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 4 & 5, Hebrides / Gardner
Release Date: 02/25/2014   Label: Chandos  
Catalog: 5132   Number of Discs: 1
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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: 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: Double Concerto, Octet / Tognetti, Leschenko, Australian Chamber Orchestra
Release Date: 03/26/2013   Label: Bis  
Catalog: 1984   Number of Discs: 1
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Work: On the Wings of Song (Auf Flügeln des Gesanges)

Browse 101-113 of 113 Available Recordings
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  • 101.
    The Maiden's Prayer - Leaves From Grandmother's Piano Album
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 8550646 Release Date: 12/13/1994   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Zdenék Fibich,  Christian Sinding,  Leon Jessel,  Fritz Kreisler  ... 
    Performer:  Balázs Szokolay,  Péter Nagy,  Ilona Prunyi
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  • 102.
    The World's Most Beautiful Melodies Vol 5 / Phillip Mccann
    Label: Chandos   Catalog: 4532 Release Date: 09/20/1994   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Vittorio Monti,  Sergei Rachmaninov,  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Gabriel Fauré  ... 
    Performer:  Phillip McCann,  Simon Lindley
    Conductor:  Major Peter Parkes
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Sellers Engineering Band,  Huddersfield Choral Society
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  • 103.
    Ringing Clear- The Art Of Handbell Ringing
    Label: Saydisc   Catalog: 333 Release Date: 04/20/1994   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johannes Brahms,  Traditional,  Felix Mendelssohn
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Sounds in Brass,  Launton Handbells,  Four in Hand Handbells  ... 
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  • 104.
    Solflöjt 4 / Gunilla Von Bahr
    Label: Bis   Catalog: 350 Release Date: 03/25/1994   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Carl Nielsen,  François Joseph Gossec,  Atli Heimir Sveinsson,  Jean Sibelius  ... 
    Performer:  Gunilla Von Bahr,  Karin Langebo
    Conductor:  Jan Olav Wedin
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Musica Vitae
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  • 105.
    Heinrich Schlusnus - Liederalbum Vol I
    Label: Preiser Records   Catalog: 89205 Release Date: 03/18/1994   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Hans Hermann,  Hugo Wolf,  Julius Hermann Wetzel,  Felix Weingartner  ... 
    Performer:  Franz Rupp,  Heinrich Schlusnus
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  • 106.
    Michael Lewis Plays Liszt
    Label: Centaur Records   Catalog: 2066 Release Date: 11/04/1993   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Felix Mendelssohn,  Franz Liszt,  Frédéric Chopin,  Franz Schubert
    Performer:  Michael Lewis
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  • 107.
    Mendelssohn: Lieder / Barbara Bonney, Geoffrey Parsons
    Label: Teldec   Catalog: 44946 Release Date: 01/12/1993   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Felix Mendelssohn
    Performer:  Barbara Bonney,  Geoffrey Parsons
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  • 108.
    Serenade / Tommy Reilly, Asmf Chamber Ensemble
    Label: Chandos   Catalog: 8486 Release Date: 10/28/1992   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  George Martin,  Traditional,  Felix Mendelssohn,  Claude Debussy  ... 
    Performer:  Tommy Reilly
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields Chamber Ens.
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  • 109.
    Ave Maria / Kiri Te Kanawa, Choir Of St. Paul's Cathedral
    Label: Philips   Catalog: 412629 Release Date: 10/25/1990   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Henry Purcell,  Franz Schubert,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Felix Mendelssohn  ... 
    Performer:  Dame Kiri Te Kanawa,  Thelma Owen,  Crispian Steele-Perkins,  Neil Black  ... 
    Conductor:  Barry Rose
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  St. Paul's Cathedral Choir,  English Chamber Orchestra
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  • 110.
    Humoresque - Favorite Violin Encores / Isaac Stern
    Label: Cbs Masterworks Digital Masters   Catalog: 45816 Release Date: 03/09/1990   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Aaron Copland,  Franz Schubert,  Antonín Dvorák,  Sergei Rachmaninov  ... 
    Performer:  Isaac Stern
    Conductor:  Milton Katims,  Frank Brieff
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Columbia Symphony Orchestra
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  • 111.
    Songs Of Inspiration / Te Kanawa, Rudel, Mormon Tabernacle
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 425431 Release Date: 10/23/1989   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Strauss Jr.,  J. T. White,  Felix Mendelssohn,  Ludwig van Beethoven  ... 
    Performer:  Dame Kiri Te Kanawa
    Conductor:  Julius Rudel
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Utah Symphony Orchestra,  Mormon Tabernacle Choir
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  • 112.
    A Song Of Yorkshire / Mccann, Sellers Engineering Band
    Label: Chandos   Catalog: 4515 Release Date: 01/01/1970   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  John Newton,  Engelbert Humperdinck,  William Steffe,  May Brahe  ... 
    Performer:  Simon Lindley,  Thomas Hamilton,  Samuel Parker,  Brian Winterbottom  ... 
    Conductor:  Phillip McCann
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Sellers Engineering Band,  Leeds Parish Church Boys' Choir,  Honley Male Voice Choir
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