Mendelssohn - Symphony No.5, Ruy Blas, Calm Sea and Prosperous Voyage
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Label: LSO Live
Cat No: LSO0775
Format: SACD + Blu-ray Audio
Number of Discs: 2
Release Date: 5th May 2015
WorksCalm Sea and Prosperous Voyage: Overture, op.27
Ruy Blas: Overture, op.95
Symphony no.5 in D major, op.107 'Reformation'
ArtistsLondon Symphony Orchestra
ConductorJohn Eliot Gardiner
Sir John Eliot Gardiner and the London Symphony Orchestra join forces once again in the latest instalment of their exploration of Mendelssohn’s symphonies.
The previous release, Mendelssohn’s Symphony No.3, ‘Scottish’, coupled with The Hebrides Overture and Schumann’s Piano Concerto, has received widespread critical acclaim. Gramophone awarded the album Editor’s Choice and called it "a truly memorable performance"; IRR observed that "it is so good that it can be recommended without hesitation" and it received an ICMA 2014 nomination in the Best Collection category.
Mendelssohn’s Symphony No.5 was written in 1830 to commemorate the 300th anniversary of the Augsberg confession – a seminal event in the Protestant Reformation. Allusions to the symphony’s title and inspiration can be heard throughout the music itself: the Dresden Amen is cited by the strings in the first movement, whilst the finale is based on Martin Luther’s well-known chorale 'Ein feste Burg ist unser Gott' (A Mighty Fortress is Our God).
Coupled with this are two of Mendelssohn’s overtures, both of which were inspired by literary works. 'Calm Sea and Prosperous Voyage', based on two short poems by Goethe, depicts the journey of sailors at sea with a still adagio opening ultimately giving way to a triumphant homecoming.
Completing the album, the overture 'Ruy Blas' was commissioned by the Leipzig Theatre as an overture to Victor Hugo’s tragic drama of the same name.
DSD recording, live at the Barbican, March & October 2014.
Audio 2.0 Stereo and multi-channel (5.1)
"The overture to Ruy Blas was ebullient but nuanced… The LSO players rose to it all – this was no imitation period band, but a modern orchestra responding brilliantly and unapologetically to a famously demanding conductor." - The Guardian *****
"Gardiner reserved vibrato for the faster section [of Calm Sea and Prosperous Voyage], which erupted with bubbling, vivacious energy...The fearsome power which Gardiner and the LSO wrought in the [Fifth Symphony’s] first movement’s development was carried over into the scherzo, instilling the latter with considerable vigour and weight… There was no mistaking the fervour and grandeur of the fugal development of the Lutheran chorale ‘Ein feste Burg’ in the finale, concluding the performance with impressive gravitas." - Classical Source
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