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CD Review

Felix Mendelssohn

Complete Symphonies

  • Symphony #1 in C minor, Op. 11 (1824)
  • Symphony #2 in B Flat Major "Lobesang", Op. 52 (1840)
  • Symphony #3 in A minor "Scottish", Op. 56 (1842)
  • Symphony #4 in A Major "Italian", Op. 90 (1833)
  • Symphony #5 in D Major "Reformation", Op. 107 (1830)
Rundfunkchor Berlin
Deutsches Symphonie Orchester Berlin/Vladimir Ashkenazy
Decca 470946-2 197m DDD 3CDs
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Ashkenazy's Mendelssohn symphony cycle was extremely well received when first issued in 1995 with a further disc coupling the Scottish and Italian symphonies released in 2000. All this has now been repackaged in a three disc Trio set which is definitely huge value for money.

The recordings are excellent although I still believe that Decca's earlier cycle with Dohnányi and the VPO is the finest recommendation especially in the later symphonies. However, Ashkenazy has a solid "Hymn of Praise" with some excellent work by soloists, Julianne Banse and Vinson Cole especially and the work moves along quite merrily and very beautifully indeed.

The Trio sets come complete with copious notes and packaging is quite splendid with very attractive transparent jewel boxes. Those who already have their Mendelssohn from Abbado, Karajan or Dohnányi may sleep easy in their beds but the inquisitive newcomer is heartily directed to this very fine set.

Copyright © 2002, Gerald Fenech