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Mendelssohn: A Midsummer Night's Dream

  • Catalogue Number LSO0795
    UPC 822231179528

    Nicholas Parker producer
    Neil Hutchinson and Jonathan Stokes for Classic Sound Ltd sound engineers
    Nicholas Parker and Neil Hutchinson audio editors

    Recorded live in DSD 128fs, 16 February 2016, at the Barbican, London

    Includes a Pure Audio Blu-ray disc with bonus footage of the concert performance, as well as high-resolution master audio.

    Programme notes in English / Notes de programme en français /
    Einführungstexte auf Deutsch
    Texts in English. Sung and spoken in English

  • Classic FM's Album of the Week

    ***** BBC Music Magazine Orchestral Choice 'The interplay between spoken and instrumental sections is smoothly engineered and the young actors keep things moving. But it's Mendelssohn's lyricism that wins overall: how do you sum up nearly an hour's music with just a slow, high, softly descending E major scale? Genius.' BBC Music Magazine

    Presto Classical Disc of the Week 'There's a real lightness of touch in the Overture, and I was delighted with the way that Gardiner manages to make familiar music sound fresh. He doesn't shy away from some of Mendelssohn's more imaginative touches of orchestration, and the moment where Mendelssohn employs huge leaps in the violins and clarinets to represent the braying of Bottom is pleasingly done.’ Presto Classical

    The Sunday Times Album of the Week 'Gardiner hears this music through the prism of period instruments and conveys its magic with his outstanding choir and soloists.' The Sunday Times

    ‘The recording captures everything I read about the performance in the reviews: the shimmering sounds, the accuracy and attention to detail.’ BBC Radio 3 Record Review

    ‘What the new recording lacks in energy by comparison with Beecham it makes up for in evoking the magic of the music and the recording, of course, is much better, good though the Beulah transfer is.’ MusicWeb International

    ‘Most importantly, the orchestra sound great, and that’s the real reason people will pick this up, the acting being only a nice bonus. The Overture sounds marvellous, the vibratoless strings dancing over the fairy music as though barely touching it.’ MusicWeb International

    Concert reviews

    ***** ‘It was the consistent suavity of the LSO’s playing under Gardiner’s baton that impressed most of all. The winds were outstanding in Mendelssohn’s shimmering score’ The Guardian

    ***** ‘You’d have had to have been an ass to find this performance of Mendelssohn’s incidental music …anything other than magical…John Eliot Gardiner unlocked both the silken beauty of this music and its evanescence’ The Times

    **** ‘I suspect I’ll hear this miraculous score many times…but I doubt I’ll hear it better played than the LSO under Sir John Eliot Gardiner…This performance tingled with drama’ Bachtrack

    **** ‘The magic was supplied by those musicians, under John Eliot Gardiner, spinning textures of delectable delicacy, with feather-light strings and fluttery flutes’ Evening Standard


Sir John Eliot Gardiner
London Symphony Orchestra

Continuing his award-winning cycle, Sir John Eliot Gardiner leads the London Symphony Orchestra, his Monteverdi Choir and three talented, young, actors from the Guildhall School in a landmark performance of Mendelssohn’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, which was performed as part of the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death.

To mark the celebrations, Gardiner produced a special version of the work featuring some cuts to the original movements that, in his words, ‘removing all of the music relating to the Mechanicals and thus focusing on the world of the fairies and the human lovers.’ Mendelssohn, who adored Shakespeare’s writings, composed his concert overture based on A Midsummer Night’s Dream in 1827 at the young age of 17. Music scholar George Grove described it as 'the greatest marvel of early maturity that the world has ever seen in music” 

The album's Pure Audio Blu-ray disc includes bonus footage of the concert performance of A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Mendelssohn’s Symphony No 1, alongside high resolution master audio.

Composer   Mendelssohn
Conductor   Sir John Eliot Gardiner
Performers   London Symphony Orchestra
Choir   Monteverdi Choir
Actors   Alexander Knox, Ceri-lyn Cissone, Frankie Wakefield

Track list
1. Overture
2. Incidental music: Narration - "Ay me! For aught that I could ever read"
3. No 1 Scherzo
4. No 2 L'istesso tempo
5. No 2a Allegro vivace
6. No 3 Lied mit Chor
7. No 4 Andante
8. No 5 Allegro appassionato
9. No 7 Nocturne (Con moto tranquillo)
10. No 8 Andante
11. No 9 Hochzeitmarsch ("Wedding March") & No 12 Allegro vivace come primo
12. Finale (Allegro di molto)

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