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Pierre's Tuesday Blog

Mendelssohn - Berliner Philharmoniker - Lorin Maazel ‎– Symphony No. 4 & 5

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This week’s Vinyl’s Revenge – the last for the next few months as we embark into our summer schedule – shares an early recording by Lorin Maazel of two Mendelssohn symphonies.

Maazel’s conducting roots were as a wunderkind conductor. At the age of 13, Lorin Maazel took the podium at a pension fund concert at Public Hall in Cleveland on March 14, 1943. He conducted a selection of pieces that included the overture from Wagner’s opera Rienzi and Schubert’s “Unfinished” symphony. Earlier in his young career, Maazel had already guest conducted the NBC Symphony, New York Philharmonic, Los Angeles Philharmonic, and Pittsburgh Symphony.

At age 30, Maazel became the first American to conduct at the Bayreuth Festspielhaus. He was chief conductor of the Deutsche Oper Berlin from 1965 to 1971 and the RSO Berlin (formerly known as the Berlin RIAS Symphony Orchestra) from 1964 to 1975, succeeding its founding conductor, Ferenc Fricsay.

Today’s recording dates from that same early 1960’s period, this time conducting the Berlin Philharmonic in Mendelssohn’s Italian and Reformation symphonies. This recording was part of a compilation reissue from 2004 “Complete Early Berlin Philharmonic Recordings 1957 — 1962” , though I acquired it originally as a vinyl reissue in the late 1970’s on the DG Resonance series.

This is a typical Maazel recording – a worthy recording, but not my favourite. All the notes are there, but the warmth doesn’t shine through. To boot, there are no repeats.

Tell me what you think!


Symphony No. 4 in A major, Op. 90 "Italian"
Symphony No. 5 in D major, Op. 107 "Reformation"

Berliner Philharmoniker
Lorin Maazel, conducting

Deutsche Grammophon Resonance – 2535 171
Format: Vinyl, LP, Album, Stereo
Recorded April 1960 (op. 90) and January 1961 (op. 107)

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