This CD box set from BR-KLASSIK combines Mendelssohn's twelve string symphonies, his “Symphoniesatz“ in C minor (No. 13) and his early violin concerto in D minor in the form of studio recordings made by the Münchner Rundfunkorchester under its leader Henry Raudales. The violinist has won several awards and made numerous recordings with the orchestra as a conductor and soloist. (The Violin Concerto and Symphonies Nos. 1-6 have already been released separately). It was thanks to his father's penchant for organizing musical concerts in his family's Berlin apartment on Sunday mornings that the 11-year-old Felix Mendelssohn began to compose quite a long series of string symphonies, and also that the works were initially performed. The study of music and composition spurred the young composer on greatly; his diligence as well as his youthful creativity developed early, and he made astonishing progress. In 1821, he wrote the first half of his string symphonies, which together took less than two years to complete. During performances that formed part of the concerts at home, he always took over the direction of the chamber orchestra, which consisted of amateur and professional musicians from the Berlin court orchestra. Mendelssohn’s early concerto for violin and string orchestra, written at around the same time for his violin teacher Eduard Rietz, was probably played in the same setting. Formally, it owes much to the concertos of Johann Sebastian Bach, but it clearly sounds like Mendelssohn. Ever since their long-lost manuscripts were successfully rediscovered in 1950, Mendelssohn’s early string symphonies have been a fixed part of the string and chamber orchestra repertoire. In the youthful freshness and carefreeness of these early works, one can already hear echoes of the instrumental masterpieces by this important symphonic composer of early Romanticism that were soon to follow.
The Belgian violinist Henry Raudales, originally from Guatemala and significantly promoted by Yehudi Menuhin, has been concertmaster of the Munich Radio Orchestra since September 2001.
These are gripping interpretations performed at a high technical level. They convince not only with exuberant temperament, tight rhythm, and great textures, but also express the melancholy of the Grave movements very well.
– Pizzicato (Remy Franck)