- Sinfonia (String Symphony) for string orchestra No. 12 in G minor
- Sinfonia (String Symphony) for string orchestra No. 13 in C minor (one movt only): Grave - Allegro molto
- Sinfonia (String Symphony) for string orchestra No. 10 in B minor: Adagio - Allegro
- Sinfonia (String Symphony) for string orchestra No. 7 in D minor
The String Symphonies of the young Felix Mendelssohn have been recorded and performed fairly often; compact, elegant little pieces, they have often been treated as essays in Mozartian style. Austrian conductor Michi Gaigg and L'Orfeo Barockorchester contribute something new to the debate, which is actually an old debate: was Mendelssohn a delicate creature in the realm of the fairies or an ambitious stylistic pathbreaker? Gaigg comes down on the latter side: in her hands, these pieces are vigorous, even tumultuous. She uses a small group of strings, which is entirely appropriate: these works were chamber music, performed in the Mendelssohn home. And she adds a continuo-like fortepiano, which strengthens the rhythm and was known to have been played in the works' first performances by Mendelssohn himself. These are undeniably original performances, but your mileage (or kilometers) may vary; the outer movements, especially, seem a bit beyond the emotional compass of a boy in his early teens. Sample the first movement of the opening "Sinfonia VII (Minerva)" for an idea of this Sturm und Drang Mendelssohn. Gaigg has surveyed the String Symphonies in two volumes; you can take your pick (or just pick both). The first volume includes multi-movement pieces that are a bit better known, while this one features some single-movement works and even a fragment that give insights into the young composer's creative process.