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
Mozart & Mendelssohn: Piano Concertos / Dorken, Vogt, Royal Northern Sinfonia
Release Date: 07/29/2016   Label: Ars Produktion  
Catalog: ARS38210   Number of Discs: 1
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Work: Hark! The herald angels sing

Browse 1-25 of 208 Available Recordings
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  • 1.
    Adeste Fideles: Christmas Carols from Her Majesty's Chapel Royal
    Label: Signum U.k.   Catalog: SIGCD460 Release Date: 08/12/2016   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Traditional,  Elisabeth Poston,  Henry John Gauntlett,  John Tavener  ... 
    Conductor:  Huw Tregelles Williams
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Chapel Royal Choir
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  • 2.
    Carols with St Paul's Cathedral Choir / Carwood
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 002405602 Release Date: 11/20/2015   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Felix Mendelssohn,  Henry John Gauntlett,  Franz Xaver Gruber,  Graham J. Ellis  ... 
    Performer:  Simon Johnson
    Conductor:  Andrew Carwood
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  St. Paul's Cathedral Choir
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  • 3.
    Merry Christmas / Amira Willighagen
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 513798 Release Date: 11/20/2015   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Antonio Vivaldi,  Vladimir Vavilov  ... 
    Performer:  Sylvia Houtzager,  Mariette Laport,  Kris Barczewski,  Hans Rijkmans  ... 
    Conductor:  Ton Van Nierop
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  • 4.
    Carols from King's - 60th Anniversary Edition
    Label: King's College Choir   Catalog: 13 Release Date: 11/13/2015   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Henry John Gauntlett,  George Ratcliffe Woodward,  Otto Goldschmidt,  Franz Xaver Gruber  ... 
    Conductor:  Stephen Cleobury
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cambridge King's College Choir
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  • 5.
    My Christmas / Placido Domingo
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 511743 Release Date: 10/30/2015   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ralph Blane,  Harpo Marx,  Franz Xaver Gruber,  Traditional  ... 
    Performer:  Placido Domingo,  Idina Menzel,  Jackie Evancho
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  The Piano Guys
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  • 6.
    The Greatest Christmas Choral Classics
    Label: Silva Classics   Catalog: 6049 Release Date: 10/30/2015   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Traditional,  Mykola Leontovych,  Felix Mendelssohn,  Lowell Mason  ... 
    Performer:  Crouch End Festival Chorus,  The City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra
    Conductor:  Paul Bateman,  Evan Jolly
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  • 7.
    Jul Med Adventsangerne
    Label: Bergen Digital Studio   Catalog: 7039 Release Date: 10/13/2015   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Felix Mendelssohn,  Franz Xaver Gruber,  Max Reger,  Traditional  ... 
    Performer:  Adventsangerne,  Njal Sparbo,  Bodil [Soprano Vocal] Arnesen,  Harald Gullichsen
    Conductor:  Sverre Valen
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  • 8.
    The Complete Traditional Christmas Carols Collection
    Label: Coro   Catalog: 16136 Release Date: 10/02/2015   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Traditional,  Henry John Gauntlett,  Henry Walford Davies,  Franz Xaver Gruber  ... 
    Conductor:  Harry Christophers
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  The Sixteen
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  • 9.
    Christmas Carols: From Village Green to Church Choir
    Label: Signum U.k.   Catalog: 387 Release Date: 09/11/2015   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Traditional,  Thomas Helmore,  Henry Walford Davies,  Ralph Vaughan Williams  ... 
    Performer:  Basil McDonald,  Will Dawes,  David Quinn,  Nicholas Keay  ... 
    Conductor:  Andrew Gant
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vox Turturis
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  • 10.
    Carols From Queen's
    Label: Avie   Catalog: 2345 Release Date: 09/04/2015   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  John Tavener,  Traditional,  Herbert Howells,  Philip Stopford  ... 
    Performer:  Bernadette [Soprano Vocal] Johns,  Harry Meehan,  Robert [Baritone Vocal] Holbrook,  Caroline [Soprano Vocal] Halls  ... 
    Conductor:  Owen Rees
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  • 11.
    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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  • 12.
    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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  • 13.
    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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  • 14.
    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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  • 15.
    Les Plus Belles Pages De La Musique De Noel
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 8578291-92 Release Date: 11/04/2014   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Traditional,  James Pierpont,  Felix Mendelssohn,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky  ... 
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  • 16.
    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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  • 17.
    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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  • 18.
    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:  Jonas [Tenor Vocal] Budris,  Devin [Tenor Vocal] Drerup,  Boys Of St. Pauls Choir,  Garry [Tenor Vocal] McLinn  ... 
    Conductor:  John Robinson
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Harvard Square St. Paul's Choir School Boys Choir
    CD: $15.99
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  • 19.
    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
    CD: $14.99
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  • 20.
    Most Wanted Recitals - Cristina Deutekom In Vienna
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 002067702 Release Date: 07/08/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Walter Kalischnig,  Johann Strauss Jr.,  Josef Strauss,  Max Schonherr  ... 
    Performer:  Cristina Deutekom
    Conductor:  Franz Allers,  Harry van Hoof
    CD: $12.99
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  • 21.
    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  ... 
    CD: $24.99
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  • 22.
    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:  Francois Leleux
    Conductor:  Florian Helgath
    CD: $17.99
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  • 23.
    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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  • 24.
    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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  • 25.
    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
    CD: $18.99
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