Magazine article Gramophone

Mendelssohn

Magazine article Gramophone

Mendelssohn

Article excerpt

Mendelssohn

A Midsummer Night's Dream--Overture, Op 21; Incidental Music, Op 61 (exes) Ceri-lyn Cissone, Alexander Knox, Frankie Wakefield actors Monteverdi Choir; London Symphony Orchestra / Sir John Eliot Gardiner LSO Live (F) ([SACD] + [BR]) LS00795 (55' * DDD/DSD * DTS-HD MA5.1 & LPCM stereo, both 24 bit/192kHz) Recorded live at the Barbican, London, February 16, 2016

Anyone following this Mendelssohn series from the LSO and John Eliot Gardiner will find much to enjoy here: in the pinpoint precision of melody-carrying flutes and violins, the sure-footed bass and above all a sense that the composer is being taken seriously. The Monteverdi Choir and stand-out soloists spin magic from their brief contributions; the Scherzo has the same irresistible momentum and danger as the comparable movements in the First Symphony (reviewed on SACD, 10/16), which was performed in the first half of the same concert and is reissued on the Blu-ray disc as part of a film of the entire concert.

Like Claudio Abbado on his late BPO recording (Berliner Philharmoniker, 3/16), Gardiner omits some music for the rude mechanicals--the parodistic little funeral march is a particular loss--and there is an impression common to both that they are more comfortable with the lofty, Athenian nature of Mendelssohn's inspiration than his touches of broad, naturalistic humour. The Wedding March is rather stiff, and the Nocturne is played as a symphonic slow movement compared to the more urgent, chamber-scale approach of Thomas Dausgaard (BIS, 1/16). …

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