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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Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy: Organ Works - Overture Paulus, Reformation Symphony, Variations Serieuses
Release Date: 06/24/2014   Label: Md&g (Dabringhaus & Grimm)  
Catalog: 61853   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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Work: On the Wings of Song (Auf Flügeln des Gesanges)

Browse 1-25 of 113 Available Recordings
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  • 1.
    Simple Gifts / Yvonne Kenny, Vladimir Kamirski, Melbourne So
    Label: Abc Classics   Catalog: 4425092 Release Date: 06/10/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Antonín Dvorák,  Giacomo Puccini,  Léo Delibes,  Ivor Novello  ... 
    Performer:  Yvonne Kenny
    Conductor:  Melbourne Symphony Orches
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  • 2.
    Kiri Te Kanawa: The Classic Albums [6-CD Set]
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 002013002 Release Date: 04/01/2014   Number of Discs: 6
    Composer:  Joseph Canteloube,  Richard Strauss,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Gottfried H. Stölzel  ... 
    Performer:  Dame Kiri Te Kanawa,  Sir Georg Solti,  Gabriele Fontana,  Christopher Bowers-Broadbent  ... 
    Conductor:  Jeffrey Tate,  Sir Georg Solti,  Sir Colin Davis,  Gyorgy Fischer  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  English Chamber Orchestra,  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra,  London Philharmonic Orchestra  ... 
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  • 3.
    The Expressive Voice Of The Flute
    Label: Divine Art   Catalog: 21222 Release Date: 10/29/2013   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Ralph Vaughan Williams,  Sir Edward Elgar,  Howard Blake,  William Lloyd Webber  ... 
    Performer:  Kenneth Smith,  Paul Rhodes
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  • 4.
    Music For Bird Lovers
    Label: Gift Of Music   Catalog: 1269 Release Date: 03/26/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Antonio Vivaldi,  Louis-Claude Daquin,  Jean-Philippe Rameau,  Traditional  ... 
    Performer:  Martin Souter,  Ian Giles,  Matthew Spring,  James Gregory  ... 
    Conductor:  Alberto Lizzio,  David Croft,  Henry Adolph,  Julia Craig-McFeely
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Serendipity Singers
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  • 5.
    10 Classic Albums / Mischa Maisky [11-CD Set]
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 001801402 Release Date: 03/05/2013   Number of Discs: 11
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Charles Gounod,  George Frideric Handel,  Jean-Baptiste Lully  ... 
    Performer:  Mischa Maisky,  Pavel Gililov,  Daria Hovora,  Martha Argerich  ... 
    Conductor:  Giuseppe Sinopoli,  Michael Tilson Thomas,  Zubin Mehta
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra,  London Symphony Orchestra,  Orpheus Chamber Orchestra  ... 
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  • 6.
    Voci A Corde
    Label: Rondeau Productions   Catalog: 6061 Release Date: 09/25/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Fanny Mendelssohn-Hensel,  Felix Mendelssohn,  Louis Spohr,  Robert Schumann  ... 
    Performer:  Christine Wolff,  Maria Graf
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  • 7.
    A Romantic Songbook
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 001697602 Release Date: 07/24/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Franz Schubert,  Robert Schumann,  Felix Mendelssohn,  Hugo Wolf  ... 
    Performer:  Justus Zeyen,  Thomas Quasthoff
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  • 8.
    Best Of Mendelssohn
    Label: Berlin Classics   Catalog: 300341 Release Date: 07/10/2012   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Felix Mendelssohn
    Performer:  Staatskapelle Berlin,  Günther Herbig,  Kurt Masur,  Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra  ... 
    Conductor:  Günther Herbig,  Kurt Masur,  Gothart Stier,  Helmut Koch  ... 
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  • 9.
    Gedanken Der Liebe  / Jana Buchner, Eckart Sellheim, Brita Wiederanders
    Label: Cavi Music   Catalog: 7771056 Release Date: 04/10/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Franz Schubert,  Fanny Mendelssohn-Hensel,  Felix Mendelssohn  ... 
    Performer:  Jana Büchner,  Eckart Sellheim,  Brita Wiederanders,  Hans-peter Fieber
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  • 10.
    The Very Best Of Victoria De Los Angeles
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 679002 Release Date: 03/13/2012   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Giacomo Puccini,  Pietro Mascagni,  Ruggero Leoncavallo,  Alfredo Catalani  ... 
    Performer:  Victoria de los Angeles,  Jussi Björling,  Carlo del Monte,  Gerald Moore  ... 
    Conductor:  Gabriele Santini,  Sir Thomas Beecham,  Tullio Serafin,  Giuseppe Morelli  ... 
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  • 11.
    Petits Fours - Favourite Encores / Brodsky Quartet
    Label: Chandos   Catalog: 10708 Release Date: 02/28/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Pablo de Sarasate,  Manuel de Falla,  Sir Edward Elgar,  Antonín Dvorák  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Brodsky String Quartet
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  • 12.
    True North Harp Duo
    Label: Soundset   Catalog: 1034 Release Date: 12/13/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Felix Mendelssohn,  Jean-Philippe Rameau,  César Franck,  Claude Debussy  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  True North Harp Duo (Harp duo)
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  • 13.
    ME - On Wings Of Song / Konstantin Scherbakov
    Label: Twopianists (Label)   Catalog: 1039107 Release Date: 08/30/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Christoph W. Gluck,  Sigismund Thalberg,  Felix Mendelssohn,  Johannes Brahms  ... 
    Performer:  Konstantin Scherbakov
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  • 14.
    The Very Best Of Janet Baker
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 94717 Release Date: 07/26/2011   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel,  Felix Mendelssohn,  Johannes Brahms,  Maurice Duruflé  ... 
    Performer:  Dame Janet Baker,  Timothy Hugh,  John Butt,  Gerald Moore  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir Charles Mackerras,  Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos,  Sir Adrian Boult,  Philip Ledger  ... 
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  • 15.
    Peter Schreier: Songs And Arias
    Label: Berlin Classics   Catalog: 300222 Release Date: 06/14/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Peter Cornelius,  Franz Joseph Haydn,  Albert Lortzing,  Felix Mendelssohn  ... 
    Performer:  Karl-Dietfried Adam,  Peter Schreier,  Walter Olbertz,  Konrad Ragossnig  ... 
    Conductor:  Helmut Koch,  Siegfried Kurz,  Robert Hanell,  Kurt Sanderling  ... 
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  • 16.
    Label: Biruta Grunwald (Label)   Catalog: 5637706545 Release Date: 04/12/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Felix Mendelssohn,  Franz Schubert,  Camille Saint-Saëns,  Johannes Brahms  ... 
    Performer:  Biruta Grunwald
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  • 17.
    Icon - Elisabeth Schwarzkopf - Perfect Prima Donna
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 18459 Release Date: 03/22/2011   Number of Discs: 10
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Gottfried H. Stölzel,  George Frideric Handel,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart  ... 
    Performer:  J. Edward Merret,  Harold Jackson,  Geraint Jones,  Manoug Parikian  ... 
    Conductor:  Peter Gellhorn,  Otto Klemperer,  Thurston Dart,  Josef Krips  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra,  Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra,  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra  ... 
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  • 18.
    Des Madchens Klage: Lieder By Mendelssohn & Zelter
    Label: Musica Omnia   Catalog: 303 Release Date: 01/11/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Felix Mendelssohn,  Carl Friedrich Zelter
    Performer:  Tom Beghin,  Andrea Folan
    CD: $14.99
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  • 19.
    Tribute To Lionel Tertis & William Primrose
    Label: Crystal   Catalog: 630 Release Date: 10/26/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Franz Joseph Haydn,  Franz Liszt,  Carl Philipp Emmanuel Bach,  Niccolň Paganini  ... 
    Performer:  Katherine Collier,  Yizhak Schotten
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  • 20.
    Julia Culp - Lieder Recordings 1909-1926
    Label: Hafg   Catalog: 10061 Release Date: 10/15/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Anton Rubinstein,  Charles Edward Horn,  Claude Debussy,  Hugo Wolf  ... 
    Performer:  Julia Culp,  Otto Bake
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  • 21.
    Lieder / Slezak, Schlusnus, Rehkemper, Manowarda
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 459008 Release Date: 07/30/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johannes Brahms,  Hugo Wolf,  Robert Schumann,  Franz Schubert  ... 
    Performer:  Leo Slezak,  Heinrich Schacker,  Franz Rupp,  Heinrich Schlusnus  ... 
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  • 22.
    Mendelssohn: Works For Cello And Piano / Muller-Schott, Gilad
    Label: Orfeo   Catalog: 750101 Release Date: 07/27/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Felix Mendelssohn
    Performer:  Daniel Müller-Schott,  Jonathan Gilad
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  • 23.
    Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau 85th Birthday - The Great EMI Recordings
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 56352 Release Date: 04/06/2010   Number of Discs: 11
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi,  Hugo Wolf,  Edvard Grieg,  Franz Schubert  ... 
    Performer:  Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau
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  • 24.
    Brana Records Collection, Vol. 2
    Label: Brana Records   Catalog: 31 Release Date: 03/30/2010   Number of Discs: 5
    Composer:  Alessandro Scarlatti,  Giovanni Battista Pergolesi,  Leonardo Vinci,  Felix Mendelssohn  ... 
    Performer:  Annette Céline,  Felicja Blumental
    Conductor:  Alberto Zedda,  Theodor Guschlbauer,  Michiyoshi Inoue,  Jörg Faerber
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  • 25.
    Cellobration / Amit Peled, Eliza Ching
    Label: Centaur Records   Catalog: 3047 Release Date: 03/30/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Felix Mendelssohn,  Karl Davidov,  Henry Eccles,  Enrique Granados  ... 
    Performer:  Amit Peled,  Eliza Ching
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