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ALLA BREVE

Mendelssohn: "A Midsummer Night's Dream" Incidental Music...

October 25, 1987|ALLAN ULRICH

MENDELSSOHN: "A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM" INCIDENTAL MUSIC. SCHUBERT: "ROSAMUNDE" INCIDENTAL MUSIC. Judith Blegen, soprano; Florence Quivar, mezzo-soprano; Chicago Symphony and Chorus conducted by James Levine. DG 415 137-1 (digital). Levine and DG missed a golden opportunity for fresh recordings of the complete scores, rather than the conventional concert abridgements. Levine's muscular, volatile traversals of the three "Rosamunde" extracts convince more than his Mendelssohn. Despite remarkable rapport, Levine whips up the Chicagoans to an aggressive frenzy hardly conducive to the supernatural atmospherics suggested by the source. The vocal soloists bring finesse and a touch of glamour to their two assignments, and although the jacket indicates the in-performance origin of the recording (at the 1984 Ravinia Festival), the CSO rarely falls from grace.

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