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Mendelssohn: A Midsummer Night's Dream - Overture & Incidental Music Hybrid SACD, SACD

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Audio CD, Hybrid SACD, SACD, 22 Jun 2018
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Product details

  • Audio CD (22 Jun. 2018)
  • Please Note: Requires SACD-compatible hardware
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Hybrid SACD, SACD
  • Label: Channel Classics
  • ASIN: B0791Z1SZ4
  • Other Editions: MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 96,241 in CDs & Vinyl (See Top 100 in CDs & Vinyl)
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Stream Mendelssohn: Overture & Incidental music to A Midsummer Night's Dream by Iván Fischer & Budapest Festival Orchestra and 50 million more songs on all your devices with Amazon Music Unlimited. New subscribers only. Terms apply.
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Product description

Product Description

Mendelssohn's Incidental Music to A Midsummer Night's Dream was written in 1842, on a commission from King Frederick William IV of Prussia. The king was inspired by a presentation of Sophocles's Antigone which featured music by Mendelssohn, and was the first of several commissions for the composer to write music to accompany the king's favorite plays. It is interesting to note that the work's dazzling overture was actually written a full sixteen years earlier, and was not originally intended to be performed in conjunction with Shakespeare's play. This recording from Ivan Fischer and his Budapest Festival Orchestra captures the magical spirit of this music as never before. The program is complemented appropriately by three orchestral songs of Fanny Mendelssohn.


True to form this is a characterful, colourful account. Mendelssohn's fairies have their wings in the air as they should but a few of them have their feet on the ground. There's a rustic edge to the music making which I find very attractive. The funeral march follows the wedding march might be slower than you expect and the solo clarinet is played with eastern European gypsy sensibility that you may think pre-figures Mahler's style of clarinet writing. We are going to drop in after the overture and hear where Mendelssohn picked up his pen 16 years later from the scherzo all the way to the finale.Fischer writes in the notes which is rather lovely [quote re fairies, they will understand][plays] Mendelssohn's incidental music to A Midsummer Night's Dream and you've just heard the brand new recording from BFO conducted by Ivan Fischer with the voices of Anna Lucia Richter and Barabera Kozelj and the Pro-musica Women's Choir. And if that wasn't enough they add three songs by Fanny Mendelssohn. It's a fine recording in stereo or surround on hybrid SACD from Channel Classics and it's the Record Review Disc of the Week. --Record Review - Disc of the Week

Ivan Fischer is alive to the magical atmosphere of Felix Mendelssohn's score and nowhere more keenly than at the start of the overture, where the four wind chords are extended beyond their usual length, acting as a foil to the really hushed pianissimo of the strings that follow. The playing throughout is of the highest quality and my few reservations are directed elsewhere. I question, in the Notturno', whether the instruction `agitato' implies an increase of speed rather than just one of energy. Also the danger is that, as here, the return of the marvellous horn theme comes out slightly quicker than on the first time round. It's well known that it takes considerable skill for professionals to play badly on purpose, so full marks to the clarinettist for the comic noises in the 'Funeral March', beautifully calculated to lie somewhere between pleasure and outright pain. The only tiny blemish in the playing, which surprisingly slipped through the editing, is the rogue open A-string that briefly interferes with the B major ending of the `Clowns' Dance'. The three songs by Fanny are well worth hearing. In Terne', a lament for past happiness, she taps into a vein of melancholy that her brother rarely explored so successfully, and the dissonance on the repeat of `ertiitest' is heart-wrenching. But in all three, sharper consonants would have helped, not to mention more imaginative colourings of the voice. Roger Nichols.PERFORMANCE ****/RECORDING **** --BBC Music Magazine

The performance standard here is extremely high, the coupling stimulating. Yet a rather reverberant recording acts against the lightness of the Budapest Festival Orchestra, which can itself sound rather studio-bound (the famous Scherzo and Wedding March being cases in point). Of all pieces to lose the magic in, this is surely the worst. Ivan Fischer has always been a most intelligent and musical conductor, and his direction is indeed both, but this is nowhere near the class of the 1970 Klemperer Philharmonia recording (with Baker and Harper). Nevertheless, both soloists are fine (the text is sung in German), and soprano Anna Lucia Richter shines in the three Fanny Mendelssohn lieder. Mainacht is superbly atmospheric, a true gem of a song, Ferne a poignant portrait of longing and Gondelied has a superb sense of flow. The disc can also be downloaded in DSD, FLAC and MP3 formats. --Classical Music Magazine

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Most helpful customer reviews on 5.0 out of 5 stars 1 reviews
John J. Puccio
5.0 out of 5 starsFischer brings out all the humor, all the color, and all the fairy-tale qualities of the score
15 July 2018 - Published on
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