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: Midsummer Night's Dream, Piano Concertos / Chailly
Release Date: 06/17/2014   Label: Decca  
Catalog: 002082502   Number of Discs: 1
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Mendelssohn, Adams: Violin Concertos / Jarvi, Hoopes,  Leipzig Radio Symphony Orchestra
Release Date: 05/27/2014   Label: Naive  
Catalog: 5368   Number of Discs: 1
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Mendelssohn: The Complete Solo Piano Music, Vol. 2 / Howard Shelley
Release Date: 07/08/2014   Label: Hyperion  
Catalog: 68059   Number of Discs: 1
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Mendelssohn: 5 Symphonies, 7 Overtures / Abbado, London So
Release Date: 05/14/2002   Label: Deutsche Grammophon  
Catalog: 471467   Number of Discs: 4
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Mendelssohn: String Quartets / Vogler Quartet
Release Date: 08/16/2005   Label: Profil  
Catalog: 4091   Number of Discs: 1
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Work: Italian Symphony

Browse 76-100 of 170 Available Recordings
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  • 76.
    Famous Mendelssohn Recordings
    Label: Dutton Laboratories/Vocalion   Catalog: 9781 Release Date: 05/13/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Felix Mendelssohn
    Performer:  Ania Dorfmann
    Conductor:  Walter Goehr,  Charles Munch,  Sir Hamilton Harty
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra,  Orchestre de la Société du Conservatoire Paris,  Hallé Orchestra
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  • 77.
    Mendelssohn: Meisterwerke
    Label: Delta Ent.   Catalog: 772847 Release Date: 04/08/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Felix Mendelssohn
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  • 78.
    Mendelssohn: Symphony No 4, A Midsummer Night's Dream / Mackerras
    Label: Virgin Classics   Catalog: 90725 Release Date: 04/07/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Felix Mendelssohn
    Conductor:  Sir Charles Mackerras
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment
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  • 79.
    Mendelssohn Symphonies Vol 2 / Fey, Heidelberg So
    Label: Hänssler Classic   Catalog: 98281 Release Date: 03/11/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Felix Mendelssohn
    Conductor:  Thomas Fey
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Heidelberg Symphony
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  • 80.
    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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  • 81.
    Mendelssohn: Symphony No 4; Schubert: Symphony No 9 / Tennstedt
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 09022 Release Date: 02/12/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Franz Schubert,  Felix Mendelssohn
    Conductor:  Klaus Tennstedt
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 82.
    Mendelssohn; Schumann: Symphonies Nos 3 And 4
    Label: Virgin Classics   Catalog: 349983 Release Date: 01/13/2008  
    Composer:  Felix Mendelssohn,  Robert Schumann
    Conductor:  Roger Norrington
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Classical Players
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  • 83.
    Beethoven: Symphony No 7;  Mendelssohn, Wolf / Steinberg
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 65611 Release Date: 11/13/2007   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Felix Mendelssohn,  Hugo Wolf
    Performer:  Godfrey Layefsky
    Conductor:  William Steinberg
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra
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  • 84.
    Mendelssohn: Symphonies No 3 & 4 / Bychkov, London Po
    Label: Philips   Catalog: 438304 Release Date: 11/13/2007   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Felix Mendelssohn
    Conductor:  Semyon Bychkov
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 85.
    Sir Georg Solti - The Maestro
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 001010909 Release Date: 11/13/2007   Number of Discs: 4
    Composer:  Hector Berlioz,  Leó Weiner,  Zoltán Kodály,  Richard Strauss  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir Georg Solti
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Chicago Symphony Orchestra
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  • 86.
    The Kondrashin Recordings - Brahms, Mendelssohn: Symphonies
    Label: Philips   Catalog: 438278 Release Date: 11/13/2007   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johannes Brahms,  Felix Mendelssohn
    Conductor:  Kiril Kondrashin
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra
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  • 87.
    Mendelssohn: Symphonies No 3 & 4 / Claudio Abbado, London So
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 000993902 Release Date: 10/09/2007   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Felix Mendelssohn
    Conductor:  Claudio Abbado
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra
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  • 88.
    Schubert: Symphony No 9; Mendelssohn: Symphony No 4 / Tennstedt, Berlin Philharmonic
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 64085 Release Date: 09/24/2007   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Felix Mendelssohn,  Franz Schubert
    Conductor:  Klaus Tennstedt
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 89.
    Mendelssohn: Symphony No 4, Etc / Wordsworth, London So
    Label: Virgin Classics   Catalog: 91372 Release Date: 08/14/2007   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Felix Mendelssohn
    Conductor:  Barry Wordsworth
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra
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  • 90.
    Mendelsohn: Symphony No 4, Etc / Bramall, Slovak Po
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 8550055 Release Date: 07/23/2007   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Felix Mendelssohn
    Conductor:  Anthony Bramall
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Slovak Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 91.
    Mendelssohn: Scottish & Italian Symphonies / Munch, Bso
    Label: Rca Silver Seal   Catalog: 60483 Release Date: 07/23/2007   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Felix Mendelssohn
    Conductor:  Charles Munch
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Boston Symphony Orchestra
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  • 92.
    Mendelssohn: Symphony Nos 3 & 4 / Norrington, London Players
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 54000 Release Date: 05/31/2007   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Felix Mendelssohn
    Conductor:  Roger Norrington
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Classical Players
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  • 93.
    Gemini - Mendelssohn: Symphonies No 3-5, Etc / Muti, Et Al
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 81788 Release Date: 04/24/2007   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Felix Mendelssohn
    Conductor:  Riccardo Muti,  Moshe Atzmón
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  New Philharmonia Orchestra
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  • 94.
    Anthology Of The Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra Vol 4 1970-80
    Label: Rco Live   Catalog: 6004 Release Date: 04/10/2007   Number of Discs: 14
    Composer:  André Caplet,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Anton Bruckner,  Maarten Bon  ... 
    Performer:  Jean Decroos,  Maurice André,  Vera Badings,  Werner Herbers  ... 
    Conductor:  Jean Fournet,  Nikolaus Harnoncourt,  Carlo Maria Giulini,  Bernard Haitink  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra,  Marinus Choir,  NCRV Vocal Ensemble  ... 
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  • 95.
    Sunday Evenings With Pierre Monteux - California 1941-52
    Label: Music & Arts Programs Of America   Catalog: 1192 Release Date: 03/13/2007   Number of Discs: 13
    Composer:  Sir William Walton,  Olivier Messiaen,  Carl Maria von Weber,  Gioachino Rossini  ... 
    Performer:  Dorothy Warenskjold,  William Kapell,  Boris Blinder,  Naum Blinder  ... 
    Conductor:  Pierre Monteux
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Standard Symphony Orchestra
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  • 96.
    Mendelssohn: Symphonies No 4 & 5 / Emmanuel Krivine, Et Al
    Label: Naive   Catalog: 5069 Release Date: 02/27/2007   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Felix Mendelssohn
    Conductor:  Emmanuel Krivine
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  La Chambre Philharmonique
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  • 97.
    Mendelssohn: Symphonies No 3 & 4 / Belohlavek
    Label: Supraphon   Catalog: 3876 Release Date: 10/31/2006   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Felix Mendelssohn
    Conductor:  Jiri Belohlávek
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Prague Philharmonia
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  • 98.
    An Introduction To Felix Mendelssohn
    Label: Chandos   Catalog: 2025 Release Date: 09/19/2006   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Felix Mendelssohn
    Performer:  Howard Shelley
    Conductor:  Walter Weller,  Howard Shelley,  Sir Alexander Gibson,  Sir Charles Groves
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra,  London Mozart Players,  Royal Scottish National Orchestra  ... 
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  • 99.
    Mendelssohn: Symphonies, Piano Concertos, Etc / Masur, Et Al
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 62769 Release Date: 06/20/2006   Number of Discs: 5
    Composer:  Felix Mendelssohn
    Performer:  Cyprien Katsaris,  Christiane Oertel,  Edith Wiens,  Friedhelm Eberle
    Conductor:  Kurt Masur
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra,  Leipzig Radio Chorus
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  • 100.
    Mendelssohn: Symphonies No 3 & 4 / Solti, London Symphony Orchestra
    Label: Eloquence   Catalog: 4768459 Release Date: 05/23/2006   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Felix Mendelssohn
    Conductor:  Sir Georg Solti
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra,  Israel Philharmonic Orchestra
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