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CHAN 10224M
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CHAN 10224
(multiple CD Set)
Complete Symphonies

Mendelssohn: Symphonies

The Classical Shop
release date: August 2004

Originally recorded in 2003


Philharmonia Orchestra

Walter Weller

Leslie Pearson


Cynthia Haymon

soprano I*

Alison Hagley

soprano II*

Peter Straka


Philharmonia Chorus



St Jude on the Hill, Hampstead, London


Brian Couzens

(other works)

Ralph Couzens

(Symphonies Nos 1 & 5, Hebrides)


Ben Connellan

(Symphonies Nos 1 & 5, Hebrides)

Richard Lee

(Symphonies Nos 3 & 4)

Ralph Couzens

(Symphony No. 2)

Record Label
Chandos Classics


Orchestral & Concertos

Total Time - 217:47
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Complete Symphonies

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Symphony No. 1, Op. 11

  in C minor - c-Moll - ut mineur  
1 I Allegro di molto 10:03
2 II Andante 6:42
3 III Menuetto & Trio: Allegro molto 6:52
4 IV Allegro con fuoco 8:31

Symphony No. 3 'Scottish', Op. 56

  in A minor - a-Moll - la mineur  
5 I Andante con moto - Allegro un poco agitato - Assai animato - 16:15
6 II Vivace ma non troppo - 4:10
7 III Adagio - 10:48
8 IV Allegro guerriero - 7:03
9 Maestoso 2:18

Symphony No. 2 ('Lobgesang'), Op. 52*

  in B flat major - B-Dur - si bémol majeur  
10 I Sinfonia 12:47
  Maestoso con moto - Allegro - Maestoso con moto -  
11 Allegretto un poco agitato - 6:43
12 Adagio religioso 9:01
13 II Chorus - Soprano and Ladies' Chorus 7:13
  ''Alles, was Odem hat, lobe den Herrn!''  
  Tenor (Recitative and solo)  
14 ''Saget es, die ihr erlöset seid'' - 0:48
15 ''Er zählet unsre Tränen'' - 2:02
16 IV Chorus 2:16
  ''Saget es, die ihr erlöset seid'' -  
17 V Sopranos I, II and Chorus 6:52
  ''Ich harrete des Herrn und er neigte sich zu mir''  
  Tenor - Soprano  
18 ''Stricke des Todes hatten uns umfangen'' - 1:56
19 Allegro assai agitato - 2:16
  Recitative. 'Wir riefen in der Finsternis: Huter, ist die Nacht bald hin?' -  
20 ''Die Nacht ist vergangen'' 5:00
  Allegro maestoso e molto vivace  
  ''Die Nacht ist vergangen''  
21 VIII Chorale (Chorus) 5:12
  ''Nun danket alle Gott'' -  
22 IX Andante sostenuto assai. 5:05
  ''Drum sing' ich mit meinem Liede''  
23 X Final Chorus 5:40
  ''Ihr Völker! bringet her dem Herrn Ehre und Macht!''  

Symphony No. 4 'Italian', Op. 90

  in A major - A-Dur - la majeur  
24 I Allegro vivace 10:40
25 II Andante con moto 6:48
26 III Con moto moderato - 6:27
27 IV Saltarello: Presto 5:43

Symphony No. 5 'Reformation', Op. 107

  in D major - D-Dur - ré majeur  
28 I Andante - Allegro con fuoco 12:39
29 II Allegro vivace 5:58
30 III Andante - 4:51
31 IV Andante con moto - Allegro vivace - Allegro maestoso 9:05
32 Overture: The Hebrides, Op.26 10:03
  Allegro moderato  
 Cynthia Haymon soprano I*
 Alison Hagley soprano II*
 Peter Straka tenor*
 Leslie Pearson organ
 Walter Weller
  6 & 7 February 1991 (Symphonies Nos 3 & 4), 10 & 11 April 1991 (Symphony No. 2); 5 & 6 May 1992 (Symphony Nos 1 & 5, Hebrides)  
Walter Weller’s fresh and direct accounts of Mendelssohn’s symphonies are now released for the first time on the Classics label, at mid-price. Even in a crowded market, Weller’s interpretations are refreshingly spontaneous and full of attention to instrumental detail – essential for a vivid response to the music of this composer.

Superbly fresh and vital accounts of Mendelssohn’s symphonies, in warm Chandos sound, available at mid-price.

Mendelssohn was only fifteen when he composed the C minor Symphony. It is an astonishing achievement and if there are moments suggestive of familiar passages from Mozart, Haydn, Beethoven and Weber, it is only to be expected, for the young composer used these as models. However, the predominant impression is one of considerable originality and mastery.

Some five years elapsed before Mendelssohn continued his symphonic work. His noble Reformation Symphony was composed in response to celebrations planned in remembrance of the Reformation. Despite the quality of the craftsmanship, the work was performed only once in the composer’s lifetime. Mendelssohn’s own rejection of the work may have been due in part to a growing aversion to the idea of the programmatic symphony.

1840 was the year chosen in Germany to commemorate Gutenberg’s invention of printing from movable type. Mendelssohn originally planned a short oratorio or largescale psalm setting but came up with a structure in which three orchestral movements precede a long cantata-like finale. Symphony No. 2 is a work for which the composer had a special affection.

Mendelssohn was full of romantic ideas of Scotland before he ever saw it, and had already had it in mind to compose a ‘Scottish’ symphony before his first visit in 1829. In Edinburgh contemplation of the ruins of the chapel of Holyrood Palace immediately resulted in a sketch of the work’s opening theme, but the work was not completed until 1842. Its atmosphere is prevailingly melancholic and dark, in complete contrast to the later ‘Italian’ Symphony, which opens with a burst of vivacious energy, coupled with a scoring that emphasises transparency and lightness of texture. Mendelssohn’s mastery and freshness in this symphony is so abundant that it remains a great puzzle as to why he himself considered it unworthy of performance.

The Philharmonia was in top form when these recordings were made, and the players dutifully follow their leader, Walter Weller.

The great merit of Wellers Chandos version is the warmth and weight of the recorded sound, with a large chorus set against full-bodied, satisfyingly string-based orchestral sound.
The Penguin Guide

One thing is certain. Not only are these consistently alive and spontaneous-sounding performances, but they are easily the best in the current catalogue.

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