MENDELSSOHN Symphonies / Nézet-Séguin


Symphonies Nos. 1-5
Behle · Gauvin · Mühlemann
Chamber Orchestra of Europe
Yannick Nézet-Séguin
Int. Release 16 Jun. 2017
3 CDs / Download
0289 479 7337 9


CD 1: Mendelssohn: Symphonies 1-5

Felix Mendelssohn (1809 - 1847)
Symphony No. 1 In C Minor, Op. 11, MWV N 13


Symphony No. 3 in A Minor, Op. 56, MWV N 18, "Scottish"


Chamber Orchestra Of Europe, Yannick Nézet-Séguin

Gesamtspielzeit: 1:12:56

CD 2: Mendelssohn: Symphonies 1-5

Felix Mendelssohn (1809 - 1847)
Symphony No. 2 In B Flat, Op. 52, MWV A 18 - "Hymn Of Praise"

Chamber Orchestra Of Europe, Yannick Nézet-Séguin

RIAS Kammerchor, Chamber Orchestra Of Europe, Yannick Nézet-Séguin

Karina Gauvin, RIAS Kammerchor, Chamber Orchestra Of Europe, Yannick Nézet-Séguin

Daniel Behle, Chamber Orchestra Of Europe, Yannick Nézet-Séguin

RIAS Kammerchor, Chamber Orchestra Of Europe, Yannick Nézet-Séguin

Karina Gauvin, Regula Mühlemann, RIAS-Kammerchor, Chamber Orchestra Of Europe, Yannick Nézet-Séguin

Karina Gauvin, Daniel Behle, Chamber Orchestra Of Europe, Yannick Nézet-Séguin

RIAS Kammerchor, Chamber Orchestra Of Europe, Yannick Nézet-Séguin

Karina Gauvin, Daniel Behle, Chamber Orchestra Of Europe, Yannick Nézet-Séguin

RIAS Kammerchor, Chamber Orchestra Of Europe, Yannick Nézet-Séguin

Gesamtspielzeit: 1:06:58

CD 3: Mendelssohn: Symphonies 1-5

Felix Mendelssohn (1809 - 1847)
Symphony No. 4 in A Major, Op. 90, MWV N 16, "Italian"

Symphony No. 5 in D Minor, Op. 107, MWV N 15 - "Reformation"



Chamber Orchestra Of Europe, Yannick Nézet-Séguin

Gesamtspielzeit: 1:00:04

. . . [in Symphony no. 1, Nézet-Séguin and his COE colleagues speak Mendelssohn's musical language] with absolute fluency. One of the most brilliant facets of Nézet-Séguin's artistry is his ability to simultaneously emphasize both a piece's drama and its lyricism, and that facet sparkles throughout the performances on these discs . . . [Mendelssohn 2]: Karina Gauvin offers excellent diction . . . allied here with vocalism of unassailable concentration and poise. The tonal beauty of tenor Daniel Behle's singing of the recitative "Saget es, die ihr erlöst seid durch den Herrn" . . . is stirring, but the subtlety of his enunciation of text is no less impressive . . . Gauvin and soprano Regula Mühlemann blend their very different voices with consummate skill . . . [in the Third, the "Scottish" symphony, Nézet-Séguin's] affinity for Mendelssohn's musical portrait of the country is unmistakable . . . [this performance of the Symphony no. 4] is representative of a fusion of engaging moxie with irreproachable musicianship . . . [Mendelssohn 5]: Nézet-Séguin leads this performance of the "Reformation" with controlled zeal. The COE strings' articulation in the Allegro vivace compels admiration, and the orchestra's brass playing is praiseworthy throughout . . .

. . . the most persuasive argument on behalf of the quality of Mendelssohn's music is made by playing it as the composer intended it to be played, seeking meaning and relevance within the scores. Yannick Nézet-Séguin and the Chamber Orchestra of Europe accomplish this as compellingly in these performances of Mendelssohn's Symphonies as in their DGG survey of Mozart's mature operas . . . Mendelssohn's Symphonies pose challenging questions to conductors and musicians, but the performances on this new release find answers . . .

. . . [Symphony no. 2] is the triumph of the set, and it's Nézet-Séguin's artistic breakthrough . . . [it] benefits from the smaller-scale performance here, which reveals more content, and more compelling content, to the extent that this performance may be a new landmark . . . The set as a whole is a solid traversal of the five symphonies, with as much of a consistent approach as one could hope for in such different works.

First impressions are terrific . . . [Symphony No.1] sweeps along with tragic force . . . [with the 3rd and 4th,] Nezet-Seguin and the orchestra summon up an appropriately dark, misty sound for the first, and a bright, joyous sound for the second. It's all unimpeachably refined . . . anyone looking for a reliable complete set of Mendelssohn's symphonies couldn't do better.

. . . [Nézet-Séguin] gives orchestral counterpoints a distinct drive, and he is particularly skilled at conjuring the sustained musical character of larger symphonic works. Both the theatrical arc and the inner drives are very much present in Mendelssohn's Symphony no. 1. Its forceful tempos carry one away with glittering orchestral sharpness . . . [Mendelssohn 3]: Perhaps the highlight of these recordings is an altogether defining performance of Mendelssohn's noble and stirring third movement . . . Nézet-Séguin's masterful balance sustains a theatrical arc . . . These qualities are also present in the "Italian" Symphony . . . in this textbook performance by the COE, it is particularly vibrant with Nézet-Séguin's tempos bouncing at a tempered gallop, the matrix of orchestral streams laced with Mendelssohn's balletic lyricism . . . [Mendelssohn 2]: RIAS Kammerchor's towering voice makes this a defining performance . . . The Gauvin/Mühlemann duet ("Ich harrete des Herrn") is sublime with its tonal effect and Mozartian beauty . . . [the "Reformation" Symphony delivers] a triumphant ending that's transporting, even rapturous, to this secular ear . . . Equalization and acoustical purity of these live recordings were impeccably engineered . . .

. . . the Chamber Orchestra under the baton of Yannick Nézet-Séguin is attentive to every shift in mood and instrumental detail . . . great warmth of the strings and well-proportioned dynamics . . . these performances will not be easily surpassed. Engineers and conductor have achieved a most gratifying spectacle of live music making, drama and tonal splendor. Taken together, this is superb treatment of Mendelssohn's orchestral works . . . We certainly give the highest commendation to the sterling DG production, including its packaging and liner notes.

. . . the crowning Mendelssohn of this decade . . . a stellar survey of all five symphonies . . . [Mendelsohn 2]: a fantastic performance . . . Everything comes to life. The "Sinfonia" proceeds with a lightness of touch and rhythmic tautness that ensures it all but floats on air. The singing of the RIAS Kammerchor is crisp and powerful . . . [and the soloists] all acquit themselves excellently . . . The "travel symphonies" are similarly exhilarating . . . Nézet-Séguin taps the lyrical vein of the "Italian" Symphony with a good deal of enthusiasm: the middle movements soar and . . . the rhythmic exactitude on display in the outer ones never fails to impress . . . [the Symphony no. 1 is given] a thoroughly stylish and vigorous reading. Ditto the "Reformation" Symphony, the stodgiest of the set, which here is plenty lithe and pert . . . Throughout, the COE plays with an attention to rhythmic detail and articulation that is particularly enlivening. This approach lends a freshness to Nézet-Séguin's interpretations that is integral to their success . . . The results are a triumph on all fronts.

A first-rate, inspired rendering of Mendelssohn's five superb Symphonies . . . Nézet-Séguin and the Chamber Orchestra of Europe together make an inspired combination for this recording . . . Tuning is spot-on and ensemble rapport excellent, with beautiful phrasing evident throughout . . . Heard in a fresh new light, there is unimpeded delight in hearing performances by this band and its fine director . . . [these very fine live recordings] are honoured with superb technical recording technique, a first-rate balance and warm blooming sound . . . [Symphony no. 2] is a thrilling achievement . . . Karina Gauvin has developed a warm and burnished quality in recent years and is superbly accompanied by Swiss soprano Regula Mühlemann. German tenor Daniel Behle provides a voice that is rich, clear, agile and intelligent. The movement "Nun danket alle Gott" is as good as it gets. Symphonies Nos 3 "Scottish" and 5 "Italian" are spritely and animated with wonderfully crisp woodwind and brass . . . The opening brass of the Symphony No 5 "Reformation" is brilliant and the woodwind of "Ein feste Burg ist unser Gott" is genuinely startling. Here is an outstanding manifestation of musical intent. Music to play at volume and warmly recommended.

. . . unmatched passion and energy . . . [Mendelssohn's Symphonies are] the perfect project for a conductor of Nézet-Séguin's energy and sensibility . . .

The Chamber Orchestra of Europe is a terrific band. Player for player they can match any orchestra anywhere, and as an ensemble it is remarkable for its precision and for its stylistic excellence . . . The playing is superb and Yannick brings his usual energy and attention to detail to the project . . . The Symphony No. 2 "Hymn of Praise" with soloists and chorus is one of my favourite Mendelssohn pieces and Nézet-Séguin and his forces perform it with energy and sensitivity. The choruses are very well done with the chorale "Nun danket alle Gott" beautifully shaped . . . German tenor Daniel Behle is impressive in both the lyrical and dramatic elements in his music . . . The performance of the "Italian" symphony is lively and joyous, and the virtuosity of the COE musicians is much in evidence, especially in the final Saltarello. Likewise, the Symphony No. 1, composed when Mendelssohn was only 15 years old, is played with great exuberance.

The Chamber Orchestra of Europe is a terrific band. Player for player they can match any orchestra anywhere, and as an ensemble it is remarkable for its precision and for its stylistic excellence . . . The playing is superb and Yannick brings his usual energy and attention to detail to the project . . . the performance is carefully prepared and executed . . . [no. 2]: Nézet-Séguin and his forces perform it with energy and sensitivity. The choruses are very well done with the chorale "Nun danket alle Gott" beautifully shaped . . . The performance of the "Italian" symphony is lively and joyous, and the virtuosity of the COE musicians is much in evidence, especially in the final Saltarello.

Nézet-Séguin brings us a treat in the "Reformation" Symphony . . . restoring Mendelssohn's original thoughts, which notably include an extended flute solo before the finale, beautiful in itself and stunningly played . . . Nézet-Séguin and the Chamber Orchestra of Europe (COE) evoke the effervescent, restless, driven essence of Mendelssohn, often almost to perfection . . . the "Scottish" Symphony with its irrepressible clarinet and rustling-leaves background, emerges with gorgeous humour, springiness and clarity. The "Italian" Symphony catches not only the joyous energy of the tarantella, but also some heated violence in the finale. This recording is at its very best when the music is allowed to fly . . . [the acoustic is] splendidly clear . . . Mendelssohn's music fills the space and the impact is warm and finely detailed.

Nézet-Séguin approaches the symphonies of Mendelssohn with an exploratory mind and deep care for colour, the COE responding with brilliance throughout this impressive set.

. . . [Nézet-Séguin and the brilliant Chamber Orchestra of Europe marry] sinew, clarity and point of detail and -- a hallmark of their performances throughout these discs -- unerring control of tension . . . [the "Reformation" symphony] beguiles with its caressing delicacy. Here and elsewhere the COE woodwind are superlative, individually and in consort . . . Conductor and orchestra show the same vitality and care for instrumental colour and balancing in the choral sections . . . Gauvin impresses with her full, warm tone and verbal sensitivity . . . [Behle is unsurpassed] in lyrical allure . . . Nézet-Séguin, persuasively to my ears, prioritises lyricism and grace . . . his gift for building tension over long spans ensures that the music never merely happens . . . the first movement drives to a fine, searing climax, while the finale darts and leaps jubilantly, with no whiff of pomposity . . . Nézet-Séguin emphasises elegiac lyricism in the flexibly paced opening movement of the "Scottish" . . . he gives full value to the contrapuntal tensions of the development, underpinned by exemplary timpani clarity . . . one of the most ebullient and brilliantly played Scherzos on disc . . . the main theme combines luminous purity with expressive, natural-sounding rubato . . . The finale is marvellously atmospheric . . . for anyone wanting a complete set of the symphonies in the lean, lithe modern mould -- my kind of Mendelssohn -- Nézet-Séguin's imaginative, fabulously executed performances guarantee abiding pleasure.

It is a genuine pleasure to take a deep dive into these remarkably diverse and interesting symphonies, especially when they are played (and sung) with such enthusiastic vigour and passion as they are here . . . [this smart and attractive recording] has the vitality of a live performance, with fine playing from all the sections . . . the greatest achievement of this disc is the superb performance of the Second Symphony . . . Nézet-Séguin, the RIAS Kammerchor and three fabulous soloists (including Canada's Ruby Award-winning luminous diva, Karina Gauvin) raise the roof in a sincere and joyful rendering of a unique score.

. . . [a] formidable compilation of Mendelssohn's symphonies . . . performances that are energetic, expressive . . . At his best, Nézet-Séguin brings out both the ardor and the brittle elegance of Mendelssohn's writing, lending pictorial zest and glamour to the "Italian" and "Scottish" Symphonies, and setting out the "Reformation" Symphony in broad, winningly grandiose paragraphs . . . a terrific achievement, crowned by a vivid account of the symphony-oratorio hybrid "Lobgesang".

. . . Nézet-Séguin leads light, bright, fast-moving readings of all five symphonies . . . [he conducts with] superior musicianship . . . In Symphony No. 1, Nézet-Séguin's light hand is effective at bringing out the score's effervescence, and he makes the intrusion of strong accents in the outer movements suitably forceful . . . [in Symphony no. 2] everything is well balanced and beautifully played . . . Nézet-Séguin's "Lobgesang" is a decided asset to the cycle . . . [in the beloved "Scottish" and "Italian" Symphonies] there's considerable finesse and care over phrasing in both performances . . . The "Italian" Symphony is catnip to a conductor this naturally ebullient, and Nézet-Séguin delivers a mercurial interpretation that's quite enjoyable . . . I've never encountered a reading this feathery -- it dances on air . . . if you favor light, bright, nimble Mendelssohn with HIP touches, this new set is very recommendable.

Eine Aufnahme voller Lebendigkeit und mit tiefem Verständnis für das Werk des Komponisten.

Der Kanadier erweist sich als ein Dirigent, der den Klang sorgfältig modellieret, ständig die Rhetorik aufrecht erhält und auch vor Emotionen keine Angst hat. So entstehen im Fluss der Musik ein gesundes Rubato, ein feines Relief mit subtiler Artikulationskunst und dynamischen Veränderungen, es entstehen wohlklingende Differenzierungen, wie sie nur zustande kommen können, wenn es zwischen Dirigent und Orchester eine perfekte Komplizenschaft und eine organische gewachsene Bereitschaft zum gemeinsamen Interpretieren gibt. Das Chamber Orchestra of Europe ist äußerst agil, wendig und absolut souverän und frei . . . ich erinnere mich an keine "Lobgesang" (Symphonie Nr. 2), die so leicht und locker daher kommt, befreit von jedem pompösen Ansatz und jedem erdrückenden Pathos . . . Das Adagio religioso bleibt luftig und leicht, und gewinnt dennoch die richtige Ausdruckstiefe . . . Nirgends belastet Schwere die Musik, die Musik schwingt wunderbar geatmet und mit einer eleganten Noblesse, die ihren Charakter bestens trifft . . . Daniel Behle ist stilistisch wie stimmlich untadelig. Auch Regina Mühlemann bleibt elegant . . . [die Aufnahme ist] sehr klar und deutlich, wohl ausbalanciert . . .
Yannick Nézet-Séguin and the Chamber Orchestra of Europe are absolutely pulling together in their finely differentiated Mendelsohn performances . . . I do not remember any "Lobgesang" (Symphony No. 2) as light, fresh and free from pomp, overdone emotionalism and stark solemnity.

. . . [cette intégrale] tend à le démontrer: vision globale brillante . . . [exploitant bien] les qualité chantantes et de solistes du Chamber Orchestra of Europe . . . [dans Symphonie no. 2, les choses s'affirment] en vigueur comme en dramatisme, avec cette élégance qui n'écarte pas une certaine classe virile, très mendelssohnienne . . . Yannick Nézet-Séguin ajoute à une belle énergie souvent détaillée . . . le directeur lyrique n'est pas absent . . . chaque épisode est riche en subtilités et transparence, motricité rythmique, beau galbe dynamique; toujours, le chef soigne l'expressivité et une fluidité expressive qui s'avère prenante [du très bel ouvrage] . . . [les sopranos Karina Gauvin et Regula Mühlemann] apporte une indiscutable fragilité humaine à leur duo . . . La verve et le panache que déploie le chef font merveille . . .

. . . [Yannick Nézet-Séguin] surpasse ses prédécesseurs haut la main! . . . on sait qu'il va y avoir des accents, de la clarté, de l'énergie et des phrases qui fusent . . . l'entente entre l'OCE et le chef québécois est parfaite: il y a donc émulation mutuelle et une joie de faire de la musique qui convient idéalement à Mendelssohn . . . C'est très intéressant, voire passionnant. Le simple "air du temps" n'est pas le seul atout de la nouvelle intégrale . . . [la Symphonie no. 2 c'est la grande réussite] du cycle . . . La vision de Yannick Nézet-Séguin est a priori très séduisante . . . Yannick Nézet-Séguin vient proposer un autre regard, "moderne".

Trop rares, ces 5 symphonies se laissent redécouvrir de la tendresse à la majesté . . . Un disque à découvrir d'urgence!

. . . la complicité lumineuse entre le charismatique chef québécois et ses troupes, la transparence du discours et la clarté des phrasés sont autant de valeurs sûres pour servir sans arrière-pensée l'oecuménisme musical de Mendelssohn . . . la deuxième symphonie "Lobgesang" (Chant de louange) vaut en tout cas, à elle seule, l'acquisition de tout le lot . . . cette symphonie cantate est ici admirablement servie par la soprano Karina Gauvin, sa consoeur Regina Mühlemann, le ténor David Behle et l'inoxydable RIAS Kammerchor.

La relation fusionnelle entre le chef Yannick Nézet-Séguin, son orchestre et les voix porte au plus haut les symphonies . . . Les univers mendelssohniens y sont restitués avec fougue, souplesse et ce qu'il faut de lyrisme par l'excellent Chamber Orchestra of Europe, en sympathie flagrante avec son chef . . . Energique, chaleureuse, la direction électrise les instrumentistes et tire le meilleur, dans la Symphonie-cantate no 2, "Lobgesang", du trio vocal (Karina Gauvin, Regula Mühlemann, Daniel Behle) et du toujours bluffant RIAS Kammerchor. La Symphonie no 4, "Italienne", déborde d'une joie contagieuse, et la Symphonie no 3, "Ecossaise", magnifie les bois. La Symphonie no 5, "Réformation", enfin, conclut le parcours par un choral instrumental d'une formidable éloquence.

La sensibilité et l'enthousiasme de la lecture suggèrent que se tisse ici une correspondance innée, pour ainsi dire générationnelle, entre ces "jeunes" musiciens . . . et l'esprit mendelssohnien. Elle se traduit par une pulsation volontaire mais qui respire, un rythme à la fois marqué et délié, un modelé supérieur et évocateur de la matière sonore -- ce dernier point est un ressort essentiel de l'art de Nézet-Séguin . . . Le chef québécois déploie en outre de grandes qualités narratives dans la "Lobgesang" . . . la piété vocale de Regula Mühlemann, soprano II, est en situation, et le RIAS Kammerchor impeccable (nuances et couleurs: splendide "Nun danket alles Gott"). Daniel Behle est lui aussi excellent . . . Le Chamber Orchestra of Europe déploie partout un jeu superlatif: liberté des pupitres de bois, solos veloutés et aériens -- flûte, hautbois, clarinette . . . --, perfection enivrante du timing et des frappes du timbalier . . . Tout demeure étonnamment fluide et agile, et le mystère nait souvent au coeur même de la transparence. Les nombreuses inflexions dynamiques sont en outre parfaitement dosées. La gestion générale des silences et des suspensions, exemplaire . . . Voilà sans nul doute une des intégrales Mendelssohn les plus abouties depuis les visions drues et radicales d'Harnoncourt . . . Avec un charme juvénile et décontracté en plus, une élasticité distinctive -- addictive, aussi. Notre préférée ici? La "Réformation".