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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: Songs Without Words / Javier Perianes
Release Date: 11/11/2014   Label: Harmonia Mundi  
Catalog: 902195   Number of Discs: 1
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Mendelssohn: Symphony no 3, Hebrides; Schumann: Piano Concerto / Pires, Gardiner [SACD+Blu-ray]
Release Date: 10/14/2014   Label: Lso Live  
Catalog: 765   Number of Discs: 1
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Mendelssohn: Christus / Piau, Equilbey, Accentus
Release Date: 01/31/2012   Label: Naive  
Catalog: 5265   Number of Discs: 1
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Reger, Schulhoff, Sherwood, Debussy, Mendelssohn - Piano For Four Hands / Matthias Veit , Henning Lucius
Release Date: 12/09/2014   Label: Telos  
Catalog: 63   Number of Discs: 1
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Mendelssohn: Three Sonatas, Rondo /  Frederic Chiu
Release Date: 06/08/2004   Label: Harmonia Mundi  
Catalog: 3957117   Number of Discs: 1
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Work: Hark! The herald angels sing

Browse 1-25 of 257 Available Recordings
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  • 1.
    111 Classics for Christmas
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 002179902 Release Date: 12/09/2014   Number of Discs: 5
    Composer:  Leroy Anderson,  Leopold Mozart,  Johnny Marks,  John Frederic Coots  ... 
    Performer:  Helen Donath,  Anna Reynolds,  Christa Ludwig,  Maria Teresa Garatti  ... 
    Conductor:  Arthur Fiedler,  Karl Richter,  Stephen Cleobury,  Sir David Willcocks  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Boston Pops,  London Philharmonic Orchestra,  John Alldis Choir  ... 
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  • 2.
    The Golden Age Of Light Music: Christmas Lights
    Label: Guild   Catalog: 5222 Release Date: 12/09/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Lowell Mason,  Irving Berlin,  Traditional,  Vogel  ... 
    Performer:  Zack Laurence
    Conductor:  Percy Faith,  Frank Chacksfield,  Billy Vaughn,  Ken Jones  ... 
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  • 3.
    The Great British Carol Collection / Choir Of Trinity College Cambridge
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 503770 Release Date: 11/24/2014   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Richard Marlow,  Traditional,  Patrick Hadley,  John Francis Wade  ... 
    Performer:  Richard Pearce,  Graham Jackson,  Richard Marlow,  Simon Standage  ... 
    Conductor:  Richard Marlow
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cambridge Trinity College Choir
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  • 4.
    Favourite Carols From King's / King's College Choir
    Label: King's College Choir   Catalog: 7 Release Date: 11/11/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Henry John Gauntlett,  Harold Edwin Darke,  John Francis Wade,  Traditional  ... 
    Conductor:  Stephen Cleobury
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cambridge King's College Choir
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  • 5.
    The Christmas Album / Herbert Von Karajan
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 002179802 Release Date: 11/10/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Franz Xaver Gruber,  Felix Mendelssohn,  Traditional,  Adolphe Adam  ... 
    Performer:  Leontyne Price
    Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Singverein,  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra members,  Vienna Children's Chorus  ... 
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  • 6.
    Carols From King's College, Cambridge
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 628790 Release Date: 10/14/2014   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Henry John Gauntlett,  Traditional,  Felix Mendelssohn,  Franz Xaver Gruber  ... 
    Performer:  Ian Hare,  John [classical organ] Wells,  Stephen Varcoe,  Benjamin Bayl  ... 
    Conductor:  Stephen Cleobury,  Sir David Willcocks,  Sir Philip Ledger,  Philip Ledger
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cambridge King's College Choir
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  • 7.
    Christmas At Glasgow Cathedral
    Label: Priory Records   Catalog: 1105 Release Date: 10/14/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Henry John Gauntlett,  Herbert Howells,  Edvard Grieg,  Benjamin Britten  ... 
    Performer:  Malcolm Sim
    Conductor:  Richard Pratt
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Glasgow Cathedral Choir
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  • 8.
    Christmas Carols / Knabenchor Hannover, London Brass
    Label: Rondeau Productions   Catalog: 7017 Release Date: 10/14/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  William Byrd,  Anonymous,  Thomas Weelkes,  Herbert Howells  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Brass,  Hannover Boys' Choir
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  • 9.
    From Parlour To Palace: Victorian Music From The Christmas Revels
    Label: Revels Inc.   Catalog: 2014 Release Date: 10/14/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  George Emlen,  Traditional,  Felix Mendelssohn,  Frederick Shrival  ... 
    Performer:  David Coffin,  Megan Henderson,  Billy Meleady,  Sarah deLima  ... 
    Conductor:  George Emlen
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  • 10.
    Christmas In Harvard Square
    Label: De Montfort Music (Record Label)   Catalog: 002096902 Release Date: 10/07/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  John Francis Wade,  Tomás L. de Victoria,  Henry John Gauntlett,  Jacobus Handl  ... 
    Performer:  Ari [Bass Vocal] Nieh,  Boys Of St. Pauls Choir,  Devin [Tenor Vocal] Drerup,  Jonas [Tenor Vocal] Budris  ... 
    Conductor:  John Robinson
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Harvard Square St. Paul's Choir School Boys Choir
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  • 11.
    Machet Die Tore Weit: Weihnachten Mit Dem Knabenchor
    Label: Hänssler Classic   Catalog: 98040 Release Date: 09/09/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Carl Thiel,  Johann Heinrich Lützel,  Hermann Ruck,  Siegfried Strohbach  ... 
    Performer:  Janucz Zygadlo,  Jordan Breschkow,  Lilia Kavaljieva,  Christoph Bieber  ... 
    Conductor:  Eckhard Weyand
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Capella Vocalis
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  • 12.
    Christmas Star & A Christmas Festival / Rutter, Cambridge Singers
    Label: Collegium Records   Catalog: 306 Release Date: 11/19/2013   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Traditional,  Lowell Mason,  William James Kirkpatrick,  Mel Torme  ... 
    Performer:  Andrew Williams,  Andrew Williams,  Melanie Marshall,  Clara Sanabras  ... 
    Conductor:  John Rutter
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cambridge Singers,  Cambridge Symphony Orchestra,  Farnham Youth Choir  ... 
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  • 13.
    Hark! The Herald Angels Sing: Famous Christmas Carols
    Label: Br Klassik   Catalog: 900507 Release Date: 11/19/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Michael Praetorius,  Albert Becker,  Heinrich Kaminski,  John Francis Wade  ... 
    Performer:  François Leleux
    Conductor:  Florian Helgath
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  • 14.
    The Christmas Story
    Label: Dynamic   Catalog: 7681 Release Date: 11/19/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Franz Xaver Gruber,  Richard Storrs Willis,  Lowell Mason,  James R. Murray  ... 
    Performer:  Bin Huang,  Hyun-Sun Kim
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  • 15.
    Christmas Time Is Here / Canadian Brass
    Label: Steinway & Sons   Catalog: 30027 Release Date: 10/29/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Vince Guaraldi,  Traditional,  Christopher Coletti,  Ludwig van Beethoven  ... 
    Performer:  Charles Daellenbach,  Caleb Hudson,  Chris Coletti,  Eric Reed  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Canadian Brass
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  • 16.
    Home For The Holidays / Mormon Tabernacle Choir
    Label: Mormon Tabernacle   Catalog: 5110056 Release Date: 10/15/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  James Pierpont,  Traditional,  Felix Mendelssohn,  John Jacob Niles  ... 
    Performer:  Alfie Boe,  Richard Elliott
    Conductor:  Mack Wilberg,  Ryan Murphy
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Mormon Tabernacle Choir,  Orchestra at Temple Square
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  • 17.
    Home For The Holidays / Mormon Tabernacle Choir
    Label: Mormon Tabernacle   Catalog: 5110057 Release Date: 10/15/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  James Pierpont,  Traditional,  Felix Mendelssohn,  John Jacob Niles  ... 
    Performer:  Alfie Boe,  Richard Elliott
    Conductor:  Mack Wilberg,  Ryan Murphy
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Mormon Tabernacle Choir,  Orchestra at Temple Square
    On sale! $24.98
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  • 18.
    Carols From The Old & New Worlds / Hillier, Theatre Of Voices
    Label: Harmonia Mundi   Catalog: 1957079 Release Date: 10/08/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Daniel Read,  Traditional,  Charles Ives,  Lowell Mason  ... 
    Conductor:  Paul Hillier
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Theatre of Voices
    On sale! $8.98
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  • 19.
    Starring Christmas / Neary, Winchester Cathedral Choir
    Label: Pentatone   Catalog: 5186198 Release Date: 09/24/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Henry John Gauntlett,  Franz Xaver Gruber,  Felix Mendelssohn,  George Frideric Handel  ... 
    Conductor:  Martin Neary
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Winchester Cathedral Choir
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  • 20.
    Ring Christmas Bells
    Label: Reflections   Catalog: 61672 Release Date: 09/17/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Traditional,  Richard Storrs Willis,  Lewis H. Redner,  Lowell Mason  ... 
    CD: $13.99
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  • 21.
    Christmas With The Mormon Tabernacle Choir
    Label: Mvd Audio   Catalog: 5973 Release Date: 09/03/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  John Francis Wade,  Henry Walford Davies,  Lowell Mason,  Traditional  ... 
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  • 22.
    O Come All Ye Faithful [classic]
    Label: Mvd Audio   Catalog: 5971 Release Date: 09/03/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  John Francis Wade,  Felix Mendelssohn,  Jean Baptiste Calkin,  George Frideric Handel  ... 
    Performer:  Leslie Pierson,  John Paice,  Richard Lewis
    Conductor:  Peter Knight,  John McCarthy,  John Pritchard
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  The London Bell Ringers
    CD: $10.99
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  • 23.
    Label: Platinum Legends   Catalog: 60760 Release Date: 01/01/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  John Francis Wade,  Traditional,  George Frideric Handel,  Franz Xaver Gruber  ... 
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  • 24.
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 1074717 Release Date: 11/20/2012   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  John Francis Wade,  George Frideric Handel,  Traditional,  Adolphe Adam  ... 
    Performer:  Angela Gheorghiu,  Markus Leoson,  Ulf Forsberg,  Anne Sofie von Otter  ... 
    Conductor:  Ion Marin,  Trevor Pinnock,  Kurt Herbert Adler,  Uwe Christian Harrer  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Capella Regia Musicalis,  Los Romeros
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  • 25.
    I Wonder As I Wander Out Under The Sky / Jones, The Copley Singers
    Label: Gothic Records   Catalog: 49283 Release Date: 11/13/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  John Francis Wade,  Carl Rütti,  Hugh Martin,  Richard Storrs Willis  ... 
    Conductor:  Brian Jones
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Copley Singers
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