Mendelssohn- Symphony No 3 ‘Scottish’ & Overture- The Hebrides, Schumann- Piano Concerto

London Symphony Orchestra, Maria João Pires

19.9932.49
Clear
Original Recording Format: DSD 64

From grappling with his two most popular symphonies, the ‘Scottish’ and ‘Italian’, one soon realises how Mendelssohn absorbed foreign landscapes like a sponge, an impression reinforced by the exquisite water-colours he found time to paint on his frequent travels. His vivid impressions of Scotland first surfaced in his Fingal’s Cave overture (sketched in 1829 but not published until 1834), in which the polishing process entailed eradicating traces of learned counterpoint in favour of ‘the taste of seagulls and train oil’ (as he himself put it). Indeed, his approach to instrumentation was close to that of an artist selecting individual shades and mixtures of colours. When once a fellow composer suggested to him, “Here pure purple is needed – the horns are dampening the splendour of the trumpets”, Mendelssohn replied, “No! No! That shouts too loudly. I want violet”.
Sir John Eliot Gardiner

Tracklist

1.
Overture- The Hebrides
10:02
2.
Piano Concerto- i. Allegro affettuoso
15:20
3.
Piano Concerto- ii. Intermezzo- Andantino grazioso
05:04
4.
Piano Concerto- iii. Allegro vivace
11:04
5.
Symphony No 3- i. Andante con moto - Allegro un poco agitato
15:02
6.
Symphony No 3- ii. Vivace non troppo
04:11
7.
Symphony No 3- iii. Adagio
08:56
8.
Symphony No 3- iv. Allegro vivacissimo - Allegro maestoso assai
09:39

Total time: 01:19:18

Additional information

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Mastering Engineer

Classic Sound Ltd. JOnathan Stokes

Producer

Nicholas parker

Recording Engineer

Classic Sound Ltd. Neil Hutchinson

Recording location

Barbican London

Recording Type & Bit Rate

DSD64

Awards

,

SKU

LSO0765

Release Date July 7, 2015
SKU LSO0765

Press reviews

Crescendo

The Scottish Symphony revives the austere beauty of the Scottish countryside.

Cutting Edge

This album is, in short, perfection in a nutshell.

Fono Forum

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.

MDR

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.

Pizzicato

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.

BBC Music Magazine

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.

Gramophone

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.

Evolver

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

International Record Review

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.

SA-CD.net

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

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.

The Arts Desk

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 Herald Scotland

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.

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