Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
|Felix  Mendelssohn, Peter Maag, Bern Symphony Orchestra|
Mendelssohn: Symphony No. 4 "Italian"; Hebrides Overture
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Mendelssohn = Maag?
SwissDave | Switzerland | 03/01/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"There's a handful noteable recordings of the Italian Symphony (Szell, Bernstein and Klemperer most readily spring to mind). Of my favourite two, one comes from a likely source, the other may come as a surprise (at least it did to me):
Peter Maag must go down in history as one of the great Mendelssohnians, even if his recorded legacy amounts to (big sigh!) too little. Without trying to be unduly patriotic, the Berne Symphony Orchestra plays incredibly well for him here (perhaps, as one Gramophone reviewer has it, helped somewhat in the beauty of sound in the string department by the highly respected recording engineer Tony Faulkner). A wonderfully even/harmonious interpretation and well-recorded, fully deserving of its critical acclaim.
My other favourite is the fleet, lively, virtuosic, but also rythmically flexible, melodic, songful earlier Solti recording with the Israel Philharmonic from 1958 on Decca (the Australian Eloquence series), which those who know it will forgive me for saying I bought more out of curiosity than because I knew what a spectacular recording it is (audiophile sound quality, too, by the way). It's in fact got much of the invigorating quality of a Peter Maag recording of the period, although being Solti, it leaves one almost breathless, panting for more (beating Szell at his own game, so to speak, who in turn manages to make Mendelssohn's Italian Symphony sound more rigidly Beethovenian). On balance, the Maag/Berne Symphony may make for a reference or benchmark recording to which to compare all others (the Szell may be another from an orchestra discipline perspective), but truth be told, these recordings are too different from each other that I would want to own one at the cost of the other.
Greetings from Switzerland, David.
The fillers, also from 1986, are just as fine, the Hebrides Overture "Fingal's Cave" on the level of (if inexplicably not quite as memorable as - in the literal sense of the term) Maag's legendary version with the LSO from 1960 (on Decca London)."