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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars22
4.7 out of 5 stars
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on 5 July 2005
This is a really fine recording. Ozawa gets it all right in terms of tempo, feel and scale. The orchestra play wonderfully, with warmth as well as passion. Both soloists sing well and the narration by Judi Dench is fantastic. There is life in every bar, in every word and this cd can be confidently recommended to all lovers of this work. The coldness of Abbado is entirely absent here, Ozawa clearly loves this music.
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VINE VOICEon 17 June 2007
You's be hard pressed to find a better CD that presents the Midsummer Night's Dream music as delightfully and delectably as it is here.

Ozawa and his Boston Symphony Orchestra really relish every single nuance in Mendelssohn's music and savour every delectable note and nuance of this sparkling score with relish. He adopts a comfortable pace and conducts with a light touch such that the music can trip and dance lightly along. The Overture captures all the moods of the play, and he cunjores up a light, mischievous mood for the elfin Scherzo. We, the listeners, are also treated to a dreamly, creamy rendition of the Nocturne, and a propulsive, jubilant rendition of the Wedding March.

Ozawa is well-partnered by Kathleen Battle and Frederica von Stade as the two fairies, who sing the two songs up to the heavens and meld beautifully with the chorus during You spotted snakes. However, the star of all the vocal contributions should be Dame Judi Dench, who sets up each major musical moment by speaking the appropriate excerpt from the Shakespeare play in her simple, direct and characterful style.

I know there is so much competition available, especially from the Previn EMI offering of the complete score, but this is a really, really ideal CD. There are some minor omissions of the melodramas, but really, the musicianship is compelling and convincing. Unreservedly recommended.
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In a very crowded field, a recording of this Mendelssohnian tour de force has to be special to head the list - and this one is. The sheer, silky beauty of the Boston Symphony Orchestra is as otherwordly as Shakespeare's poetry; they are matched by the shimmering purity of Kathleen Battle's fluting soprano paired with the slightly warmer and equally lovely mezzo of Frederica von Stade in their "Spotted Snakes" song. As if this were not enough, Judi Dench sweeps away the competition with the wit and wisdom of her mellifluous narrative; she is such a characterful actress and cannot help bringing everything she does to life. There are other recommendable versions which include more of the melodramas whereby it is somewhat easier to piece together the action of the play, but there is certainly enough here to engage us in the drama and provide a complementary setting for this mercurial music. Ozawa judges tempi and phrasing perfectly with only one exception and it is a common flaw: the scurrying staccato strings which answer the evocative rising sequence of four chords right at the opening of the overture need to be as gossamer-light as fairies' wings, and although this is of course sweetly played by the Bostonians, no performance in my experience achieves the delicacy of John Nelson with the Ensemble Orchestral de Paris. That recording also gives us a lot more text with multiple actors and thus offers a slightly more complete and theatrical experience, but it is not as satisfying overall and this superbly recorded 1992 version on DG still leads the field musically.
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on 28 October 2009
I have played this over and over.Fantastic quality audio and feeling of that magical experience you get from this wonderful masterpiece. Dame Judi is quite superb,and combined with the Boston Symphony really engages the listener.
Just sit back, shut your eyes and enjoy the magic.
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on 14 November 2013
Having lived happily for many years with the Colin Davis performance on CD, I recently discovered the complete
Seiji Ozawa disc. Beautiful vocal performances, superb Orchestra. What a joy. Thank you.
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on 18 December 2009
Can only agree with the former reviewers. This is, without a doubt, the best version of this masterpiece.
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on 16 April 2011
This was bought for my wife's birthday. It is a super version with top class orchestra, conductor, and singers. The soloists are all excellent and Judi Dench is perfect as the narrator. Highly recommended.Mendelssohn: A Midsummer Night's Dream
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on 5 September 2014
Wonderful, the nocturne was played at my mothers funeral. Gets me every time
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on 14 February 2012
The Deutsche Grammophon label is always a safe bet for a fine recording and this one is no exception. The Boston Symphony Orchestra (always very good) is conducted to perfection by Seiji Ozawa, the exotically-named Tanglewood Festival Chorus are on hand to accompany Fairies No. 1 (Kathleen Battle) and No. 2 (Frederica von Stade) - their `You spotted snakes' is terrific - but best of all is Dame Judi Dench who narrates and proves to be an engaging Puck; aka Robin Goodfellow.

If I were told that my life depended on finding a better recording, I don't think I'd even try - this is perfection.
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on 19 November 2015
An excellent performance but the spoken word outstays its welcome.
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