- Symphony No. 3 in A minor ("Scottish"), Op. 56
- Symphony No. 4 in A major ("Italian"), Op. 90
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If Felix Mendelssohn had owned a camcorder, these great symphonies might never have been written. Both works are musical travelogues in which the composer recorded his impressions of two exotic locales -- well, they probably were exotic to a 19th-century German. From the very opening of the "Scotch" Symphony, the music summons images of a Scottish landscape with those omnipresent, heavy, gray clouds; later on in the first movement, Mendelssohn captures the sound of the waves crashing on the craggy, desolate shore. The "Italian" Symphony is altogether different, full of warm sunshine, hustle, and bustle. The final movement is a lively dance called a saltarello which Mendelssohn might have heard while slurping his espresso in some piazza. It's no surprise that Italian conductor Claudio Abbado directs a primo performance of the "Italian" Symphony. But his "Scotch" Symphony is equally evocative and so convincing that you might be tempted to call him MacAbbado.