This engaging disc of Mendelssohn’s overtures forms the final volume of Edward Gardner and the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra’s survey of the composer’s major orchestral works. It’s carefully programmed to place the familiar alongside the less well known, the rarities, in this instance, including the early Trumpet Overture, composed in 1826 just before A Midsummer Night’s Dream (the late opus number is deceptive), the Overture to St Paul, seldom heard away from an oratorio that is itself performed infrequently, and the once popular Athalie, which nowadays we don’t perhaps hear as often as we might.
About Mendelssohn in Birmingham Vol 5: Overtures
Edward Gardner, conductor
City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra
Mendelssohn Paulus (St Paul), Movement: Overture
Mendelssohn (Die) Schöne Melusine
Mendelssohn Trumpet Overture
Mendelssohn (The) Hebrides, 'Fingal's Cave'
Mendelssohn Athalie, Movement: Overture
Mendelssohn Overture to A Midsummer Night's Dream
Mendelssohn Meeresstille und glückliche Fahrt, 'Calm Sea and Prosperous Voyage'
Mendelssohn Ruy Blas
Edward Gardner takes a forthright view. Naturally fairies and quiet woodlands are represented but powerful climaxes and a firm drive are the most notable features. Full-orchestra passages have great impact and there is excellent detail from the important timpani, captured clearly even when they are played quietly.
Release Date: June 2019
Record Label: Chandos
Duration: 75 minutes