Mendelssohn - Symphonies Nos 1 & 4 (2016)

Mendelssohn

London Symphony Orchestra

Sir John Eliot Gardiner

It’s not every evening that you get to hear a symphony by a fourteen-and-a-half year-old genius. And there’s an intriguing complication to this particular piece: it concerns the third movement – the Minuet. Mendelssohn came to London in 1829 when he was barely twenty. Due to perform this, his first symphony for full orchestra, he wrote to his parents, telling them, “Well, I looked over my symphony and – Lord! – the Minuet bored me to tears, and it was so monotonous and pleonastic. So, what I did was to take the Scherzo from my Octet for strings, and I added a few airy trumpets, and it sounded absolutely lovely.”
Well, in truth he did quite a lot more than just adding a few airy trumpets: he re-orchestrated it with brilliant writing for the winds, while retaining the mercurial lightness of the original version. It’s so good we thought you should hear this new version of the familiar Octet movement. But what about the original Minuet and the Trio? Is it really so bad and so boring as Mendelssohn would have us believe? If so, why, when he came to publish the symphony, did he put that version in the score and leave out the Scherzo? Well, as you might have guessed, you’re going to get two for the price of one.
I think both versions are really remarkable – as, indeed, is the whole symphony – and perhaps you would let us know at the end which version you prefer.

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London Symphony Orchestra

The LSO was formed in 1904 as London’s first self-governing orchestra and has been resident orchestra at the Barbican since 1982. Valery Gergiev became Principal Conductor in 2007 following in the footsteps of Hans Richter, Sir Edward Elgar, Sir Thomas Beecham, André Previn, Claudio Abbado and Michael Tilson Thomas, among others. Sir Colin Davis had previously held the position since 1995 and from 2007 became the LSO’s first President since Leonard Bernstein. The Orchestra gives numerous concerts around the world each year, plus more performances in London than any other orchestra. It is the world’s most recorded symphony orchestra and has appeared on some of the greatest classical recordings and film soundtracks. The LSO also runs LSO Discovery, its ground-breaking education programme that is dedicated to introducing the finest music to young and old alike and lets everyone learn more from the Orchestra’s players. For more information visit lso.co.uk

Sir John Eliot Gardiner

Sir John Eliot Gardiner, one of the most versatile conductors of our time, is acknowledged as a key figure in the early music revival. Founder and artistic director of three ensembles – the Monteverdi Choir, the English Baroque Soloists, and the Orchestre R.volutionnaire et Romantique – he also appears regularly with Europe’s most important symphony orchestras, including the LSO, Bayerischer Rundfunk, Royal Concertgebouw, Czech Philharmonic, and the Orchestre National de France, as well as at the Royal Opera House (London), and La Fenice (Venice). The extent of Gardiner’s repertoire is illustrated by over 250 recordings he has made for major record companies, and by numerous international awards including Gramophone’s Special Achievement Award for live recordings of the complete church cantatas of Johann Sebastian Bach, released on the label Soli Deo Gloria (SDG) that he established in 2006. SDG’s catalogue now includes recordings of, among others, Bach’s St John Passion, Brandenburg Concertos, and complete Motets, a Brahms symphony cycle, and a cappella recordings with the Monteverdi Choir.

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Mendelssohn - Symphonies Nos 1 & 4 (2016)

Mendelssohn

London Symphony Orchestra

    Audiophile Audition

‘A vigorous and incisive Italian, with a fresh and even more exhilarating “First”... a real tribute to the virtuosity of the orchestra... He [Gardiner] does not let us down—this is one of the finest and most astute readings [of Symphony No 1] I have ever heard.’

Steven Ritter[read full review]

    The Herald - Scotland

"The London Symphony Orchestra is at its most immaculate with Sir John Eliot Gardiner, through his completely fresh view of the [First Symphony, pretty much re-inventing it. This is a glorious album, along with a breathtakingly all’aperto performance of the Italian Symphony. The best you will hear."

The Herald - Scotland[read full review]

    Presto Classical

"Right from the off it's infectiously smile-inducing, with delicately chirping woodwind and rhythmically incisive contributions from the strings. Gardiner is a stickler for Mendelssohn's phrase markings. I’m sure it’s no coincidence that Gardiner’s experience with the music of J.S. Bach makes Mendelssohn’s own love of Bach more evident than usual."

Presto Classical[read full review]

    Gramophone

"Gardiner’s real competition is with himself, and the Vienna Philharmonic. But the strings of the LSO display unrivalled agility. Taken at a true presto, the finale [of the Italian] never quite spins out of control but sounds as though it might at any moment. Outstanding."

Gramophone[read full review]

    The Sunday Times

"Gardiner’s Mendelssohn is as genial as it gets."

The Sunday Times[read full review]

Mendelssohn - Symphonies Nos 1 & 4 (2016)

Mendelssohn

London Symphony Orchestra

Editing Software: Pyramix
Mastering Engineer: Neil Hutchinson
Producer: Nicholas Parker
Recording Engineer: Neil Hutchinson, Jonathan Stokes
Recording location: The Barbican, London, England
Recording Software: Merging
Recording Type & Bit Rate: DSD64

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LSO0769: Mendelssohn - Symphonies Nos 1 & 4
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Tracks.
1.
Symphonies No. 1 in C minor, Op. 11 - i. Allegro di molto
Mendelssohn
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2.
Symphonies No. 1 in C minor, Op. 11 - ii. Andante
Mendelssohn
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3.
Symphonies No. 1 in C minor, Op. 11 - iii. Scherzo - Sempre pianissimo e leggiero
Mendelssohn
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4.
Symphonies No. 1 in C minor, Op. 11 - iii. Menuetto - Allegro molto
Mendelssohn
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5.
Symphonies No. 1 in C minor, Op. 11 - iv. Allegro con fuoco
Mendelssohn
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6.
Symphonies No. 4 in A major 'Italian', Op. 90 - i. Allegro vivace
Mendelssohn
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7.
Symphonies No. 4 in A major 'Italian', Op. 90 - ii. Andante con moto
Mendelssohn
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8.
Symphonies No. 4 in A major 'Italian', Op. 90 - iii. Menuetto: Con moto moderato
Mendelssohn
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9.
Symphonies No. 4 in A major 'Italian', Op. 90 - iv. Finale (Saltarello)- Presto
Mendelssohn
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