Mendelssohn: Symphony 3, Scottish

Album review
Mendelssohn: Symphony 3, Scottish


Symphony 3, Scottish

Label: Deutsche Grammophon
Media: LP
Genre: Classical

Wonder of wonders—the great German classical recording company Deutsche Grammophon has issued its first LP in a quarter-century (on 180-gram vinyl, no less): Gustavo Dudamel conducting the Vienna Philharmonic, in a December 2011 live-in-concert performance at Vienna’s famous Musikverein, of Felix Mendelssohn’s Third Symphony. Can’t be much more “in the grand tradition” than that line-up. Completed in 1842 and inspired by a trip to Scotland (it uses some quasi-Scottish folktunes), the Third is Mendelssohn’s most romantic, blending the 19th Century’s awakened sense of awe at the grandeur of nature with Beethovenian logic and rhythmic drive: vigorous but weighty, spirited but serious, onrushing but majestic. The playing, as you’d expect from this great orchestra, is superbly confident and polished, and if Dudamel doesn’t extract the last ounce of propulsive energy, he nevertheless brings off the work with satisfying oomph and opulence. DG’s sonics are splendid, offering silken, diaphanous high strings, burnished brass, and an open, airy soundstage with lots of hall ambience. Proceeds benefit Venezuela’s music-education system (where Dudamel studied). One can hope sales are good and there may be more new vinyl from DG soon.

More Info

  • composer, Felix Mendelssohn
  • conductor, Gustavo Dudamel
  • primary artist, Vienna Philharmonic
  • LP

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