Mendelssohn: The Complete String Symphonies

Achim Fiedler / Lucerne Festival Strings

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Mendelssohn: The Complete String Symphonies Review

by Mike D. Brownell

With the extreme popularity of his Third, Fourth, and Fifth symphonies, the earlier symphonies of Felix Mendelssohn are all too often forgotten and neglected. This includes the First and Second "full" symphonies, but even more significant are the string symphonies that predated even these. Between the astonishing ages of 12 and 14, Mendelssohn completed 12 complete symphonies for strings and began work on a 13th before abandoning it to begin work on the first full symphony. These 12 short works are masterpieces that, were it not for the grandeur of the later, well-known symphonies, would likely be heralded as the incredible achievements that they are. Though youthful, they nonetheless demonstrate Mendelssohn's staggering talent at a young age. The influence of Bach (both J.S. and C.P.E.) can be heard throughout their movements, but Mendelssohn's own individual voice can be heard emerging in each progressive symphony. This Oehms Classics three-disc makes up the complete string symphonies performed by the Festival Strings Lucerne under the leadership of Achim Fiedler. From a technical standpoint, Fiedler leads his group through a highly nuanced, detail-focused execution. Given their youthful origins, however, Fiedler's sound aesthetic seems to be rather heavy, more in line with what one might expect from a Brahms performance instead of early Mendelssohn. Oehms' sound quality doesn't help this issue much as it is rather reverberant and deprives the lower end of the orchestra of sufficient crispness and articulation.

Track Listing - Disc 1

Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
Sinfonia No. 1 in C major, MWV N 1
1 Achim Fiedler / Lucerne Festival Strings 04:48 Amazon
2 Achim Fiedler / Lucerne Festival Strings 03:26 Amazon
3 Achim Fiedler / Lucerne Festival Strings 02:57 Amazon
Sinfonia No. 2 in D major, MWV N 2
4 Achim Fiedler / Lucerne Festival Strings 04:05 Amazon
5 Achim Fiedler / Lucerne Festival Strings 04:40 Amazon
6 Achim Fiedler / Lucerne Festival Strings 02:08 Amazon
Sinfonia No. 3 in E minor, MWV N 3
7 Achim Fiedler / Lucerne Festival Strings 03:47 Amazon
8 Achim Fiedler / Lucerne Festival Strings 02:56 Amazon
9 Achim Fiedler / Lucerne Festival Strings 02:43 Amazon
Sinfonia No. 4 in C minor, MWV N 4
10 Achim Fiedler / Lucerne Festival Strings 03:27 Amazon
11 Achim Fiedler / Lucerne Festival Strings 02:42 Amazon
12 Achim Fiedler / Lucerne Festival Strings 02:45 Amazon
Sinfonia No. 5 in B flat major, MWV N 5
13 Achim Fiedler / Lucerne Festival Strings 04:36 Amazon
14 Achim Fiedler / Lucerne Festival Strings 02:52 Amazon
15 Achim Fiedler / Lucerne Festival Strings 03:57 Amazon
Sinfonia No. 6 in E flat major, MWV N 6
16 Achim Fiedler / Lucerne Festival Strings 03:33 Amazon
17 Achim Fiedler / Lucerne Festival Strings 04:00 Amazon
18 Achim Fiedler / Lucerne Festival Strings 03:30 Amazon
Works(s)
19 Achim Fiedler / Lucerne Festival Strings 07:16 Amazon
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