Colin Davis deserves his current reputation as a great conductor, but of all those with that title, he must be the most understated and reserved. Starting with his departure to bavaria in middle age, and a subsequent tenure in Dresden, it seemed as if Davis wanted to morph into a true Kapellmeister. Why this should be so is a mystery, but these Mendelssohn readings could easily be the work of Wolfgang Sawallisch or Kurt Masur, both born Kapellmeisters.
The overall tone is genteel and sweet, highly repsectful, and a touch dowdy. But the orchestra plays gorgeously and the engineering is first-rate. I took pleausre in those virtues (the mercurial Scherzo of the Scottish Sym. is a special delight) without getting carried away by anything Davis wanted to say. The Reformation Sym. is cautious to a fault. This CD will especially appeal to listeners who think of Mendelssohn as a classicist with more Haydn in his blood than Weber or Beethoven.