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Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy: Symphony No. 4 ("Italian") and No. 5 ("Reformation") - The Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Lorin Maazel
Mendelssohn’s Symphonies nos. 4 and 5 were composed within a short period of time and the highly individual form of the movements are proof positive of the young genius’s never-ending source of ideas. The sparkling first movement of the Fourth Symphony with its jubilant theme and the wild, thrilling Saltarello finale bear witness to an exuberant zest for life, such as Mendelssohn must have experienced it on his visit to Italy. As a contrast, the melancholic Andante is reminiscent of Beethoven’s expressive depth, while the following minuet-like movement with its horns conjures up a feeling of romantic German hunting scene in the forest.The Fifth Symphony is homogeneous throughout in that it is full of religious dignity with its opening canon, melodic writing which reminds one of liturgical ceremonies , the famous “Dresden Amen”, which Richard Wagner copied using Mendelssohn’s harmonisation for the “gral motif” in his opera "Parsifal", and the rich and fully worked out final chorale “Ein feste Burg”.Quite opposite to the uniqueness of these masterpieces is the enormous selection of other recordings of these works – but Maazel’s youthful vigour and freshness, close attention to detail in his interpretation, and colourful timbre make the choice simple.
Recording: April 1960 and January 1961 at Jesus-Christus-Kirche, Berlin, by Gerhard HenjesProduction: Karl-Heinz Schneider
Reissue by Speakers Corner. A limited Audiophile Pressing.