- A Midsummer Night's Dream, incidental music, Op. 61
- Oberon, overture to the opera
- Der Freischütz, overture to the opera
For younger listeners, it may be hard to believe this recording of Mendelssohn's incidental music for "A Midsummer Night's Dream" was made in 1964. Deutsche Grammophon's stereo sound has a clarity and immediacy that still astonish after more than 40 years. Here, the mellow horns in the Notturno, the pungent bassoons in the Marche Funébre, and the silvery strings in the Scherzo are all as real as the air, and the sense of time and place is as authentic as the earth. Perhaps more surprising than the quality of the sound is the quality of the performance. Rafael Kubelik was once acknowledged to be one of the great conductors of the postwar period, and older listeners have long considered his recordings of the symphonies of Mahler, Dvorák, and Beethoven to be classics. The same could be said of his recording of Mendelssohn's incidental music. The balance of color and light in the woodwind chords that open the Overture is magical. The interplay of rhythm and tempo in the strings' spiccato in Scherzo is exhilarating. And the blend of melody and harmony throughout the work is masterful. Plus, Kubelik obtains polished playing from the Bavarian Radio Symphony that shines as brightly as the best performances by the Berliner or Wiener philharmonikers. Coupled with dramatic and driven accounts of Weber's overtures to "Oberon" and "Der Freischütz" also recorded in 1965, Kubelik's "A Midsummer Night's Dream" incidental music deserves to heard by anyone who loves the music.
|Label:||Deutsche Gram France|