Mendelssohn: Symphonies 4 and 5
Mendelssohn completed the symphony in Berlin on 13 March 1833, in response to an invitation for a symphony from the London (now Royal) Philharmonic Society. He conducted the first performance himself in London on 13 May 1833 at a London Philharmonic Society concert. The Germania Musical Society of Boston gave the first performance in the United States, on 1 November 1851, with Carl Bergmann conducting.
The Symphony No. 5 in D major/D minor, Op. 107, known as the Reformation, was composed by Felix Mendelssohn in 1830 in honor of the 300th anniversary of the Presentation of the Augsburg Confession. The Confession is a key document of Lutheranism and its Presentation to Emperor Charles V in June 1530 was a momentous event of the Protestant Reformation. This symphony was written for a full orchestra and was Mendelssohn's second extended symphony. It was not published until 1868, 21 years after the composer's death – hence its numbering as '5'. Although the symphony is not very frequently performed, it is better known today than when it was originally published. Mendelssohn's sister, Fanny Mendelssohn Hensel, chose the name Reformation Symphony.
Gertrude Heinz, conductor
CMD German Opera Company of Berlin