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Wednesday 29 Oct 2014

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Radio 3: Composers Of The Year 2009 –
Felix Mendelssohn (1809-1847)


Mendelssohn's prodigious musical talents were evident from the first, and his teenage compositions – such as the Octet for strings and the Overture to A Midsummer Night's Dream – outshine even Mozart's.

Mendelssohn first visited London in 1829, as a precocious 20-year-old virtuoso pianist, organist and composer.

Over the next 18 years, he made ten further trips to this country, becoming a favourite of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, and finding the inspiration to write the Hebrides Overture, the Scottish Symphony and the great oratorio Elijah.

Mendelssohn introduced British musicians and their audiences to fresh ideas, for example, revivals of Bach's Passions and even how to play under the conductor's remarkable new tool – the baton.

He remained devoted to his talented sister Fanny, and her sudden death in May 1847 may have contributed to his own early death at just 38-years-old.

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