Various Artists

The Mendelssohn Experience

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As with so many compilation albums on the market, the concept of "less is more" can be aptly applied to this Warner Classics & Jazz album entitled The Mendelssohn Experience. On the positive side, WCJ selects for its recording excerpts performances by the Gewandhaus Orchestra, the English Chamber Orchestra, the Beaux Arts Trio, violinist Maxim Venegerov, and pianist Cyprien Katsaris, all of whom provide pleasing, technically accurate, and musically satisfying performances of their respective pieces. With the exception of the Violin Concerto, listeners only get to hear bits and pieces of various works. While WCJ manages to fill two full discs in this manner, the more they add, the more obvious it is what has been excluded. What about the string quartets? Cello and violin sonatas? Organ works? Instead pursing a futile attempt to offer a comprehensive overview off all of the genres in which Mendelssohn composed, WCJ may have done better to provide two discs of complete pieces; pick a couple of the greats and do the whole composition. Listeners totally unfamiliar with Mendelssohn's works may find this as an acceptable introduction and a springboard to further listening, but are advised to listen to complete recordings of those sampled here as well as those that are left out.

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