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Edward Gardner - Mendelssohn in Birmingham (Volume 1)

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Mendelssohn in Birmingham (Volume 1)

CBSO, Edward Gardner

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Felix Mendelssohn did visit the city of Birmingham, England, and conduct there, and the sketch on the cover of this Chandos release is by the composer himself. This album, in fact, was recorded in the Birmingham Town Hall, the building at the center of the sketch. The concept doesn't go farther than that, however; the big Mendelssohn pieces recorded here were not composed in Birmingham. Moreover, the Town Hall is not an especially luxurious sound environment. Is there enough in the performances of these well-worn classics to stand out from the large crowd of other recordings? The results are mixed. Conductor Edward Gardner, often associated with operatic repertory, leads the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra in a fine, atmospheric Hebrides Overture, Op. 26. In the Symphony No. 4 in A major, Op. 90 ("Italian"), and Symphony No. 5, Op. 107 ("Reformation"), he seems intent on giving the music quickness and lightness, stripping it of ponderous Victorian majesty. In parts it works, and the orchestra follows Gardner step for step. But the finale of the "Italian" is a tepid tarantella indeed, and the "Reformation" symphony with its chorale-tune quotations, an interesting document in the history of Mendelssohn's relationship to Lutheranism, simply does not engage with the subject matter. This is the kind of recording that suggests new directions but leaves room for future execution.
© TiVo

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Mendelssohn in Birmingham (Volume 1)

Edward Gardner

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The Hebrides in D major, Op. 26, MWV P7, 'Fingal's Cave' (Felix Mendelssohn)

1
The Hebrides in D major, Op. 26, MWV P7, 'Fingal's Cave'
City Of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra
00:10:00

City Of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra - Felix Mendelssohn, Composer - Edward Gardner, Conductor

(C) 2014 Chandos (P) 2014 Chandos

Symphony No. 5 in D major, Op. 107, MWV N15, 'Reformation' (Felix Mendelssohn)

2
I. Andante - Allegro con fuoco
City Of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra
00:11:02

City Of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra - Felix Mendelssohn, Composer - Edward Gardner, Conductor

(C) 2014 Chandos (P) 2014 Chandos

3
II. Allegro vivace
City Of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra
00:05:12

City Of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra - Felix Mendelssohn, Composer - Edward Gardner, Conductor

(C) 2014 Chandos (P) 2014 Chandos

4
III. Andante
City Of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra
00:03:28

City Of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra - Felix Mendelssohn, Composer - Edward Gardner, Conductor

(C) 2014 Chandos (P) 2014 Chandos

5
IV. Andante con moto - Allegro vivace
City Of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra
00:08:05

City Of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra - Felix Mendelssohn, Composer - Edward Gardner, Conductor

(C) 2014 Chandos (P) 2014 Chandos

Symphony No. 4 in A major, Op. 90, MWV N16, 'Italian' (Felix Mendelssohn)

6
I. Allegro vivace
City Of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra
00:10:17

City Of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra - Felix Mendelssohn, Composer - Edward Gardner, Conductor

(C) 2014 Chandos (P) 2014 Chandos

7
II. Andante con moto
City Of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra
00:06:06

City Of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra - Felix Mendelssohn, Composer - Edward Gardner, Conductor

(C) 2014 Chandos (P) 2014 Chandos

8
III. Con moto moderato
City Of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra
00:06:26

City Of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra - Felix Mendelssohn, Composer - Edward Gardner, Conductor

(C) 2014 Chandos (P) 2014 Chandos

9
IV. Saltarello: Presto
City Of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra
00:05:23

City Of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra - Felix Mendelssohn, Composer - Edward Gardner, Conductor

(C) 2014 Chandos (P) 2014 Chandos

Album Description

Felix Mendelssohn did visit the city of Birmingham, England, and conduct there, and the sketch on the cover of this Chandos release is by the composer himself. This album, in fact, was recorded in the Birmingham Town Hall, the building at the center of the sketch. The concept doesn't go farther than that, however; the big Mendelssohn pieces recorded here were not composed in Birmingham. Moreover, the Town Hall is not an especially luxurious sound environment. Is there enough in the performances of these well-worn classics to stand out from the large crowd of other recordings? The results are mixed. Conductor Edward Gardner, often associated with operatic repertory, leads the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra in a fine, atmospheric Hebrides Overture, Op. 26. In the Symphony No. 4 in A major, Op. 90 ("Italian"), and Symphony No. 5, Op. 107 ("Reformation"), he seems intent on giving the music quickness and lightness, stripping it of ponderous Victorian majesty. In parts it works, and the orchestra follows Gardner step for step. But the finale of the "Italian" is a tepid tarantella indeed, and the "Reformation" symphony with its chorale-tune quotations, an interesting document in the history of Mendelssohn's relationship to Lutheranism, simply does not engage with the subject matter. This is the kind of recording that suggests new directions but leaves room for future execution.
© TiVo

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