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Felix Mendelssohn (1809-1847) - Bicentennial Celebration!

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aligreto:
I have just embarked on another Mendelssohn odyssey with this, set with Ashkenazy at the helm:





A Midsummer’s Night Dream 

Notwithstanding the brisk tempi this presentation is magical, enchanting and exciting from the opening bars. The orchestra creates a wonderful atmosphere with a deftness and a lightness of touch that is assured yet still quite enchanting. One can but admire the fine portrayal of the orchestration and the harmonies here. I also find the portrayal of the woodwinds to be particularly engaging; they have a significant voice here. The brass also has a worthy voice here. The vocal element of the work was also very well delivered. The conclusion is wonderfully enchanting. I was very impressed with this version.

Octet

This is a version for String Orchestra. What a magnificent sweeping introduction to this version and this grand sweep continues throughout the movement. The slow movement is too saccharine for me. The Scherzo is suitably lively. The final movement takes the pace up another notch from the Scherzo and it is a whirlwind in places, but light and wonderfully flighty.

OrchestralNut:

--- Quote from: aligreto on October 10, 2021, 02:41:19 AM ---I have just embarked on another Mendelssohn odyssey with this, set with Ashkenazy at the helm:





A Midsummer’s Night Dream 

Notwithstanding the brisk tempi this presentation is magical, enchanting and exciting from the opening bars. The orchestra creates a wonderful atmosphere with a deftness and a lightness of touch that is assured yet still quite enchanting. One can but admire the fine portrayal of the orchestration and the harmonies here. I also find the portrayal of the woodwinds to be particularly engaging; they have a significant voice here. The brass also has a worthy voice here. The vocal element of the work was also very well delivered. The conclusion is wonderfully enchanting. I was very impressed with this version.

Octet

This is a version for String Orchestra. What a magnificent sweeping introduction to this version and this grand sweep continues throughout the movement. The slow movement is too saccharine for me. The Scherzo is suitably lively. The final movement takes the pace up another notch from the Scherzo and it is a whirlwind in places, but light and wonderfully flighty.

--- End quote ---

I've had and enjoyed the Ashkenazy set of symphonies for a long time! Just the symphonies, my set doesn't include the extras like yours.

aligreto:

--- Quote from: OrchestralNut on October 10, 2021, 03:15:26 AM ---I've had and enjoyed the Ashkenazy set of symphonies for a long time! Just the symphonies, my set doesn't include the extras like yours.

--- End quote ---

Good to know that the symphonies come with your recommendation, Ray.

aligreto:
Symphonies 1-5 [Ashkenazy]:





I recently completed a listening survey of this Ashkenazy cycle and I was very impressed with it.


Symphony No. 1: This is a light and bright first movement presentation. It swirls like a breeze as it moves along but it is never overly forced. The scoring is well presented here with all of the groups being well balanced in a good recording. The slow movement is a wonderful contrast in tempo and mood. The woodwinds sound wonderful. The Menuetto is quick in pace with an interesting mix of moods making it atmospherically interesting. Once again the woodwinds shine. The final movement is pacy and well driven. The movement has a fine conclusion.

Symphony No. 2: Mendelssohn’s Symphony No. 2 was always an odd one for me and I am still not sure that I understand it. I have always found it to be a problematic work. One of its issues for me is the multiplicity of movements in it. Perhaps this affects the work’s coherency and cogency in presenting a unified whole; is it too fragmented? Anyway, being objective, the presentation here is excellent with all parties performing superbly. The blend between the vocal and instrumental elements is very fine indeed. The final movement is particularly powerful.

Symphony No. 3: This symphony has a wonderful opening. It is enchanting music and it is well delivered here. As the music progresses in the movement the music explodes wonderfully and it is both powerful and lyrical in turns. The second movement is a spirited affair and I particularly like the scoring for the woodwinds. The slow movement is presented wonderfully lyrical and expansive here. The final
movement is an exciting affair and the work concludes with a satisfactory and definitive resolution. This is a very fine presentation of this music; it is both driven and sensitive and it achieves a fine
balance between those two elements. The scoring is also noticeably very fine and rich.

Symphony No. 4: This must have one of the most instantly recognisable openings to a symphony. The whole opening movement is well presented; it is light, crisp but not overly driven. The orchestral textures of the music is also very apparent. Although this is a serious version I really like the feeling of “lightness” here. Once again, the textures in the slow movement are wonderful. The lower register strings sound wonderful as a sort of ground bass accompaniment; prominent and effective. The third movement is quite lyrical and this is a smooth, rounded presentation of it with those wonderful orchestral textures once again being wonderfully balanced and highlighted. The tempo takes flight again wonderfully in the final movement; it is quite invigorating. Those flitting woodwinds are wonderful. This is a most delightful and engaging version of this work. The recorded sound is excellent.

Symphony No. 5: The depth of emotion portrayed in the opening movement is profound. The breadth of the orchestration is also very skillfully presented. This is wonderful music and music making. I like the unrelenting forward momentum and drive in the movement. It is sympathetically paced throughout in an excellent presentation here delivering high drama, tension and wonderful exuberance. The second movement is a buoyant, Scherzo-like movement. It is light and quirky, engaging and again well delivered here. The short slow movement is more on the solemn side in terms of tone but the
harmonies and scoring are always very engaging and appealing. The final movement is a wonderfully expansive Chorale. The scoring is wonderful and I like the graduated changes in the tempo, offering a
fine dramatic element culminating in a very fine conclusion.

OrchestralNut:

--- Quote from: aligreto on October 31, 2021, 08:08:39 AM ---Symphonies 1-5 [Ashkenazy]:





I recently completed a listening survey of this Ashkenazy cycle and I was very impressed with it.


Symphony No. 1: This is a light and bright first movement presentation. It swirls like a breeze as it moves along but it is never overly forced. The scoring is well presented here with all of the groups being well balanced in a good recording. The slow movement is a wonderful contrast in tempo and mood. The woodwinds sound wonderful. The Menuetto is quick in pace with an interesting mix of moods making it atmospherically interesting. Once again the woodwinds shine. The final movement is pacy and well driven. The movement has a fine conclusion.

Symphony No. 2: Mendelssohn’s Symphony No. 2 was always an odd one for me and I am still not sure that I understand it. I have always found it to be a problematic work. One of its issues for me is the multiplicity of movements in it. Perhaps this affects the work’s coherency and cogency in presenting a unified whole; is it too fragmented? Anyway, being objective, the presentation here is excellent with all parties performing superbly. The blend between the vocal and instrumental elements is very fine indeed. The final movement is particularly powerful.

Symphony No. 3: This symphony has a wonderful opening. It is enchanting music and it is well delivered here. As the music progresses in the movement the music explodes wonderfully and it is both powerful and lyrical in turns. The second movement is a spirited affair and I particularly like the scoring for the woodwinds. The slow movement is presented wonderfully lyrical and expansive here. The final
movement is an exciting affair and the work concludes with a satisfactory and definitive resolution. This is a very fine presentation of this music; it is both driven and sensitive and it achieves a fine
balance between those two elements. The scoring is also noticeably very fine and rich.

Symphony No. 4: This must have one of the most instantly recognisable openings to a symphony. The whole opening movement is well presented; it is light, crisp but not overly driven. The orchestral textures of the music is also very apparent. Although this is a serious version I really like the feeling of “lightness” here. Once again, the textures in the slow movement are wonderful. The lower register strings sound wonderful as a sort of ground bass accompaniment; prominent and effective. The third movement is quite lyrical and this is a smooth, rounded presentation of it with those wonderful orchestral textures once again being wonderfully balanced and highlighted. The tempo takes flight again wonderfully in the final movement; it is quite invigorating. Those flitting woodwinds are wonderful. This is a most delightful and engaging version of this work. The recorded sound is excellent.

Symphony No. 5: The depth of emotion portrayed in the opening movement is profound. The breadth of the orchestration is also very skillfully presented. This is wonderful music and music making. I like the unrelenting forward momentum and drive in the movement. It is sympathetically paced throughout in an excellent presentation here delivering high drama, tension and wonderful exuberance. The second movement is a buoyant, Scherzo-like movement. It is light and quirky, engaging and again well delivered here. The short slow movement is more on the solemn side in terms of tone but the
harmonies and scoring are always very engaging and appealing. The final movement is a wonderfully expansive Chorale. The scoring is wonderful and I like the graduated changes in the tempo, offering a
fine dramatic element culminating in a very fine conclusion.

--- End quote ---

Glad you enjoyed this set.  :)

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