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 26-50 of 52 Available Recordings
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  • 26.
    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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  • 27.
    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  ... 
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  • 28.
    Musik Festival Davos - Young Artists In Concert
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 68353 Release Date: 05/07/2009   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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  • 29.
    The Heifetz Collection Vol 35 - Mendelssohn, Gershwin, Et Al
    Label: Rca Victor Gold Seal   Catalog: 61766 Release Date: 04/22/2009   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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  • 30.
    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  ... 
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  • 31.
    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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  • 32.
    Mendelssohn: Violin Concerto / Daniel Hope
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 001038202 Release Date: 01/22/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Felix Mendelssohn
    Performer:  Sebastian Knauer,  Daniel Hope,  William Conway,  Pascal Siffert  ... 
    Conductor:  Thomas Hengelbrock
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Chamber Orchestra of Europe
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  • 33.
    Beethoven, Mendelssohn, Schubert: Octets / Melos Ensemble
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 50864 Release Date: 05/02/2006   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Franz Schubert,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Felix Mendelssohn
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Melos Ensemble London
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  • 34.
    Mendelssohn, Bruch: Octets / Kodály Quartet, Auer Quartet
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 8557270 Release Date: 04/18/2006   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Felix Mendelssohn,  Max Bruch
    Performer:  Zsolt Fejérvári
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Kodály String Quartet,  Auer String Quartet
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  • 35.
    Mendelssohn: String Octet, Etc / Prazak Quartet, Et Al
    Label: Praga   Catalog: 250221 Release Date: 11/08/2005   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Felix Mendelssohn
    Performer:  Jaromír Klepác,  Jiri Hudec
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Prazák String Quartet,  Kocian String Quartet
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  • 36.
    Dvorak, Mendelssohn: Works / Shanghai, Bartok Quartets
    Label: Camerata Records   Catalog: 28059 Release Date: 06/28/2005   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Antonín Dvorák,  Felix Mendelssohn
    Performer:  Jiang Yiwen,  Li Hong-Gang,  Li Wei-Gang,  Nicholas Tzavaras  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Shanghai String Quartet,  Bartók String Quartet
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  • 37.
    Mendelssohn: The Complete String Quartets / Emerson Quartet
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 000388802 Release Date: 01/11/2005   Number of Discs: 4
    Composer:  Felix Mendelssohn
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Emerson String Quartet
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  • 38.
    Mendelssohn: Complete String Quartets Vol 4 /Leipzig Quartet
    Label: Md&g (Dabringhaus & Grimm) Gold   Catalog: 3071057 Release Date: 05/25/2004   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Felix Mendelssohn
    Performer:  Matthias Wollong,  Hartmut Rohde,  Yamei Yu,  Michael Sanderling
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Leipzig String Quartet
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  • 39.
    Mendelssohn: Complete Works For Piano 4 Hands / Uriarte, Etc
    Label: Arts Music   Catalog: 47622 Release Date: 07/29/2003   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Felix Mendelssohn
    Performer:  Begońa Uriarte,  Karl-Hermann Mrongovius
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  • 40.
    Mendelssohn: Octet, Sextet / Lincoln Center Society
    Label: Delos   Catalog: 3266 Release Date: 11/26/2002   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Felix Mendelssohn
    Performer:  Edgar Meyer,  David Golub,  Paul Neubauer,  Toby Hoffman  ... 
    Conductor:  David Shifrin
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center
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  • 41.
    Label: Supraphon   Catalog: 3602 Release Date: 03/26/2002   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Felix Mendelssohn
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Suk Trio
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  • 42.
    Mendelssohn: Octet, String Quartet No 1; Spohr / Eder, Kreuzberger
    Label: Apex   Catalog: 3890892 Release Date: 06/25/2001   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Felix Mendelssohn,  Louis Spohr
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Éder String Quartet,  Kreuzberg String Quartet
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  • 43.
    Mendelssohn Octet / Enescu Octet / Boston Chamber Music Society
    Label: Boston Chamber Music Society   Catalog: 5637218533 Release Date: 06/05/2001   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Felix Mendelssohn,  George Enescu
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Boston Chamber Music Society
    CD: $23.99
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  • 44.
    Auryn Series 7
    Label: Tacet   Catalog: 94 Release Date: 04/30/2001   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Felix Mendelssohn
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Minguet Quartett,  Auryn String Quartet
    CD: $21.49
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  • 45.
    Auryn Series 7
    Label: Tacet   Catalog: 94 Release Date: 04/20/2001   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Felix Mendelssohn
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Auryn String Quartet,  Minguet Quartett
    DVD Audio: $24.99
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  • 46.
    Tchaikovsky, Mendelssohn / Spalding, Philadelphia Virtuosi
    Label: Connoisseur Society   Catalog: 4217 Release Date: 10/27/2000   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Felix Mendelssohn,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
    Conductor:  Daniel Spalding
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philadelphia Virtuosi Chamber Orchestra
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  • 47.
    Mendelssohn, Bargiel: Octets / Divertimenti
    Label: Helios   Catalog: 55043 Release Date: 08/15/2000   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Woldemar Bargiel,  Felix Mendelssohn
    Performer:  Miranda Fulleylove,  Robin Ireland,  Rachel Isserlis,  Josephine Horder  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Divertimenti
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  • 48.
    Rossini: The Complete String Sonatas;  Et Al / I Musici
    Label: Philips Duo   Catalog: 456330 Release Date: 08/12/1997   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Gioachino Rossini,  Felix Mendelssohn,  Giovanni Bottesini,  Hugo Wolf
    Performer:  Luciano Vicari,  Lucio Buccarella
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  I Musici
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  • 49.
    Mendelssohn, Raff: Octets / Asmf Chamber Ensemble
    Label: Chandos   Catalog: 8790 Release Date: 10/28/1992   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Joachim Raff,  Felix Mendelssohn
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields Chamber Ens.
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  • 50.
    Marlboro Fest 40th Anniversary - Mendelssohn: Symphony No 4
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 46251 Release Date: 07/01/1991   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Felix Mendelssohn
    Performer:  Jaime Laredo,  Alexander Schneider,  Arnold Steinhardt,  John Dalley  ... 
    Conductor:  Pablo Casals
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Marlboro Festival Orchestra
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