ESSENTIAL RECORDINGS
FELIX MENDELSSOHN - COMPLETE STRING SYMPHONIES


FELIX MENDELSSOHN - COMPLETE STRING SYMPHONIES - LEV MARKIZ (Conductor) - AMSTERDAM SINFONIETTA - 7318599917382 - BIS SACD-1738

This re-issue represents a revolutionary advance in terms of technology and musical value. Herewith, four-and-a-quarter hours of the best available performances of Mendelssohnís marvellous juvenile production -- and all on a single disc. BIS made this possible by dispensing with the conventional CD layer and the option of surround-sound playback. Note well that a machine with super audio capability is necessary to reproduce the performances. And the performances are superb in highly articulate stereo sound. The set was recorded between 1993 and 1996 and has been a highlight of the BIS catalogue as a three-CD collection. With 44 index points, the SACD version offers the twelve completed symphonies plus the alternative version of Number 8 with winds and the single movement of Number 13. If this were not sufficient reason to invest in a SACD deck, BIS has doubled-down on the ultra extended playing time super audio format with a companion disc of Mendelssohnís complete concertos (BIS-SACD-1766 - another four hours-plus). The Amsterdam Sinfonietta and Lev Markiz are joined by Isabelle van Keulen (violin) and pianists Ronald Brautigam, Roland PŲntinen and Love Derwinger in vibrant performances of all of the composerís works for soloists and orchestra.

In the future, the extended play SACD will hopefully yield entire symphony cycles at one third of the shelf space (and cost) now required.

Stephen Habington