CD Releases
with compositions by Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy (1809-1847)
Mendelssohn · Elijah
2 CD
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EUR 33,00Mendelssohn · Elijah
Felix Mendelssohn · Elijah / Elias
German oratorio Opus 70 in two movements
performed by Peter Lika, Heidi Elisabeth Meier, Jolantha Michalska-Taliaferro, Hans Peter Blochwitz, Maulbronn Cantor Choir (Kantorei Maulbronn), Members of the SWR-symphony-orchestra Baden-Baden and Freiburg. Conductor: Jürgen Budday.
A concert recording from the church of the German UNESCO World Heritage Site Maulbronn Monastery
2-CD-Box · DDD · c. 136 Minutes
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An Elijah as a devout and moving experience...
This Elijah is both: calming and very beautiful (listen to the octet 'Denn er hat seinen Engeln befohlen' or the divine quartet 'Wirf dein Anliegen auf den Herrn'). Of course once Elijah has done his bit and the Real God performed the much asked-for miracle, the choir are full of joy and sing their hearts out. But this incident typifies this whole performance. Although it was recorded live there is neither any evidence of an audience present nor any tangible sense of occasion in this performance, but there is a strong sense of being in a place of worship, not just in occasional glimpses of the monastery's lavish acoustic but also in Jürgen Budday's restrained direction, allowing his singers to relish the work's more devout moments and never trying to force the pace. So we have some of the slowest tempi on disc. The choir clearly are at ease with Budday's approach and produce a glorious luminosity in such reflective choruses as 'Siehe, der Hüter Israels'. Also the superb soloists are all utterly convincing in their roles: Jolanta Michalska-Taliaferro is a magnificently wicked Queen as she spits out her venom against Elijah, while Heidi Elisabeth Meier could hardly be more angelic as she calmly exhorts Elijah to 'Rest in the Lord' (after his profoundly moving 'Es ist genug'). Polished orchestral playing further enhances Budday's interpretation of the work as a profound statement of Christian faith, while the recording is as flawless as one would expect from a state-of-the-art studio, let alone a 12th-century monastery.
Marc Rochester, Gramophone Magazine
***** Excellent
5 Stars (out of 5 Stars)
An customer on 5 Mar. 2016 (Verified Purchase of the CD)
Schubert & Mendelssohn: Symphonies
EUR 22,00Schubert & Mendelssohn: SymphoniesFranz Schubert: Symphony No.8 B Minor "The Unfinished"
Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy: Symphony No.3 A Minor Op. 56 "Scottish"
performed by the New Symphony Orchestra Sofia. Conductor: Petko Dimitrov.
A concert recording from the National Palace of Culture in Sofia (Bulgaria)
CD · DDD · c. 64 Minutes
SpotifyClassics OnlineReview
A memorable performance
Young players excel in compelling live performances of two favourite symphonies
The members of the New Symphony Orchestra, drawn from the Sofia Radio Orchestra, are a comparatively young ensemble founded in 1971. The writer of the insert-note suggests that their musical style is "sentimental, due to the members' experience recording film music". Sorry, but there is no trace of sentimentality in either performance. Instead, here is a superb example of the intense concentration that can come with live musicmaking from eager young players, well rehearsed, in front of a receptive audience.
In the Scottish Symphony, the character of the playing combines an effervescing vitality and a natural Slavonic warmth, particularly from the full-toned strings. Petko Dimitrov shapes Mendelssohn's lovely lyrical opening with an appealing simplicity, and in the first climax of the vivace of the exposition his surge of animation has the players all but scampering in their exhilaration. The one snag is that the important exposition repeat is, alas, omitted. The scherzo sparkles, the slow movement is beautifully shaped yet has a sombre underlay which prevents any suggestion of blandness, and after the dancing vivacissimo the close of the finale is expansive, almost Klemperer-like in its spacious grandeur. Overall, a performance of much character.
Schubert's Unfinished is even finer, the epitome of Romanticism, the quiet opening mysterious, darkly evocative, yet with incisive drama soon to offset the lyricism. Here the exposition repeat is played, and used to build an onward propulsion which is very compelling. Dimitrov's modest change of pace for the exquisitely gentle opening of the second movement is perfectly judged, and the arrival of the secondary theme is beautifully prepared by the violins. The woodwind contributions, first the clarinet (2'06'') and the naturally following, equally delicate oboe (2'36'') are almost like a question and answer, before the drama of the bold trombone-dominated tutti (2'56'') which is arresting without being coarse.
But it is the gently ruminative quality of the playing - of wind and strings alike - that makes this performance so memorable. The interplay between apparent serenity and the music's bolder progress is like a contrast between twilight apprehension and the daylight assertion of life's irrepressible advance, with a haunting sense of resignation conveyed in the movement's guileless closing bars. The concert hall recording was made in simple 'two-track stereo' and the effect is real, slightly distanced, but tangible. Most rewarding.
Ivan March, Gramophone Magazine
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