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Mendelssohn: Symphony No. 4, Op. 90 "Italian" & Octet for Strings, Op. 20

4.8 out of 5 stars 5 customer reviews

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Audio CD, November 6, 1990
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$11.25 $2.93

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Editorial Reviews

CASALS PABLO / MARLBORO FESTIVAL O. MENDELSSOHN: SYMP. N. 4 ITALIAN / OCTET
  • Sample this album Artist - Artist (Sample)
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8:13
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7:35
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6:56
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6:10
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8:01
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4:25
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6:02
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (November 6, 1990)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Sony
  • Run Time: 62 minutes
  • ASIN: B00000275N
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #411,337 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
I have owned this version of the Italian Symphony since its release on LP in the 60's. Although the Italian Symphony tracks are live recordings, there is almost no audience noise until the well deserved applause at the end of the fourth movement. Casals' chemistry with the musicians, and the energy the musicians take from Casals and the audience, rocket this work into an ear grabbing, heart racing version of an already energized work. Even the Andante con moto and Con moto moderato movements race along, stilling most anyone who becomes itchy during the slower movements of symphonic works. The recording quality is impeccable, despite its age. Though the Italian Symphony is worth twice the price of this CD (and made up all of the original LP), the Octet is rewarding too. I actually enjoy it more than the Emerson Quartet's fine recording, probably because all the musicians were present in the studio when it was recorded, as opposed to the Emerson's recording it four musicians at a time.
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A great performance of the symphony. The tempos are moderate but there is just enough tension to insure great continuity; there is a wonderful musical story being told here. But what's most remarkable is the level of commitment shown by this festival orchestra-inspired no doubt by the passion and commitment of its conductor Pablo Casals.
The Octet, played by eight of the finest chamber players of the time is white hot in its intensity. The sound can be a bit constricted and rough at times in both works, but these are minor prices to pay for what are priceless performances.
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Format: Audio CD
Marlboro gave Pablo Casals a home for summer music after the era of his similar festivals in Puerto Rico and Europe, and many faithful friends, notably Rudolf Serkin and Alexander Schneider, surrounded him. This recording of the Mendelssohn "Italian" is typical. It's carefree, a bit rough, as suits musicians on vacation, and full of musical authenticity. The pickup orchestra of summer participants digs into every bar, yet one cannot turn to Casals for podium technqiue. His spirit carried the day, and therefore this ebullient account is more moving than half a dozen other note-perfect readings on CD. The string body is chamber sized, so the winds come through with special vividness. The recording quality itself is good, if a bit boxy and needing to have some shrill highs toned down. As a passing note, Casals' tempos for the two inner movements are a shade slower than usual, not faster as the above reviewer says.

The Octet is led by three famous violinists, Jaime Laredo, Alexander Schneider (of the Budapest Qt.), and Arnold Steinhardt (of the Guarneri Qt.), so with such strong personalaities on board, one can't expect the smooth unanimity of, for example, the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields. As with the symphony, this is an ebullient, somewhat rough, thoroughly engaged performance. The recorded sound could be sweeter, and it's very up close. In any case, both recordings are cherishable reminers of golden summers with great musicians.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
This is the most beautiful classical music on the planet! No wonder many Olympic gymnasts and figure skaters dance to these songs. After I wore out my old cassette tape, I decided it was time to buy the CD. Great quality recording!
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Pablo Casals conducts a distinctive performance of the Mendelssohn 'Italian' symphony.

The Mendelssohn octet is well performed as well. The recorded sound is not perfect but it doesn't interfere.
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