,  Quartetto di Cremona
    CD: $29.99
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  • 9.
    Decca Sound  – Mono Years 1944 -1956
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 002280602 Release Date: 04/07/2015   Number of Discs: 53
    Composer:  Igor Stravinsky,  Maurice Ravel,  Sergei Rachmaninov,  Claude Debussy  ... 
    Performer:  Wilhelm Backhaus,  Clifford Curzon,  Alfredo Campoli,  Henry Datyner  ... 
    Conductor:  Ernest Ansermet,  Ataulfo Argenta,  Roger Desormičre,  Karl Münchinger  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Suisse Romande Orchestra,  Paris Conservatoire Orchestra,  Orchestre de la Société du Conservatoire Paris  ... 
    CD: $213.99
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  • 10.
    Felix Mendelssohn: Works For Piano Duo
    Label: Genuin Classics   Catalog: 15359 Release Date: 02/10/2015   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Felix Mendelssohn
    Performer:  Jurgen Appell,  Babette Hierholzer
    CD: $18.99
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  • 11.
    The Argo Years / Marriner, Academy of St Martin in the Fields
    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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    CD: $98.99
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  • 12.
    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  ... 
    On sale! $119.98
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  • 13.
    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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  • 14.
    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  ... 
    CD: $68.99
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  • 15.
    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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  • 16.
    First Choice: Mendelssohn: Octet; String Quartet
    Label: Dg Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 001662502 Release Date: 04/10/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Felix Mendelssohn
    CD: $7.99
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  • 17.
    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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  • 18.
    Icon - The 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
    CD: $75.99
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  • 19.
    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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  • 20.
    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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  • 21.
    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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  • 22.
    Mendelssohn: Octet, String Symphony no 9 / Tognetti, Australian CO
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 57484 Release Date: 12/29/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Felix Mendelssohn
    Conductor:  Richard Tognetti
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Australian Chamber Orchestra
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  • 23.
    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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  • 24.
    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
    CD: $8.99
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  • 25.
    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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    CD: $14.99
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