- Conductor: Sir John Eliot Gardiner
- Composer: Felix Mendelssohn
- Audio CD (9 Sept. 2016)
- Please Note: Requires SACD-compatible hardware
- Number of Discs: 1
- Format: Hybrid SACD, SACD
- Label: LSO Live
- ASIN: B01HSFG6A2
- Other Editions: MP3 Download
- Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars See all reviews (1 customer review)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 16,529 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
Mendelssohn: Symphonies 1 & 4 'Italian' [SACD Hybrid + 1 Pure Audio Blu-ray] Hybrid SACD, SACD
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Constantly in the vanguard of enlightened interpretation, Sir John Eliot Gardiner stands as a leader in today s musical life. His award-winning Mendelssohn cycle on LSO Live showcases his period performance expertise; the LSO muscians standing to play, highlighting their individual musicianship. As Gardiner notes: 'It gives a different type of dynamism and energy... it means that the fiddles are freer in the way that they attack the extremely virtuosic lines and it gives a tremendous sense of occasion to the music making.' Dramatic and harmonically adventurous, Mendelssohn s Symphony No 1 is presented here in a unique format, with both the original and revised versions of the third movement. As Gardiner said when introducing the work in concert: 'It s not every evening that you get to hear a symphony by a 14-and-a-half-year-old genius and there s an intriguing complication to this piece. When Mendelssohn came to London in 1829, he performed the symphony and he wrote back to his parents saying: 'well, I looked over my symphony and, lord, the minuet bored me to tears! So what I did was to take the scherzo from my Octet and I added a few airy trumpets and it sounded lovely.' Well, actually he did an awful lot more than that; he re-orchestrated absolutely brilliantly. And it s so good, we thought you should hear that version. But what about the minuet and trio? Why, when he came to publish the symphony did he use that version and leave out the scherzo? I happen to think they re both really remarkable, as is the whole symphony, and perhaps you d let us know which you prefer...?' The Fourth Symphony is inspired by the sights, sounds and atmosphere of Italy and is among the best loved of all the composer s works. Mendelssohn himself described it as: 'the jolliest piece I ve written so far.' Symphony No 1 was broadcast across Europe on Mezzo TV, alongside Mendelssohn s 'A Midsummer Night s Dream', and this rich video content will be shared to support the release.
'This exhilarating account of the Italian Symphony was recorded live at the Barbican two years ago, the more rarely programmed C minor work of the 14-year-old Mendelssohn earlier this year. At that concert, Gardiner chose to conduct both the 1824 original Minuet unusually marked Allegro molto and the dazzling transcription of the scherzo from the string Octet he made for a London performance in 1829. By then, the composer s prodigious talent had flowered into genius. Gardiner s Mendelssohn is as genial as it gets.' --Hugh Canning The Sunday Times, 21st August 2016
Performance: *** Recording: **** 'Gardiner keeps the LSO on its toes both in the C minor work and the Italian symphony, the winds producing crystal-clear articulation the hair-raisingly fast account of the latter s concluding saltarello. He also effectively brings out the undercurrent of unease in the C minor work s slow movement, and the final reprise of its theme is quite beautifully handled.' Misha Donat BBC Music Magazine, December 2016 ---------------------------------------- 'Mendelssohn s First Symphony has never really made it into the repertoire. Nor has the Second Symphony, though there are more complex reasons for that. Perhaps, I have occasionally wondered, the First Symphony has just not been in the right hands. Well it is now, in this new and sparkling account of young Felix s symphony by the LSO at its most immaculate with Sir John Eliot Gardiner, through his completely fresh view of the piece, pretty much re-inventing I ... This is a glorious disc, along with a breathtakingly all aperto performance of the Italian Symphony. It s the best you will hear, with the LSO s sunny playing at is most sophisticated, and Gardiner s whirlwind drive in the finale almost taking the Saltarello into gravity-free territory with articulation that will have you gasping.' --Michael Tumelty Herald Scotland, 9th September 2016
GRAMOPHONE EDITOR S CHOICE '[a] deliciously buoyant and lucid response ... I have not heard the slow movement better done, even on the Irish Chamber Orchestra s excellent Orfeo recording: solemn but chaste, with the best kind of historically informed playing on a traditional, only slightly reduced orchestra. Mendelssohn was a stickler for articulation as both composer and conductor, and knew precisely where he wanted notes slurred and separated; the strings of the LSO take the most careful note and almost sing the melody as if it were set to words.' --Peter Quantrill Gramophone, October 2016
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bring the listener much pleasure with the performances of these works.