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: Italian Symphony

Browse 26-50 of 133 Available Recordings
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  • 26.
    Decca Sound - The Analogue Years
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 001934702 Release Date: 11/19/2013   Number of Discs: 54
    Composer:  Camille Saint-Saëns,  Anton Bruckner,  Arnold Schoenberg,  Giuseppe Verdi  ... 
    Performer:  Pascal Rogé,  Dame Joan Sutherland,  Marilyn Horne,  Luciano Pavarotti  ... 
    Conductor:  Charles Dutoit,  Sir Georg Solti,  Bernard Haitink,  Horst Stein  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra,  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra,  Chicago Symphony Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $181.49
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  • 27.
    Celibidache - The Berlin Recordings 1945-1957
    Label: Audite   Catalog: 21423 Release Date: 10/29/2013   Number of Discs: 13
    Composer:  Samuel Barber,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Hector Berlioz,  Georges Bizet  ... 
    Performer:  Raoul Koczalski
    Conductor:  Sergiu Celibidache
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra,  Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra
    CD: $58.99
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  • 28.
    Mendelssohn: Symphony No. 4
    Label: United Classics   Catalog: 2013009 Release Date: 08/27/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Felix Mendelssohn
    Conductor:  Charles Munch
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  • 29.
    Claudio Abbado – The Decca Years
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 001847802 Release Date: 06/18/2013   Number of Discs: 7
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Johannes Brahms,  Anton Bruckner,  Felix Mendelssohn  ... 
    Performer:  James King,  Leslie Fyson,  Nicolai Ghiaurov
    Conductor:  Claudio Abbado
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra,  New Philharmonia Orchestra,  Ambrosian Chorus  ... 
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  • 30.
    Mendelssohn: Violin Concerto In E Minor, Op. 64; Symphony No. 4 In A Major, Op. 90 'italian'
    Label: Centaur Records   Catalog: 3287 Release Date: 05/28/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Felix Mendelssohn
    Performer:  Zsolt Kalló
    Conductor:  Nicholas McGegan
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  • 31.
    Brahms: Symphony No 4; Mendelssohn: Symphony No 4 / Boult
    Label: Ica Classics   Catalog: 5093 Release Date: 02/26/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johannes Brahms,  Felix Mendelssohn
    Conductor:  Sir Adrian Boult
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  BBC Symphony Orchestra,  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
    CD: $17.99
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  • 32.
    Romantic Symphonies & Overtures / Klemperer
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 404309 Release Date: 11/06/2012   Number of Discs: 10
    Composer:  Franz Schubert,  Antonín Dvorák,  Felix Mendelssohn,  Robert Schumann  ... 
    Performer:  Dame Janet Baker,  Heather Harper
    Conductor:  Otto Klemperer
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra,  Philharmonia Chorus,  New Philharmonia Orchestra
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  • 33.
    Beethoven: Symphony No. 3
    Label: Tafelmusik Media   Catalog: 1019 Release Date: 10/30/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Felix Mendelssohn,  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Conductor:  Bruno Weil
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Tafelmusik Orchestra
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  • 34.
    Mendelssohn: Complete Symphonies, String Symphonies, Concertos / Markiz, Litton
    Label: Bis   Catalog: 2002 Release Date: 10/30/2012   Number of Discs: 11
    Composer:  Felix Mendelssohn
    Performer:  Jennifer Larmore,  Judith Howarth,  Christoph Prégardien,  Isabelle van Keulen  ... 
    Conductor:  Andrew Litton,  Lev Markiz
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra,  Amsterdam Sinfonietta
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  • 35.
    Leopold Stokowski - The Columbia Stereo Recordings
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 197115 Release Date: 09/11/2012   Number of Discs: 10
    Composer:  Manuel de Falla,  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Charles Ives  ... 
    Performer:  Shirley Verrett,  Fernando Valenti,  Anshel Brusilow,  William Kincaid  ... 
    Conductor:  Leopold Stokowski,  Gregg Smith
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philadelphia Orchestra,  American Symphony Orchestra,  Schola Cantorum New York members  ... 
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  • 36.
    Mendelssohn: 'Scottish' And 'Italian' Symphonies / Laredo, Scottish Chamber Orchestra
    Label: Nimbus   Catalog: 7085 Release Date: 08/14/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Felix Mendelssohn
    Conductor:  Jaime Laredo
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Scottish Chamber Orchestra
    CD: $14.99
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  • 37.
    Mendelssohn: Violin Concerto; Symphony No. 4 'italian'
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 001706902 Release Date: 07/24/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Felix Mendelssohn
    Performer:  Kyung-Wha Chung
    Conductor:  Christoph von Dohnányi,  Charles Dutoit
    CD: $6.99
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  • 38.
    Mendelssohn: A Midsummer Night's Dream, Symphony No 4 / Abbado
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 62826 Release Date: 06/29/2012   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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  • 39.
    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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  • 40.
    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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  • 41.
    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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  • 42.
    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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  • 43.
    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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  • 44.
    Icon - Guido Cantelli: Fiery Angel Of The Podium
    Label: Warner 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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  • 45.
    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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  • 46.
    Mendelssohn: Symphony No. 4
    Label: Archipel   Catalog: 140 Release Date: 01/01/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Felix Mendelssohn,  Georges Bizet
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  • 47.
    Mendelssohn: Symphony No. 4 'italian';  Schubert: Symphony No. 4 'tragic'
    Label: Archipel   Catalog: 096 Release Date: 01/01/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Franz Schubert,  Felix Mendelssohn
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  • 48.
    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
    DVD: $24.99
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  • 49.
    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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  • 50.
    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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