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on 23 March 2011
An excellent CD enabling one to enjoy a wonderful collection of Mendellsohn's Overtures. With only Midsummer Night's Dream and Hebrides being familiar to me, it was great to hear for the first time a collection of music I was totally unfamiliar with. The two that particularly stand out are the unusual overtures written with particular instruments in mind - one of them being the Overture for Wind Instruments and the Trumpet Overture. Also found the inlay card details very informative; it is always great to be able to read up information about the works being performed.
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Abbado made a glowing and exciting recording for Decca of a pair of Mendelssohn symphonies early in his career. That proved to e a very popular record and since then Abbado has made a complete set of the symphonies plus this overture disc for DGG. Those have also proved to be very successful and once more demonstrate Abbado's affinity with the Mendelssohnian world.

This very well recorded disc of overtures made from recordings originating from 1985-8, sparkles throughout with lively performances with crisp tempi and neat playing by the LSO. These are generally well-known and popular overtures but there are also two unusual overtures included in this selection. Both are examples of stand-alone overtures which have no link with stage or literary works. They may therefore be considered an early foretaste of the concert overture to be developed further by following composers, mostly in the Romantic or Nationalist periods of music.

In this case the two relatively unfamiliar overtures are the Overture for Wind Instruments (* see insert below) and the Trumpet Overture. Both show Mendelssohn's naturally lyrical style of writing and are enjoyable enough but their relative rarity is not an altogether surprising thing given the greater attractiveness and pictorial advantages of the other overtures on this disc.


*As I was an orchestral player, I am indebted to William Hollin for the following comment .....
'If you play in Bands, the Overture for Harmoniemusik (Band) is anything BUT a rarity. Being one of the BEST examples of classical wind band music, it is programmed quite frequently by fine HS groups and just about every major University Band or Wind Ensemble one can think of. Similar music by the (just barely) generational French revolutionaries i.e. Catel, Mehul, and Gossec doesn't hold a candle to this work. Come to think of it, if it isn't a transcription, neither do the wind band works by the classical period "Masters." You can't count the Mozart Serenade as it is much more a large chamber work than a "Band" work. Finally, Abaddo's choice of tempo for the Andante in this work IMHO drags needlessly.'


This then is a most enjoyable collection of the known and not so known Mendelssohn. All the overtures are very well played and recorded. I would suggest that purchasers should give this disc serious consideration therefore as the degree of sparkle it offers is rather more than several other collections of Mendelssohn overtures made by respected conductors.
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on 3 February 2014
It was a pleasure to listen to 3 works by Mendelssohn which were new to me- Ruy Blas, Overture for Wind Instruments, and the Trumpet Overture. Why these works aren't played more regularly in concert is a mystery. When Abbado and the LSO recorded their Mendelssohn symphonies and overtures they were at the pinnacle of their creative working relationship. The LSO offers elegant and delicate strings, clean but atmospheric winds and brilliant brass playing. Abbado gets them to play with freshness, crisp articulation and attentiveness. Listen to the opening of The Fair Melusine to hear what I mean. There is a real feeling of spontaneity and the sound is beautifully balanced throughout. Abbado was a fine Mendelssohnian in the same class as Klemperer and Sawallisch. The recording has quite a wide dynamic range which can be a challenge for domestic listening - the opening of A Midsummer Night's Dream is very quiet, for example. This disc is a fine example of Abbado and the LSO at their best - and I've played it a lot since I first bought it. Recommended.
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on 4 November 2013
Excellent performances from the LSO and a young Claudio Abbado , clear recorded sound which does not show its age.
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on 16 November 2014
A genuinely good listen, from beginning to end. A must for Mendelssohn fans.
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on 15 June 2015
Thoroughly enjoyed listening to this, especially in the car.
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on 9 January 2015
Disappointed - poor sound quality
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on 6 June 2016
Very relaxing
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