Mendelssohn, Schumann: Symphonies
Antal Doráti
Label
Decca
Catalogue No.
4840506
Barcode
00028948405060
Format
2-CD
About

Noted for his Haydn and Mozart and for his affinity with 20th-century music from Berg to Bartók to Messiaen, the Hungarian conductor Antal Doráti also demonstrated a particularly idiomatic flair in presenting music of the early romantic era. Of these Mendelssohn and Schuman recordings, all but the Minneapolis ‘Italian’ Symphony are in stereo.

Unlike many of his colleagues, Doráti took pleasure in the process of recording, establishing a happy and concordant working relationship with the husband-and-wife Mercury team of Robert and Wilma Cozart Fine. One of the first fruits of that relationship was a pairing of Mozart’s 40th and Mendelssohn’s 4th symphonies, made in Minneapolis where Doráti had been music director since 1949 and released in 1953 (the Mozart has been reissued separately by Eloquence, coupled with Doráti’s first Haydn recordings and more Mozart).

Doráti directs crisp, flowing accounts which inhabit the soundworld of Mendelssohn and Schumann, understood forward from Haydn and Mozart rather than backwards from Brahms and Wagner. He finds in Henryk Szeryng an artistic partner of happy mutual understanding for the Violin Concerto: a justly celebrated recording from 1964 and a classic of the Mercury catalogue, but also a natural companion for Doráti’s light touch in four movements from A Midsummer Night’s Dream which were originally coupled in 1959 with excerpts from Grieg’s score for Peer Gynt.

Schumann’s Fourth was also originally coupled with Doráti’s stereo traversal of Mozart’s 40th. Long unavailable, this receives its first CD release on Decca.

Track Listing / Artists

CD 1                

FELIX MENDELSSOHN (1809–1847)

1–4 Symphony No. 4 in A major, Op. 90 ‘Italian’*                                                                            

Minneapolis Symphony Orchestra

 

5–7 Violin Concerto in E minor, Op. 64                                                                                                  

Henryk Szeryng, violin

London Symphony Orchestra

 

8–11 Ein Sommernachtstraum (excerpts)°                                                                                          

Wiener Symphoniker

 

CD 2                

1 Overture: Die Hebriden, Op. 26                                                                                                            

2–5 Symphony No. 3 in A minor, Op. 56 ‘Scottish’                                                                           

London Symphony Orchestra                                                                                                                     

ROBERT SCHUMANN (1810–1856)

6–9 Symphony No. 4 in D minor, Op. 120*                                                                                           

London Symphony Orchestra

 

Antal Doráti

 

*FIRST CD RELEASE ON DECCA

°FIRST INTERNATIONAL CD RELEASE ON DECCA

Track previews
Symphony No. 3 in A Minor, Op. 56, MWV N 18 "Scottish": 4. Allegro vivacissimo - Allegro maestoso assai
Symphony No. 4 in D Minor, Op. 120: 1. Ziemlich langsam - Lebhaft
Symphony No. 4 in D Minor, Op. 120: 2. Romanze. Ziemlich langsam
Symphony No. 4 in D Minor, Op. 120: 3. Scherzo
Symphony No. 4 in D Minor, Op. 120: 4. Langsam - Lebhaft
A Midsummer Night's Dream, Incidental Music, Op. 61: I. Scherzo
A Midsummer Night's Dream, Incidental Music, Op. 61: VII. Notturno
A Midsummer Night's Dream, Incidental Music, Op. 61: IX. Wedding March
The Hebrides, Op. 26
Symphony No. 3 in A Minor, Op. 56, MWV N 18 "Scottish": 1. Andante con moto - Allegro un poco agitato - Assai animato - Andante come prima
Symphony No. 3 in A Minor, Op. 56, MWV N 18 "Scottish": 2. Vivace non troppo
Symphony No. 3 in A Minor, Op. 56, MWV N 18 "Scottish": 3. Adagio
Symphony No. 4 in A Major, Op. 90, MWV N 16, "Italian": 2. Andante con moto
Symphony No. 4 in A Major, Op. 90, MWV N 16, "Italian": 3. Con moto moderato
Symphony No. 4 in A Major, Op. 90, MWV N 16, "Italian": 4. Saltarello. Presto
Violin Concerto in E Minor, Op. 64, MWV O 14: 1. Allegro molto appassionato
Violin Concerto in E Minor, Op. 64, MWV O 14: 2. Andante
Violin Concerto in E Minor, Op. 64, MWV O 14: 3. Allegro non troppo - Allegro molto vivace
A Midsummer Night's Dream, Overture, Op. 21
Symphony No. 4 in A Major, Op. 90, MWV N 16, "Italian": 1. Allegro vivace
Recording information

Recording Producers: David Hall (Mendelssohn: Symphony No. 4); Harold Lawrence (Mendelssohn: Violin Concerto, Schumann: Symphony No. 4); Alan Melville (Mendelssohn: Symphony No. 3, Die Hebriden); unknown (Mendelssohn: A Midsummer Night’s Dream)
Recording Engineers: C. Robert Fine (Mendelssohn: Symphonies Nos. 3, 4, Die Hebriden; Schumann: Symphony No. 4); Robert Eberenz (Mendelssohn: Violin Concerto)
Recording Locations: Northrop Auditorium, University of Minnesota, Minnesota, USA, 1953 (Mendelssohn: Symphony No. 4); Watford Town Hall, London, UK, 18–19 July 1963 (Schumann: Symphony No. 4), 3 July 1964 (Mendelssohn: Violin Concerto); Walthamstow Assembly Hall, London, UK, 3–4 July 1956 (Mendelssohn: Symphony No. 3), 5 July 1956 (Mendelssohn: Die Hebriden); Vienna, September 1958 (Mendelssohn: A Midsummer Night’s Dream)
Original Mercury Releases: MG 50010 (Mendelssohn: Symphony No. 4): 1953; MG50406 / SR90406 (Mendelssohn: Violin Concerto): November 1965; SR 90123 / MG 50123 (Mendelssohn: Symphony No. 3, Die Hebriden): May 1960 (stereo), December 1957 (mono); SR 90511 (Schumann: Symphony No. 4): June 1969
Original Philips Release: Philips 875 010 (Mendelssohn: A Midsummer Night’s Dream): 1958

Reviews

“Doráti pushes the Italian Symphony through with considerable vivacity … a very acceptable version of the work for those listeners seeking in it primarily verve and brilliance.” Gramophone, June 1954 (Italian Symphony)

“A nice, stylish version … much neat and enjoyable solo playing, and some beautiful string tone.” Gramophone, October 1959 (Scottish Symphony)

“His performances are dapper and nicely felt. I particularly like his crisp, vivid approach to the Mendelssohn.” Gramophone, December 1959 (A Midsummer Night’s Dream)

“There is propulsive energy here … The London Symphony plays well for Doráti, as always. The recorded sound is transparent and crisp.” Stereo Review, January 1970 (Schumann)

“Great affection and A-1 musicianship.” Stereo Review, January 1966 (Violin Concerto)