Mendelssohn: A Midsummer Night’s Dream – incidental music, Op. 61, etc.
Budapest Festival Orchestra & Pro Musica (women’s choir), Iván Fischer
The incidental music from Mendelssohn’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream has always been a favourite work of Fischer’s and he brings tremendous depth to this work composed by the young composer.¹ The overture is played with perfectly shaped lines and the instrumental colours shine magnificently. Right through to the final wistful string melody the playing is simply beautiful.
The additional movements do not disappoint either. Highlights include a fast, heartfelt Intermezzo, a suitably pastoral scherzo and a rarity in the form of the infrequently performed funeral march. On listening to this recording one gets further affirmation of the reason that the Budapest Festival Orchestra is one of the top 10 ranked orchestras in the world.
As a bonus the purchaser gets three songs penned by Fanny Mendelssohn, sung by Anna Lucia Richter, to conclude the recording.
Overall a fine disc but it does not quite displace our top recommendation for this work from Seiji Ozawa and the Boston Symphony Orchestra with Kathleen Battle and Judi Dench, as an outstanding narrator.
¹ Mendelssohn wrote the overture to the piece when he was only seventeen!