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CD Review

Felix Mendelssohn

Works for Chorus & Orchestra

  • A Midsummer Night's Dream, Op. 61 1,a
  • Christus, Op. 97 2,b
  • Hör mein Bitten 2,b
  • Ave Maria, Op. 23 #2 2,b
  • Lass', o Herr, mich Hülfe finden, Op. 96 3,b
  • Te Deum 2,b
  • Psalm #42 "Wie der Hirsch schreit", Op. 42 3,b
  • Psalm #95 "Kommt, lasst uns anbeten", Op. 46 3,b
  • Psalm #115 "Nicht unserm Namen, Herr," Op. 31 3,b
  • Psalm #114 "Da Israel aus Aegypten zog", Op. 51 3,b
  • Lauda Sion, Op. 73 3,b
  • Die erste Walpurgisnacht, Op. 60 3,b
  • O Haupt voll Blut und Wunden 3,b
  • Kyrie in C minor 3,c
  • Mitten wir im leben sind mit dem Tod Umfangen, Op. 23 #3 2,b
  • Verleih uns Frieden gnädiglich, Herr Gott, zu unsern Zeiten 2,b
  • Psalm #98 "Singet dem Herrn ein neues Lied", Op. 91 3,b
1 Edith Wiens, soprano
2 Audrey Michael, soprano
3 Christiane Baumann, soprano
a Gewandhaus Orchestra Leipizg/Kurt Masur
b Gulbenkian Choir & Orchestra, Lisbon/Michel Corboz
c Lausanne Chorus & Orchestra/Michel Corboz
Warner Classics 2564-69267-6 5CDs 312m ADD/DDD
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This well-filled, five-CD set contains practically all the music for chorus and orchestra which Mendelssohn wrote apart from the two oratorios. Masur is a persuasive if occasionally rather brusque advocate for the complete music from "A Midsummer's Night Dream", although proceedings move along rather sprightly especially in the Overture and famous Wedding March.

I am not so familiar with the other choral works in the set but can immediately say I was more than presently surprised by such pieces as the A Major Te Deum as well as the Psalms being particularly enticing. Finally we have "Die Erste Walpurgisnacht", an underrated work which deserves far more currency and which is finely recorded here by Corboz and his Lisbon forces.

Recordings are variable with the Psalms going back to analogue days and the Leizpig Gewandhaus a shade too beefy for the delicate music on offer. However this is definitely a desirable set to acquire and for those collecting Mendelssohn's music on his anniversary, it is definitely more than welcome.

Copyright © 2009, Gerald Fenech