With Yannick Nézet-Séguin conducting, the Chamber Orchestra of Europe here presents Mendelssohn’s complete Symphonies (Nos. 1 to 5), composed between 1824 and 1842. Considered by some to be “the best chamber orchestra in the world” (BBC2 Television), the Chamber Orchestra of Europe was born three decades ago from the desire of several young musicians of the former European Union Youth Orchestra (EUYO) to pursue the adventure as an orchestra. After a few – unavoidable – changes within its ranks, this ensemble – currently – based in London retains the spirit that prevailed over its creation, shaped by complicity, generosity and liberty. Without a dedicated music director or conductor, the orchestra is now reunited with Yannick Nézet-Séguin, with whom there is, according to the latter, “a completely unique bond”. Their most recent releases, such as in Mozart’s operas, highlighted this shared complicity. And, after a complete collection on Schumann, it is only fair that the conductor and his musicians explore the effusive lyric, the “classical” side of German romanticism, by working on Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy’s five symphonies. But the aim however with these five symphonies is to explore widely differing universes: the very romantic Symphony No. 3, “the Scottish”, in which Wagner heard a “prime landscaper”; Symphony No. 4, “the Italian”, is almost a great symphonic poem, as illustrated (by?) numerous composers after 1834; Symphony No. 2, “Lobgesang”, ends on an immense cantata full of praise, which approach was inspired by Beethoven’s Ninth; Symphony No. 5 is strongly linked to Protestant religion, as its fugue finale cites one of the Lutheran chorales used, notably, by Johann Sebastian Bach: “Eine feste Burg ist unser Gott” (Our God is a secure fortress) (cf. Cantata BWV 80). © Qobuz, based on a Philarmonie de Paris leaflet for concerts in Paris, February 2016.