Felix Mendelssohn

Ruy Blas, overture for orchestra in C minor, Op. 95

    Description by Joseph Stevenson

    This overture is the result of a request to Mendelssohn from the Leipzig Theatrical Pension Fund, a charity that Mendelssohn liked to support. They intended to mount a benefit performance of Victor Hugo's Ruy Blas, and asked him for an overture and a song for the production. Mendelssohn obliged with a choral song, but initially demurred as to the overture; having read the play he privately decided that it was "quite ghastly" and politely told the Pension Fund people that he did not have time to write an overture. Then he thought the situation over and realized that he had left the impression that he could not write an overture in the space of a few months. His competitive nature flared up, and he wrote the overture in three days. The overture is a blood-and-thunder affair of generalized Romantic era emotionalism, with a troubled introduction, a furious opening theme, a tense second subject, and a lot of violence in working out. Bombastic? Unusually for Mendelssohn, absolutely yes. But it is effective and a good curtain raiser. Incidentally, Mendelssohn never changed his mind about the play, and preferred to call this work the "Theatrical Pension Fund Overture."

    Appears On

    Year Title Label Catalog #
    2019 Chandos CHSA 5235
    2018 LSO Live LSO 0826
    2018 Capriccio Records C 7250
    2016 Deutsche Grammophon 002894795516
    2016 MDG MDG 9011949
    2016 British Military Music Archive BMMACG 1607
    2015 LSO LSO 0775
    2014 Chandos CHSA 5139
    2014 Decca / Universal Music Classics and Jazz
    2014 Decca 4810778
    2014 Decca
    2014 Brilliant Classics 94936
    2013 ICA Classics ICAC 5117
    2013 Naxos 8505236
    2013 Deutsche Grammophon 4791046
    2012 Entertainment Group 11110
    2012 MDG / Zebralution
    2011 Oehms Classics OC 840
    2010 Deutsche Grammophon 2894779235
    2010 Deutsche Grammophon
    2010 Decca
    2010 Erato
    2010 Erato / Virgin Classics 5099962863
    2010 Deutsche Grammophon
    2009 Decca 4800382
    2009 BIS 1584
    2009 Sony Music Entertainment 88697420722
    2007 MDG MDG 30714692
    2007 EMI Classics / Warner Classics 0946381788
    2007 EMI Classics
    2007 Music & Arts CD1192
    2006 Dutton Vocalion 9763
    2006 Querstand 507
    2006 Querstand 419
    2006 Music & Arts 978
    2005 RCA Red Seal 67885
    2005 Arts Archives 43042
    2005 Direct-To-Tape 9303
    2004 Rca Red Seal 60864
    2004 Sony Music Distribution 87965
    2003 Virgin 45532
    2002 Deutsche Grammophon
    2001 Angel Records / Warner Classics 7243574519
    1999 Naxos 554433
    1999 Capriccio Records 10708
    1999 Pearl 9084
    1999 JAV Recordings JAV117
    1997 Dutton Laboratories 7001
    1997 Essential Archive 5009
    1997 Intersound 6218
    1995 Rene Gailly 87105
    1995 Berlin Classics 0091572
    1995 Seraphim UK 68524
    1995 Seraphim UK 69031
    1994 EMI Music Distribution 67775
    1994 Philips 442302
    1993 Sony Music Distribution 47591
    1989 Naxos 550222
    1988 Deutsche Grammophon 423104
    Decca 000298202
    Decca 000837002
    Priory Records 221
    Pro-Arte Records 815
    RCA 57905
    Universal Distribution 471467
    Pro-Arte Records 3509
    RCA 7905
    Collins Records 1361
    Musica Classica 2011
    Pro-Arte Records 543