Felix Mendelssohn

Born 3 February 1809. Died 4 November 1847
Felix Mendelssohn
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1809-02-03
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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. Mendelssohn wrote symphonies, concertos, oratorios, piano music and chamber music. His best-known works include his Overture and incidental music for A Midsummer Night's Dream, the Italian Symphony, the Scottish Symphony, the overture The Hebrides, his mature Violin Concerto, and his String Octet. His Songs Without Words are his most famous solo piano compositions. After a long period of relative denigration due to changing musical tastes and antisemitism in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, his creative originality has been re-evaluated. He is now among the most popular composers of the romantic era.

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. Felix was recognised early as a musical prodigy, but his parents were cautious and did not seek to capitalise on his talent.

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 Performances & Interviews


Felix Mendelssohn Tracks

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Felix Mendelssohn
A Midsummer Night's Dream (Scherzo)
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A Midsummer Night's Dream (Scherzo)
Felix Mendelssohn
Ruy Blas (overture) Op 95
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Ruy Blas (overture) Op 95
Felix Mendelssohn
Song without Words in A minor, Op 19 No 2
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Song without Words in A minor, Op 19 No 2
Felix Mendelssohn
Capriccio in E minor, Op.81`3 [orig. for string quartet]
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Capriccio in E minor, Op.81`3 [orig. for string quartet]
Felix Mendelssohn
Saul's Conversion at Damascus (Paulus)
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Saul's Conversion at Damascus (Paulus)
Felix Mendelssohn
Song without Words, Op 109
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Song without Words, Op 109
Felix Mendelssohn
'Hexenlied' No.8 from 12 Songs Op.8
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'Hexenlied' No.8 from 12 Songs Op.8
Felix Mendelssohn
'Winterlied' No.3 from 6 Songs Op.19a
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'Winterlied' No.3 from 6 Songs Op.19a
Felix Mendelssohn
'Die Liebende schreibt' No.3 from 6 Songs Op.86
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'Die Liebende schreibt' No.3 from 6 Songs Op.86
Felix Mendelssohn
'Neue Liebe' No.4 from 6 Songs Op.19a
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'Neue Liebe' No.4 from 6 Songs Op.19a
Felix Mendelssohn
Piano Trio No 2 (3rd mvt)
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Piano Trio No 2 (3rd mvt)

Piano Trio No 2 (3rd mvt)

Ensemble
Fournier Trio
Last played on
Felix Mendelssohn
Variations Concertantes, Op 17
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Variations Concertantes, Op 17
Felix Mendelssohn
Symphony No 4 in A major 'Italian', Op 90
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Symphony No 4 in A major 'Italian', Op 90
Felix Mendelssohn
Octet in E flat major, Op 20 (3rd mvt)
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Octet in E flat major, Op 20 (3rd mvt)
Felix Mendelssohn
Theme and Variations from Four Pieces, Op.81
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Theme and Variations from Four Pieces, Op.81
Felix Mendelssohn
'Gruss' No.5 from 6 Songs Op.19a
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'Gruss' No.5 from 6 Songs Op.19a
Felix Mendelssohn
Greeting, Op 63 No 3
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Greeting, Op 63 No 3
Felix Mendelssohn
String Quartet No 2 in A minor Op 13 (2nd mvt)
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String Quartet No 2 in A minor Op 13 (2nd mvt)
Felix Mendelssohn
Symphony No.4 in A major (Op.90) 'Italian'
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Symphony No.4 in A major (Op.90) 'Italian'
Felix Mendelssohn
Symphony No 3 in A minor, Op 56, 'Scottish' (2nd mvt)
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Symphony No 3 in A minor, Op 56, 'Scottish' (2nd mvt)
Felix Mendelssohn
A Midsummer Night's Dream, incidental music
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A Midsummer Night's Dream, incidental music
Felix Mendelssohn
A Midsummer Night's Dream, Op 61 (Scherzo)
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A Midsummer Night's Dream, Op 61 (Scherzo)
Felix Mendelssohn
Lied ohne Worte in D major for cello & piano, Op 109
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Lied ohne Worte in D major for cello & piano, Op 109
Felix Mendelssohn
Symphony no. 4 in A major Op.90 "Italian" (1st mvt)
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Symphony no. 4 in A major Op.90 "Italian" (1st mvt)
Felix Mendelssohn
3 Studies Op.104b for piano
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3 Studies Op.104b for piano
Felix Mendelssohn
String Quintet No 2 in B flat major, Op 87 (2nd mvt)
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String Quintet No 2 in B flat major, Op 87 (2nd mvt)
Felix Mendelssohn
Die Schone Melusine - Overture, Op.32
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Die Schone Melusine - Overture, Op.32
Felix Mendelssohn
Symphony no 3, "Scottish" (4th mvt)
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Symphony no 3, "Scottish" (4th mvt)
Felix Mendelssohn
Overture: A Midsummer Night's Dream
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Overture: A Midsummer Night's Dream
Felix Mendelssohn
Piano Concerto no 2 in D minor, Op 40
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Piano Concerto no 2 in D minor, Op 40
Felix Mendelssohn
String Quartet No. 1 Op. 12 in E flat i) Adagio non troppo - Allegro non tardante
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String Quartet No. 1 Op. 12 in E flat i) Adagio non troppo - Allegro non tardante
Felix Mendelssohn
Quartet no. 5 in E flat major op.44 no.3 for strings: 4th mvt
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Quartet no. 5 in E flat major op.44 no.3 for strings: 4th mvt
Felix Mendelssohn
The Hebrides, Op 26
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The Hebrides, Op 26
Felix Mendelssohn
String Octet in E flat major, Op 20 [1825]
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String Octet in E flat major, Op 20 [1825]
Felix Mendelssohn
Vivace Non Troppo (From Symphony No 3)
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Vivace Non Troppo (From Symphony No 3)
Felix Mendelssohn
The Bees' Wedding, Op 67 No 4
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The Bees' Wedding, Op 67 No 4
Felix Mendelssohn
A Midsummer night's dream (Scherzo)
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A Midsummer night's dream (Scherzo)
Felix Mendelssohn
String Quartet No 3 in D major, Op 44 No 1 (4th mvt)
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String Quartet No 3 in D major, Op 44 No 1 (4th mvt)
Felix Mendelssohn
Symphony No 3 in A minor, Op 56, 'Scottish' (4th mvt)
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Symphony No 3 in A minor, Op 56, 'Scottish' (4th mvt)
Felix Mendelssohn
The Fair Melusine, Op 32
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The Fair Melusine, Op 32
Felix Mendelssohn
Die schöne Melusine [The fair Melusine] - overture Op 32
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Die schöne Melusine [The fair Melusine] - overture Op 32
Felix Mendelssohn
Calm Sea and Prosperous Voyage
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Calm Sea and Prosperous Voyage
Felix Mendelssohn
Gondellied – Allegretto non troppo
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Gondellied – Allegretto non troppo

Gondellied – Allegretto non troppo

Performer
Daniel Barenboim (piano)
Felix Mendelssohn
Prelude and Fugue No.1 in E minor (Op.35)
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Prelude and Fugue No.1 in E minor (Op.35)
Felix Mendelssohn
Lieder ohne Worte Op.53 No.3 - Presto agitato
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Lieder ohne Worte Op.53 No.3 - Presto agitato
Felix Mendelssohn
Incidental Music to A Midsummer Night's Dream
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Incidental Music to A Midsummer Night's Dream
Felix Mendelssohn
Jägerlied, Op 19 No 3
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Jägerlied, Op 19 No 3
Felix Mendelssohn
Songs without words, Op.19 No.1 in E major
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Songs without words, Op.19 No.1 in E major
Felix Mendelssohn
Symphony No 4 in A major Op 90 "Italian"
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Symphony No 4 in A major Op 90 "Italian"
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