- Symphony No. 3 in A minor ("Scottish"), Op. 56
- Sinfonia (String Symphony) for string orchestra No. 11 in F major
Listeners familiar with Mendelssohn's "Scottish Symphony" played by the Berlin Philharmonic might well wonder where the rest of the orchestra is in this version of the symphony, paired with his "String Symphony in F major," performed by Thomas Fey leading the Heidelberger Sinfoniker. Textures are exceedingly clean because the instrumental sound is so extremely lean. The violins cut like scalpels and the brass cleaves like a chef's knife, with the result that everything is audible, including the violas and bassoons. And they are audible in exactly the right proportion. One hears the score with a lucidity that even the Berlin Philharmonic could not match. The performance is not simply lean. It's also tight, hard, and driven with an intensity that few orchestras of any size have brought to bear on the "Scottish Symphony." The opening movement's coda is especially ferocious, and the whole performance may come close to offending listeners who prefer a gentler Mendelssohn. Still, one cannot help respecting the performers' full-frontal assault on the music and acknowledge that they have created a fresh take on a well-known and well-loved piece. Hänssler's sound is appropriately clean and close, but has plenty of color.