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 1 & 4, Hebrides Overture
Release Date: 08/11/2009   Label: Arte Nova  
Catalog: 340260   Number of Discs: 1
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Mendelssohn: Piano Works / Kirschnereit
Release Date: 03/14/2006   Label: Arte Nova  
Catalog: 768080   Number of Discs: 1
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Mendelssohn: Violin Concertos / Ibragimova, Jurowski, Orchestra Of The Age Of Enlightenment
Release Date: 10/09/2012   Label: Hyperion  
Catalog: 67795   Number of Discs: 1
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Mendelssohn: String Quartets Vol 1 / Henschel Quartet
Release Date: 04/12/2005   Label: Arte Nova  
Catalog: 965210   Number of Discs: 1
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Mendelssohn: String Quartets Vol 2 / Henschel Quartet
Release Date: 09/13/2005   Label: Arte Nova  
Catalog: 577440   Number of Discs: 1
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Work: Italian Symphony

Browse 26-50 of 151 Available Recordings
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  • 26.
    Arturo Toscanini - The Complete RCA Collection [84 CDs + DVD]
    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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  • 27.
    Mendelssohn: A Midsummer Night's Dream, Symphony No 4 / Abbado
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 62826 Release Date: 07/06/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Felix Mendelssohn
    Performer:  Kenneth Branagh,  Angelika Kirchschlager,  Sylvia McNair
    Conductor:  Claudio Abbado
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra,  Ernst Senff Choir
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  • 28.
    Charles Munch Conducts Romantic Masterworks
    Label: Rca   Catalog: 826732 Release Date: 06/12/2012   Number of Discs: 8
    Composer:  Franz Schubert,  Felix Mendelssohn,  Johannes Brahms,  Robert Schumann
    Performer:  Gary Graffman,  Artur Rubinstein,  Jascha Heifetz
    Conductor:  Charles Munch
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Boston Symphony Orchestra
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  • 29.
    Label: Zyx Records   Catalog: 10132 Release Date: 05/25/2012   Number of Discs: 5
    Composer:  Felix Mendelssohn
    Performer:  Yehudi Menuhin,  Jascha Heifetz,  Rudolf Serkin,  Rita Streich  ... 
    Conductor:  Yehudi Menuhin,  Sir Thomas Beecham,  Alfred Scholz,  Eugene Ormandy  ... 
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  • 30.
    Mendelssohn: Symphonies Nos. 3 & 4; Schumann: Symphony No. 4 / Klemperer, Philharmonia Orchestra
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 55910 Release Date: 05/08/2012   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Felix Mendelssohn,  Robert Schumann
    Conductor:  Otto Klemperer
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra
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  • 31.
    Great Romantic Symphonies
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 8501057 Release Date: 04/24/2012   Number of Discs: 10
    Composer:  Franz Schubert,  Johannes Brahms,  Robert Schumann,  Felix Mendelssohn  ... 
    Performer:  Sidney Green,  Imrich Szabo
    Conductor:  Michael Halász,  Alexander Rahbari,  Antoni Wit,  Reinhard Seifried  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Slovak State Philharmonic Orchestra,  Failoni Orchestra Budapest,  Brussels Belgian Radio & TV Philharmonic Orchestra  ... 
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  • 32.
    Handel, Beethoven, Mendelssohn, Brittten / Marriner
    Label: Ica Classics   Catalog: 5064 Release Date: 03/27/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Felix Mendelssohn,  Benjamin Britten
    Performer:  Anthony Rolfe Johnson
    Conductor:  Sir Neville Marriner
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields
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  • 33.
    Icon - Guido Cantelli: Fiery Angel Of The Podium
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog:  6790432 Release Date: 03/13/2012   Number of Discs: 9
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Franz Schubert,  César Franck  ... 
    Performer:  Dennis Brain
    Conductor:  Guido Cantelli
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra,  NBC Symphony Orchestra,  Santa Cecilia Academy Rome Orchestra  ... 
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  • 34.
    Schubert: Symphony No. 4; Mendelssohn: Symphony No. 4
    Label: Gega New   Catalog: 355 Release Date: 03/13/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Franz Schubert,  Felix Mendelssohn
    Conductor:  Vladimir Ghiaurov
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  • 35.
    Mendelssohn: Symphony No. 4
    Label: Archipel   Catalog: ARPCD0140 Release Date: 01/01/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Felix Mendelssohn,  Georges Bizet
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  • 36.
    Mendelssohn: Symphony No. 4 'italian';  Schubert: Symphony No. 4 'tragic'
    Label: Archipel   Catalog: ARPCD0096 Release Date: 01/01/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Franz Schubert,  Felix Mendelssohn
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  • 37.
    Label: Archipel   Catalog: ARPCD0469 Release Date: 01/01/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Felix Mendelssohn,  George Frideric Handel,  Andrea Gabrieli
    Performer:  Jascha Heifetz
    Conductor:  Guido Cantelli
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  • 38.
    Mendelssohn: Symphonies 3 & 4 / Munch, Boston Symphony
    Label: Ica Classics   Catalog: 5039 Release Date: 10/25/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Felix Mendelssohn,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
    Conductor:  Charles Munch
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Boston Symphony Orchestra
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  • 39.
    Icon: William Steinberg
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 26486 Release Date: 10/11/2011   Number of Discs: 20
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Johannes Brahms,  Franz Joseph Haydn,  Franz Schubert  ... 
    Performer:  Nathan Milstein,  Rudolf Firkusny
    Conductor:  William Steinberg
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra,  Philharmonia Orchestra,  Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra
    CD: $63.99
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  • 40.
    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  ... 
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  • 41.
    Mendelssohn: Symphonies No 3 & 4 / Holliger, Musikkollegium Winterthur
    Label: Md&g (Dabringhaus & Grimm)   Catalog: 901163 Release Date: 09/13/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Felix Mendelssohn
    Conductor:  Heinz Holliger
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Musikkollegium Winterthur
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  • 42.
    Mendelssohn: Symphonies Nos. 3 & 4 / Harnoncourt, Chamber Orchestra Of Europe
    Label: Apex   Catalog: 673910 Release Date: 08/30/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Felix Mendelssohn
    Conductor:  Nikolaus Harnoncourt
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Chamber Orchestra of Europe
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  • 43.
    Mendelssohn: Symphonies 3, 4 & 5; Liszt: Les Preludes / Muti
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 97972 Release Date: 08/09/2011   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Felix Mendelssohn,  Franz Liszt
    Conductor:  Riccardo Muti
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  New Philharmonia Orchestra,  Philadelphia Orchestra
    CD: $17.99
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  • 44.
    Mendelssohn: Symphonies Nos. 3 & 4 / Vasary, Philharmonia Orchestra
    Label: Musical Concepts   Catalog: 1140 Release Date: 07/12/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Felix Mendelssohn
    Conductor:  Tamás Vásáry
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra
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  • 45.
    Klaus Tennstedt - The Great EMI Recordings
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 94433 Release Date: 06/07/2011   Number of Discs: 14
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Johannes Brahms,  Anton Bruckner,  Richard Strauss  ... 
    Performer:  Jessye Norman,  Jorma Hynninen
    Conductor:  Klaus Tennstedt
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra,  BBC Symphony Chorus,  London Philharmonic Choir  ... 
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  • 46.
    Mendelssohn: Symphony No 4; Schubert: Symphony No 5 / Brown, Norwegian CO
    Label: Naim Audio   Catalog: 26 Release Date: 02/08/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Franz Schubert,  Felix Mendelssohn
    Conductor:  Iona Brown
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Norwegian Chamber Orchestra
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  • 47.
    Mussorgsky: Pictures; Mendelssohn: Symphony No 4 / Masur, Gewandhausorchester Leipzig
    Label: Kultur Video   Catalog: 4562 Release Date: 01/25/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Modest Mussorgsky,  Felix Mendelssohn
    Conductor:  Kurt Masur
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra
    On sale! $19.99
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  • 48.
    The Israel Philharmonic Orchestra 70th Anniversary - Essential Recordings [12-CD Set]
    Label: Helicon   Catalog: 9614 Release Date: 12/07/2010   Number of Discs: 12
    Composer:  Felix Mendelssohn,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Franz Schubert,  Jules Massenet  ... 
    Performer:  Shlomo Mintz,  Julius Katchen,  Artur Rubinstein,  Daniel Barenboim  ... 
    Conductor:  Paul Kletzki,  Josef Krips,  Sir Georg Solti,  Jean Martinon  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Israel Philharmonic Orchestra,  Ankor Children's Chorus,  Israel Philharmonia Singers
    On sale! $99.98
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  • 49.
    Nikolaus Harnoncourt: The Symphony Collection
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 690049 Release Date: 10/26/2010   Number of Discs: 5
    Composer:  Franz Joseph Haydn,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Franz Schubert  ... 
    Conductor:  Nikolaus Harnoncourt
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra,  Chamber Orchestra of Europe,  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra  ... 
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  • 50.
    Mendelssohn: Complete Symphonies / Dohnanyi, Vienna Philharmonic [4-CD Collector's Edition]
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 001480002 Release Date: 10/19/2010   Number of Discs: 4
    Composer:  Felix Mendelssohn
    Performer:  Josef Böch,  Edita Gruberova,  Sona Ghazarian,  Horst Laubenthal  ... 
    Conductor:  Christoph von Dohnányi
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra,  Vienna State Opera Chorus,  Vienna Singverein
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