Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
|Wolfgang Schone, Raimonds Spogis, Felix  Mendelssohn|
Mendelssohn: The Masterworks
Uneven quality but great value
Michael Schell | www.schellsburg.com | 04/29/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Brilliant Classics has found a niche with their extremely low-price multi-disc collections of the work of a single composer or performer. The Bach, Mozart and Chopin Complete Editions are legitimately considered to be artistic and economical triumphs. But the Masterworks series are more uneven. Currently available from Amazon France at about a buck per CD, they're still a bargain for those interested in quickly building a music library. But it's worth keeping a few things in mind. Unlike the Bach and Mozart Editions, these are not always historically informed performances. In this Mendelssohn set, the Hanover Band puts in a cameo (in Calm Sea and Prosperous Voyage), but most of the ensembles use modern instruments, techniques and proportions. This doesn't always work out, as in the case of the ponderously heavy recordings of the String Symphonies by an apparently full complement of Gewandhausorchester Leipzig strings (Mendelssohn likely wrote these early works for a much smaller group). The caliber of the performances varies too, ranging from good to poor, and from marquis musicians such as Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau to a few Dutch who-dats. The chamber musicians generally acquit themselves well (though the Octet recording is marred by an engineering flaw in the last movement, distortion, at least on my copy). But the symphonies suffer from some substandard performances, such as the Italian Symphony's live recording with not only audience noise but also ensemble flaws such as a distracting clarinet squeak in the first movement's recapitulation. Another strike is the lack of program notes. Brilliant's Complete Editions provide a booklet or CD-ROM with program notes, but here you'll need to do your own research.
Despite these shortcomings, this set is still good value (at least at Amazon France's current price of 31 Euros). And it's a fine way to become acquainted with Mendelssohn's music."