Mendelssohn’s Incidental Music to A Midsummer Night’s Dream – Best Recorded Version

I am enjoying Andre Previn’s version of the complete incidental music to A Midsummer Night’s Dream, with the London Symphony Orchestra. This seems to be the highest recommendation for anyone looking for the complete orchestral music. The Pengiun Guide To Compact Discs & CDs calls it: ‘[A] wonderfully refreshing complete score. The veiled pianissimo of the violins at the beginning of the ouverture and delicious woodwind detail in the Scherzo certainly bring Mendelssohn’s fairies to life.’

Many critics also recommend Peter Maag’s account of the highlights from A Midsummer Night’s Dream (ie the Overture, Scherzo, Nocturne and Wedding March) on Decca, combined with excellent versions of Mendelssohn’s Fingal’s Cave overture and the 3rd Symphony in A minor (the so-called ‘Scottish’). The Penguin Guide says: ‘The Midsummer Night’s Dream excerpts date from 1957 – the character of the playing is again superb. The recording includes a strong contribution from a fruity bass wind instrument (representing Bottom) which might possibly be Mendelssohn’s opichleide, but is probably a well-played Tuba.’ The Gramophone Classical Good CD, DVD and Download Guide says of the same recording: ‘He [ie Maag] is a superb Mendelssohnian stylist.’

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