(1999) FELIX MENDELSSOHN-BARTHOLDY DISCOVERIES
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Maestro Oleg Caetani conducts the Robert-Schumann-Philharmonie Chemnitz in a new recording of the little-known revised version of the Symphony in A Major («Italian»), as well as recordings of two unpublished concert arias.
The performance of the first movement from the 1833 score of the Italian-Symphony with Mendelssohn’s 1834 reworking of the last three movements, is one of the first to convey the composer’s latest thoughts on the A-Major Symphony as a whole. Although the first movement is unchanged, the numerous and substantial alterations in the last three movements place the work in a new light, reinforcing the symphonic character and large-scale motivic unity of the work while also enhancing its Italianate characteristics.
Dutch soprano Francine van der Heijden joins the orchestra for the still-unpublished «Infelice! / Ah, ritorna, età dell’oro», composed in 1834 for the great 19th-century soprano Maria Malibran and her lover, virtuoso violinist Charles de Bériot, and Russian baritone Boris Statsenko performs the likewise unpublished English aria «On Lena’s Bloomy Heath», written in 1846 and strongly evocative of the Scottish mists and melancholy that have become so familiar through the Hebrides Overture and the «Scottish» Symphony.
Theses performances represent a major contribution to the composer’s discography. This CD is thus an essential addition to the libraries of Mendelssohn enthusiasts, as well to those of fans of opera and concert arias.
The Robert Schumann Philharmonie Chemnitz was founded in 1833 and received its current name on the occasion of its 150th anniversary in 1983.
General music director Oleg Caetani, who studied with Nadia Boulanger, Franco Ferrara, Kyril Kondraschin and Igor Markevitch, has played a key role since 1996 in the ensemble’s continued reputation as one of Germany’s leading orchestras.