Felix Mendelssohn
http://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/960x540/p01bqdsq.jpg
1809-02-03
https://musicbrainz.org/artist/0e85eb79-1c05-44ba-827c-7b259a3d941a
Felix Mendelssohn

Felix Mendelssohn Biography (BBC)

Felix Mendelssohn – grandson of an eminent Jewish philosopher and son of a wealthy banker who converted to Christianity – came from a happy and privileged background. The family home in Berlin was a lively intellectual centre and Felix’s education covered classics, science, languages, law and several other subjects besides music.

From the age of 11 he composed fluently and prolifically: a huge quantity of piano and chamber music, five concertos, a few little operas and a dozen symphonies for strings preceded his official Symphony No. 1 of 1824. Then came the works that demonstrated not just precocious talent but real depth, among them the Octet for strings (1825) and, a year later, the Overture to A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

In his early twenties, beginning in 1829 with the first of his many visits to England, he spent three years travelling around Europe, meeting almost every cultural figure of note. His sensitivity to the spirit of the places he visited can be heard in such works as the ‘Italian’ and ‘Scottish’ Symphonies and the overture The Hebrides.

From 1833 to 1835 he worked mainly in Düsseldorf, and then from 1835 until his early death he was Municipal Music Director and conductor of the Gewandhaus Orchestra in Leipzig, where in 1843 he founded the influential Conservatory. He was outstanding as a pianist, organist, conductor and organiser, and tireless in promoting other composers’ music old and new – famously reviving Bach’s St Matthew Passion in 1829 and giving the posthumous first performance of Schubert’s Ninth Symphony in 1839.

Although he composed prolifically up to the end of his life in almost all forms (he never found the right opera libretto), he was rarely satisfied with his own facility, often keeping aside his major scores for a long period before presenting them to the public: the Violin Concerto (completed 1844) was six years in the making and the oratorio Elijah (completed 1846) nearly eight.

Mendelssohn was very conscious of his part in an unbroken tradition of German music deriving from Bach and the great classics of Haydn, Mozart and Beethoven, and in each of his major works searched for means of infusing this tradition with his own modern Romantic sensibility.

If his reputation suffered from the heavier performing styles of the later 19th century, which tended to sentimentalise his music, and also from the current of anti-Semitism that led to his music being banned by the Nazis, a modern perspective can appreciate his freshness and directness of expression, as well as the perfect ear for colour and texture, that place him among the greatest composers of any age.

Profile © Andrew Huth

Felix Mendelssohn Biography (Wikipedia)

Jakob Ludwig Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy (3 February 1809 – 4 November 1847), born and widely known as Felix Mendelssohn, was a German composer, pianist, organist and conductor of the early Romantic period.

A grandson of the philosopher Moses Mendelssohn, Felix Mendelssohn was born into a prominent Jewish family. He was brought up without religion until the age of seven, when he was baptised as a Reformed Christian. Mendelssohn was recognised early as a musical prodigy, but his parents were cautious and did not seek to capitalise on his talent.

Mendelssohn enjoyed early success in Germany, where he also revived interest in the music of Johann Sebastian Bach, and in his travels throughout Europe. He was particularly well received in Britain as a composer, conductor and soloist, and his ten visits there – during which many of his major works were premiered – form an important part of his adult career. His essentially conservative musical tastes, however, set him apart from many of his more adventurous musical contemporaries such as Franz Liszt, Richard Wagner and Hector Berlioz. The Leipzig Conservatoire (now the University of Music and Theatre Leipzig), which he founded, became a bastion of this anti-radical outlook.

This entry is from Wikipedia, the user-contributed encyclopedia. It may not have been reviewed by professional editors and is licensed under an Attribution-ShareAlike Creative Commons License. If you find the biography content factually incorrect or highly offensive you can edit this article at Wikipedia. Find out more about our use of this data.

Felix Mendelssohn Audio & Video


Felix Mendelssohn Performances

Sort by

Felix Mendelssohn
Concerto for Violin and Orchestra in E minor - finale
http://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/256x256/p01bqdsq.jpg
link
Concerto for Violin and Orchestra in E minor - finale
Felix Mendelssohn
Symphony no. 4 in A major, 'Italian' (Proms 2016)
http://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/256x256/p01bqdsq.jpg
link
Symphony no. 4 in A major, 'Italian' (Proms 2016)
Felix Mendelssohn
The Hebrides (Fingal's Cave) - overture (Op.26) [Rome version]
http://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/256x256/p01bqdsq.jpg
link
The Hebrides (Fingal's Cave) - overture (Op.26) [Rome version]
Felix Mendelssohn
Hor mein Bitten
http://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/256x256/p01bqdsq.jpg
link
Hor mein Bitten
Felix Mendelssohn
Lieder ohne Worte - book 8 (Op.102), no.5; Allegro vivace in A maj (Kinderstuck)
http://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/256x256/p01bqdsq.jpg
link
Lieder ohne Worte - book 8 (Op.102), no.5; Allegro vivace in A maj (Kinderstuck)
Felix Mendelssohn
A Midsummer night's dream - incidental music (Op.61), Overture
http://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/256x256/p01bqdsq.jpg
link
A Midsummer night's dream - incidental music (Op.61), Overture
Felix Mendelssohn
String Quartet in E minor, Op.44 No.2
http://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/256x256/p01bqdsq.jpg
link
String Quartet in E minor, Op.44 No.2
Felix Mendelssohn
Sonata for cello and piano no. 2 (Op.58) in D maj, 1st mvt; Allegro assai vivace
http://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/256x256/p01bqdsq.jpg
link
Sonata for cello and piano no. 2 (Op.58) in D maj, 1st mvt; Allegro assai vivace
Felix Mendelssohn
Variations Concertantes for Cello and Piano Op 17
http://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/256x256/p01bqdsq.jpg
link
Variations Concertantes for Cello and Piano Op 17
Felix Mendelssohn
Octet for strings (Op.20) in E flat major, 1st movement; Allegro con fuoco
http://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/256x256/p01bqdsq.jpg
link
Octet for strings (Op.20) in E flat major, 1st movement; Allegro con fuoco
Felix Mendelssohn
Four pieces for string quartet Op.81
http://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/256x256/p01bqdsq.jpg
link
Four pieces for string quartet Op.81
Felix Mendelssohn
Songs Op 34
http://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/256x256/p01bqdsq.jpg
link
Songs Op 34
Felix Mendelssohn
Variations serieuses in D minor (Op.54) (1841)
http://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/256x256/p01bqdsq.jpg
link
Variations serieuses in D minor (Op.54) (1841)
Felix Mendelssohn
A Midsummer Night's Dream: Opus 61
http://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/256x256/p01bqdsq.jpg
link
A Midsummer Night's Dream: Opus 61
Felix Mendelssohn
You spotted snakes (A Midsummer Night's Dream)
http://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/256x256/p01bqdsq.jpg
link
You spotted snakes (A Midsummer Night's Dream)
Felix Mendelssohn
Ich wolt, meine Lieb ergosse sich from Sechs Duettte, Op.63
http://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/256x256/p01bqdsq.jpg
link
Ich wolt, meine Lieb ergosse sich from Sechs Duettte, Op.63
Felix Mendelssohn
Symphony for string orchestra no. 10 in B minor
http://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/256x256/p01bqdsq.jpg
link
Symphony for string orchestra no. 10 in B minor
Load more performances
Playlists featuring Felix Mendelssohn

Latest Felix Mendelssohn News

    Play on! How Shakespeare inspired 400 years of music
    A brief history of music's love for the Bard - in 6 Proms
Back to artist