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: Incidental Music for Antigone, Oedipus & Athalia
Release Date: 06/28/2011   Label: Brilliant Classics  
Catalog: 94216   Number of Discs: 3
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Mendelssohn: Violin Concerto, Midsummer Night's Dream / Chen, Glover
Release Date: 03/10/2009   Label: Royal Philharmonic Masterworks  
Catalog: 28230   Number of Discs: 1
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Mendelssohn: Symphonies No 3 & 4 / Sanderling, RPO
Release Date: 09/14/2010   Label: Royal Philharmonic Masterworks  
Catalog: 28340   Number of Discs: 1
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Mendelssohn: Symphonies 1 & 3 / De Vriend, Netherlands Symphony Orchestra
Release Date: 09/09/2014   Label: Challenge  
Catalog: 72641   Number of Discs: 1
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Mendelssohn: Songs Without Words / Ronan O'Hora
Release Date: 05/10/2011   Label: Royal Philharmonic Masterworks  
Catalog: 29060   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.
    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
    CD: $17.99
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  • 2.
    Rutter: Christmas Star And A Christmas Festival
    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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  • 3.
    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
    CD: $14.99
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  • 4.
    Christmas With The Salvation Army
    Label: Crimson Productions   Catalog: 1202171 Release Date: 11/12/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  John Francis Wade,  Traditional,  Anonymous,  Frederik Pohl  ... 
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  • 5.
    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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  • 6.
    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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  • 7.
    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
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  • 8.
    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
    CD: $9.99
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  • 9.
    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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  • 10.
    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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  • 11.
    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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  • 12.
    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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  • 13.
    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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  • 14.
    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
    CD: $18.99
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  • 15.
    The Wonder Of Christmas / Bader, United States Air Force Band & Singing Sergeants
    Label: Altissimo   Catalog: 56002 Release Date: 10/30/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Floyd Werlé,  Lowell Mason,  Traditional,  Harry Belafonte  ... 
    Conductor:  Albert Bader
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  United States Air Force Band,  United States Air Force Singing Sergeants
    CD: $17.99
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  • 16.
    Christmas Choirs
    Label: Lifestyles   Catalog: 46020 Release Date: 10/09/2012   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Traditional,  Unspecified,  Lowell Mason,  William James Kirkpatrick  ... 
    CD: $8.99
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  • 17.
    Essential Carols
    Label: Cct   Catalog: 5162 Release Date: 10/09/2012   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Traditional,  William James Kirkpatrick,  Ralph Vaughan Williams,  Patrick Hadley  ... 
    Performer:  Francis Grier,  Gareth Morrell,  Ian Hare,  Stephen Varcoe  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir Philip Ledger,  Sir David Willcocks,  Richard Hickox,  Eric Ericson  ... 
    CD: $12.99
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  • 18.
    Glory To The New-born King
    Label: Priory Records   Catalog: 1076 Release Date: 10/09/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  John Joubert,  Richard Storrs Willis,  Traditional,  Carl Rütti  ... 
    Performer:  Benjamin Chewter,  Philip Rushforth,  Christopher Sennett,  Olivia Hunt  ... 
    Conductor:  Philip Rushforth
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  • 19.
    Nine Lessons & Carols / Stephen Cleobury, Choir Of King's College Cambridge
    Label: King's College Choir   Catalog: 1 Release Date: 10/09/2012   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Henry John Gauntlett,  Felix Mendelssohn,  John Rutter
    Conductor:  Stephen Cleobury
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cambridge King's College Choir
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  • 20.
    The Spirit Of Christmas Present
    Label: Nimbus   Catalog: 7034 Release Date: 10/09/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ned Rorem,  John Francis Wade,  Traditional,  Henry John Gauntlett  ... 
    Performer:  Kevin Bowyer,  Huw Tregelles Williams
    Conductor:  William Boughton,  Charles Bruffy,  John Hugh Thomas,  Michel Swierczewski  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  English String Orchestra,  Kansas City Chorale,  Fanfare Trumpeters of the Welsh Guard  ... 
    CD: $11.99
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  • 21.
    Still Liegt Die Winternacht / Die Meistersinger
    Label: Hänssler Classic   Catalog: 98648 Release Date: 09/25/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  John Francis Wade,  Michael Praetorius,  Traditional,  Felix Mendelssohn  ... 
    Conductor:  Klaus Breuninger
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Die Meistersinger
    CD: $18.99
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  • 22.
    Rejoice! Christmas At The Sage Gateshead
    Label: Avie   Catalog: 2244 Release Date: 09/11/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Roderick Elms,  Johann Georg Eberling,  Ralph Vaughan Williams,  Felix Mendelssohn  ... 
    Conductor:  Simon Halsey
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Northern Sinfonia,  Northern Sinfonia Chorus
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  • 23.
    Christmas With Mantovani
    Label: Tgg Direct   Catalog: 60266 Release Date: 08/14/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Irving Berlin,  Franz Xaver Gruber,  Traditional,  Felix Mendelssohn  ... 
    Conductor:  Annuncio Paolo Mantovani
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  • 24.
    Merry Christmas / Kulinska, Kulinsky, Bamini Di Praga
    Label: Supraphon   Catalog: 4067 Release Date: 11/22/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Anonymous,  Traditional,  Richard Storrs Willis,  Lowell Mason  ... 
    Performer:  Veronika Vitová,  Sarka Celbova,  Katerina Kovandová,  Katerina Kalvachova  ... 
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  • 25.
    Christmas With The Westminster Choir
    Label: Westminster Choir   Catalog: 691 Release Date: 11/15/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  John Francis Wade,  Traditional,  Benjamin Britten,  Felix Mendelssohn  ... 
    Performer:  Daniel Beckwith,  Peter Gillis,  Jeffrey Martin,  Nancy Tenore
    Conductor:  Joseph Flummerfelt
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Westminster Choir,  Concerto Soloists of Philadelphia
    CD: $17.99
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