Mendelssohn: Symphony No 3 'Scottish' [download]

  • Catalogue Number LSO0765
    UPC 822231176527

    Nicholas Parker producer
    Classic Sound Ltd engineering, mixing & mastering

    Recorded live at the Barbican, 21st January 2014

    DSD (direct stream digital) recording
    Notes in English / en français / auf Deutsch

  • Editor’s Choice
    ‘Gardiner brilliantly delineates orchestral textures and proves a perfect collaborative partner for Pires.’ Gramophone

    Record of the Week
    'A resounding cheer for this album!' Sveriges Radio

    Performance *** (Mendelssohn) ***** (Schumann) Recording ***** ‘Playing and balance throughout are exemplary... A special laurel wreath should be placed on the brow of guest principal oboist Celine Moinet, whose phrasing of the tune at the start of the concerto is magical… She [Pires] has the enviable ability to make everything sound fresh but natural, and her tone is enchanting… The definition on this [blu-ray] is superb and the camera work actually helps the viewer understand the music.’ BBC Music Magazine

    Music ***** Sound ***** ‘There's absolutely nothing at all "routine" about the performances... Seldom does one hear Mendelssohn’s orchestral music that intense and at the same time with such beautiful sound and illuminated in even the tiniest detail of the score... He [John Eliot Gardiner] meets Maria João Pires in an intimate “speaking” expression of the themes and acknowledges the fantasticness of this music at every moment… A dense, eventful performance, as one wishes Schumann performances to be more often.’ Fono Forum

    Performance ***** Sonics ****½ ‘The sound quality on these discs is amongst the best that I have heard from LSO Live. The piano is very well balanced with the orchestra and the shortcomings of the Barbican acoustic are minimal. Perhaps it is also worth mentioning that the booklet artwork is the most attractive I have seen on an LSO Live disc. It is to be hoped that future issues in this cycle equal the standard set by this one. Highly recommended.’

    Classic FM Drive Featured Album
    ‘As you might expect, Sir John brings his love of authentic performance into his approach - the LSO strings sound bright and breezy as they evoke Mendelssohn's Scotland in both the Scottish Symphony and his Hebrides Overture. Also featured on this release is Maria João Pires joining the LSO to play the Piano Concerto by Schumann - the inaugural concerto recording on the LSO Live label. The brilliant Portuguese pianist is on sparkling form, ranging from the intimate to the dazzlingly virtuosic.’ Classic FM

    ICMA 2015 Nomination Best Collection

    ***** ‘This album is, in short, perfection in a nutshell.’ Cutting Edge

    ‘If I had to pick my record of the year, there would be a queue. Leading that queue, and ticking every box, is the stunning, revelatory new recording of Mendelssohn's Scottish Symphony and Hebrides Overture, with, to my taste, one of the finest performances of Schumann's Piano Concerto that I have ever heard. The whole thing is absolutely wonderful, and an education.’ The Herald Scotland

    ‘In terms of sound, the balance is realistic on both, with much clarity and a battling edge to Mendelssohn’s dramatic tutti. Sir John Eliot Gardiner’s Hebrides Overture must be one of the most thrilling ever recorded, adding volleys of sea-spray to well-navigated execution… The [Schumann Piano Concerto] performance’s highlight comes towards the close of the sprightly finale…That passage alone marks this out as a truly memorable performance. Incidentally, the Blu-ray disc includes, in addition to fine sound, crystal-clear video footage of the same concert performance.’ Gramophone

    ‘It's an unalloyed delight to come across this exhilarating live account of the Symphony no 3. We also get a nippy account of The Hebrides overture, and a graceful performance of Schumann's Piano Concerto from Maria João Pires… a wise, intelligent performance. Praise too for LSO Live's engineers – this is among the best-sounding recordings from this source.’ The Arts Desk

    ‘Less rushed than many, emphasising the lyrical beauty and poetry in the concerto right to the end. And if you add the chamber music intimacy they find in the middle movement and the conversational exchanges with the winds that are brought out so clearly by Gardiner in the first movement then I think you have something quite special here.’
    BBC Radio 3 CD Review

    ‘Together, Gardiner and the orchestra give a sensitive and tingly performance of the Mendelssohn. Just a dream recording.’ Evolver

    'Gardiner makes sure that we hear all sorts of lovely little details in the orchestra but not to the extent that you feel he’s trying to elbow the soloist out of the way, and she’s a lovely soloist in this performance… Beautiful piano playing, beautiful orchestral playing, beautiful intimate almost chamber-like connection between the two. And again, a lovely reminder that this concerto is full of the kind of orchestration that Schumann’s critics say he couldn’t write. It’s wonderful…’ When asked to choose his preferred Scottish Symphony performance Stephen Johnson chooses Sir John Eliot Gardiner’s recording. ‘It’s such an exciting and thrilling and revealing performance.’
    BBC Radio 3 Building a Library with Andrew McGregor and Stephen Johnson, 8th December 2014

    ‘Pires plays the Schumann concerto captivatingly beautifully and with a strong sense for dynamism and virtuosity. Gardiner and the London Symphony Orchestra accompany committedly and listen carefully.’ Pizzicato

    ‘Both discs are quite excellent and very definitely full range audio… [The London Symphony Orchestra] are always trying to get the best possible audio quality in their recordings. They are doing something different in this release…’ Positive Feedback

    ‘The acoustic was captured in a rather intimate way, matching the comparatively small orchestra with only 12 first violins. In this vein, a wonderful transparency is created, reflecting the spirit of the piece with its permanent interactions between soloist and orchestra particularly well.’ BR-Klassik

    ‘In Mendelssohn’s “Scottish” Symphony, John Eliot Gardiner proves himself a sensitive conductor and the musicians of London Symphony Orchestra prove their instrumental superior ease especially in the tricky passages. Energy also dominates their interpretation of the “Hebrides Overture” – the contrasts of this work makes the listener sense the dynamics of the churning sea.’ MDR

    ‘As a performance, this "Scottish" Symphony is as fresh, vital and even thrilling as any I’ve ever heard – and given the exceptional quality of the sound it easily goes to the top of my list … it is so good that it can be recommended without hesitation.’ International Record Review

    ‘In the new record, John Eliot Gardiner boldly plumbs the whole palette of colours… The London Symphony Orchestra and Gardiner precisely capture the urgency of the movements.’ NDR Kultur

    ‘A general air of rambunctiousness energizes the whole performance [Symphony No 3 ‘Scottish’]… Pires’s delightful touch in the piano’s beguiling passagework makes the reading [Schumann Piano Concerto].’ Fanfare

    ‘The Hebrides’ overture seems to splash its foam directly on the listener’s sofa due to exemplary sound recording. In the 3rd Symphony in A Minor (“Scottish”), we are faced with a north which is not only foggy, not only inhospitable, not only gloomy. The musical play of light and shadow is an impressive success.’ Rheinische Post

    ‘The Hebrides' surf makes itself heard… Greatly recommended!’
    Hifi & Records

    ‘The programme begins with Mendelssohn's most popular overture "The Hebrides". Gardiner equips the work with dramatic power… the music permanently retains its elasticity and a bubbling energy.’

    ‘The Scottish Symphony… revives the austere beauty of the Scottish countryside.’ Crescendo

    ‘Gardiner finds a wonderful balance between textural clarity, symphonic logic and a romantic emotionality and flexibility sparkling in all colours, which prompts a variety of images and naturally surging associations.’ Stereoplay

    ‘The positive aspect of Gardiner’s forceful control is music-making with high tension, which is very impressive due to its attention to detail, rhythmic precision as well as tonal immediacy and clarity.’

    ‘The London reviewers were especially enthusiastic about the way the conductor managed to add new aspects to the sound of the orchestra concerning historically informed performance, without denying the renowned orchestra’s characteristics.’ Magazin Frankfurt

    ‘I was impressed with the sound transparency, conciseness and clarity.’


Sir John Eliot Gardiner, London Symphony Orchestra

Inspired by his travels to the British Isles and full of the influence of the rolling Scottish landscape, both Mendelssohn’s Symphony No. 3 ‘Scottish’ and his Overture: The Hebrides are amongst the composer’s most popular and admired works. The London Symphony Orchestra present us with inspiring performances of these works, as well as a performance of Schumann’s Piano Concerto, featuring the celebrated pianist, Maria João Pires.

Sir John Eliot Gardiner writes of this coupling; ‘Even if they spoke with different accents these genial Romantics were united in their ambitious fervour for ‘abstract’ music to be acknowledged as having the same expressive force as poetry, drama or the literary novel. The three works on this album exemplify the endeavour and range of invention of two of them, friends and colleagues in Leipzig’.

Watch the trailer

Composers   Mendelssohn & Schumann
Conductor   Sir John Eliot Gardiner
Performers   London Symphony Orchestra
Soloist   Maria João Pires

Track list
1. The Hebrides - 'Fingal's Cave'
2. Piano Concerto in A Minor: I. Allegro affettuoso
3. Piano Concerto in A Minor: II. Intermezzo: Andantino grazioso
4. Piano Concerto in A Minor: III. Allegro vivace
5. Symphony No. 3 in A Minor - 'Scottish': I. Andante con moto - Allegro un poco agitato
6. Symphony No 3 in A Minor - 'Scottish': II. Vivace non troppo
7. Symphony No 3 in A Minor - 'Scottish': III. Adagio
8. Symphony No 3 in A Minor - 'Scottish': IV. Allegro vivacissimo - Allegro maestoso assai

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