Sunday, April 05, 2020

String Symphonies

String Symphonies

String Symphonies

Mendelssohn String Symphonies

 

            

 

 

 

 

I love two string orchestra works. One is String Sonatas composed by young Rossini, the other is String Symphonies, composed by (also young) Mendelssohn.

 

Rossini String Sonata consists of 6 Sonatas, Decca 470447-2 double xrcd2 recorded all of them. Fim UltraHD CD recorded the original versions performed by only 4 instruments, but only recorded 5 of the 6 Sonatas. Both recordings are audiophile standard, something you can enjoy forever.

 

My first encounter with Mendelssohn String Symphonies was a CD from Teldec, this CD recorded 5 of the 13 Symphonies. The String Symphonies were written for a larger string orchestra, and from audiophile point of view these recordings are not as hifi as the String Sonatas. The String Symphonies focus of presenting the musical ideas with the orchestra, whereas the String Sonatas’ arrangement tends to give individual instrument show off time, especially for the double bass.

 

Strange enough after I bought the first CD of the String Symphonies, I did not go and search for the rest over the years until lately. After a search on the internet I managed to find two recording versions (seems the String Symphonies are not a hot recording repertoire). One is the complete recordings of Mendelssohn symphonies issued by Warner Classics, with recordings of the 13  String Symphonies performed by Concerto Koln, and the 5 Symphonies for Symphony Orchestra performed by Gewandhausorcheter Leipzig conducted by Kurt Masur. When I received the CDs I realised the Concerto Koln version is the one I bought under Teldec label, but now with 3 CDs completed all the 13 String Symphonies recordings.

 

The other recording was performed by Amsterdam Sinfonietta conducted by Lev Markiz, all 13 String Symphonies recorded in one SACD!! In addition there was a String Symphony No. 8 version with woodwinds. Guess there are too many music, so this SACD does not have the CD layer, so can only be played from a SACD player.

 

Having following SACD for so many years, I still find SACD recording  format very well suited to classical music recordings, being able to present very well various instrumentation and the extend of frequencies at both ends of the sound spectrum. Recently I am also able to find fresh recordings of classical music of less popular repertoire on SACDs, so my findings on SACD on classical music recordings are likely valid. However, for those audiophiles with string liking for vocal, I guess a good red book CD recordings will still present better and richer mid range.

 

But to me, enjoying classical performance with SACD is an enjoyment. 

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