The Tonhalle-Orchester Zürich’s new Mendelssohn recording with Paavo Järvi is released this month on Alpha Classics. The 4 CD box set, which comprises all five symphonies and the “Sommernachtstraum”, offers a unique insight into the orchestra’s work with Järvi over a two year period, which began mid-pandemic in the Spring of 2021 at the interim venue Tonhalle Maag and was completed in January 2023, in the splendidly renovated historic Tonhalle Zürich.

“Mendelssohn is one of the most underrated composers” said Paavo Järvi. “Recording his works is like a dream come true for me. A midsummer night’s dream come true, so to speak.“

But it was no easy task for the recording team led by producer Philip Traugott, as not only the acoustics of the two halls differ from each other, but also the live character of the recordings changed as a result of restrictions. Four symphonies and the “Sommernachtstraum” were recorded under strict distancing rules in the Tonhalle Maag, whilst the final recording of the symphonic cantata “Lobgesang” (officially counted as Symphony No.2), had to be postponed until it was possible to perform with a choir again. Reviewing this performance, complete with the Zürcher Sing-Akademie, and soloists Patrick Grahl, Chen Reiss and Marie Henriette Reinhold, the NZZ commented on the “overwhelming splendour”.