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's compositions include symphonies, concertos, 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 oratorio Elijah, the overture The Hebrides, his mature Violin Concerto, and his String Octet. The melody for the Christmas carol "Hark! The Herald Angels Sing" is also his. Mendelssohn's Songs Without Words are his most famous solo piano compositions.

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

Felix Mendelssohn
Octet in E flat major Op.20
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Octet in E flat major Op.20

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Felix Mendelssohn
Barcarole in A major
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Barcarole in A major
Felix Mendelssohn
Octet in E flat major, Op 20 (4th mvt)
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Octet in E flat major, Op 20 (4th mvt)

Octet in E flat major, Op 20 (4th mvt)

Ensemble
Members of Australian Chamber Orchestra
Last played on
Felix Mendelssohn
Symphony no.5 in D major, Op.107 'Reformation' (2nd mvt)
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Symphony no.5 in D major, Op.107 'Reformation' (2nd mvt)
Felix Mendelssohn
Saltarello - Symphony No.4 'Italian'
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Saltarello - Symphony No.4 'Italian'
Felix Mendelssohn
Nachtlied
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Nachtlied
Felix Mendelssohn
Overture: The Hebrides (Fingal's Cave)
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Overture: The Hebrides (Fingal's Cave)
Felix Mendelssohn
Lieblingsplätzchen, Op.99 no.3
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Lieblingsplätzchen, Op.99 no.3
Felix Mendelssohn
Meeresstille und gluckliche Fahrt - Overture, Op 27
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Meeresstille und gluckliche Fahrt - Overture, Op 27
Felix Mendelssohn
Quartet No. 4 in E minor Op. 44 No. 2
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Quartet No. 4 in E minor Op. 44 No. 2
Felix Mendelssohn
Concerto in E minor Op. 64
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Concerto in E minor Op. 64
Felix Mendelssohn
Prelude and Fugue in C minor Op. 37 No. 1
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Prelude and Fugue in C minor Op. 37 No. 1
Felix Mendelssohn
Ich wollt' meine Lieb' ergösse sich and Herbstlied from 6 Duets Op. 63
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Ich wollt' meine Lieb' ergösse sich and Herbstlied from 6 Duets Op. 63
Felix Mendelssohn
No. 6 Duett in A flat major from Lieder Ohne Worte - Book 3, Op. 38
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No. 6 Duett in A flat major from Lieder Ohne Worte - Book 3, Op. 38
Felix Mendelssohn
Trumpet Overture, Op.101
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Trumpet Overture, Op.101
Felix Mendelssohn
Herr, gedenke nicht
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Herr, gedenke nicht
Felix Mendelssohn
String Quartet no.4 in E minor, Op.44`2 (1st mvt)
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String Quartet no.4 in E minor, Op.44`2 (1st mvt)
Felix Mendelssohn
On wings of song arr Larsen, Op 34 No 2
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On wings of song arr Larsen, Op 34 No 2
Felix Mendelssohn
Symphony No.3 in A minor, Op. 56 (Scottish): II Vivace non troppo
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Symphony No.3 in A minor, Op. 56 (Scottish): II Vivace non troppo
Felix Mendelssohn
Andante
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Andante
Felix Mendelssohn
St.Paul, Op 36, Overture
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St.Paul, Op 36, Overture
Felix Mendelssohn
Calm Sea and Prosperous Voyage, Op.27
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Calm Sea and Prosperous Voyage, Op.27
Felix Mendelssohn
Symphony No 4 in A major, Op 90, 'Italian' (4th mvt, Saltarello (Presto))
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Symphony No 4 in A major, Op 90, 'Italian' (4th mvt, Saltarello (Presto))
Felix Mendelssohn
Die erste Walpurgisnacht, Op 60
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Die erste Walpurgisnacht, Op 60
Felix Mendelssohn
Scherzo in A minor, from Four Pieces for String Quartet
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Scherzo in A minor, from Four Pieces for String Quartet
Felix Mendelssohn
Symphony No. 3 in A minor, Op. 56 'Scottish'
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Symphony No. 3 in A minor, Op. 56 'Scottish'
Felix Mendelssohn
Symphony No. 2 in B flat, op. 52 ('Lobgesang')
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Symphony No. 2 in B flat, op. 52 ('Lobgesang')
Felix Mendelssohn
Venetian Gondola Song, Op 19 No 6
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Venetian Gondola Song, Op 19 No 6
Felix Mendelssohn
Symphony for string orchestra no 10 in B minor
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Symphony for string orchestra no 10 in B minor
Felix Mendelssohn
Hebrides Overture, Op. 26
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Hebrides Overture, Op. 26
Felix Mendelssohn
The Fair Melusina
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The Fair Melusina
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
Violin Concerto in D Minor, MWV O3: II. Andante
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Violin Concerto in D Minor, MWV O3: II. Andante
Felix Mendelssohn
Ruy Blas - overture Op.95
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Ruy Blas - overture Op.95
Felix Mendelssohn
Konzertstuck for Clarinet and Basset Horn No 2 in D minor
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Konzertstuck for Clarinet and Basset Horn No 2 in D minor
Felix Mendelssohn
Athalie, Op.74 (Overture)
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Athalie, Op.74 (Overture)
Felix Mendelssohn
String Symphony No 10 in B minor
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String Symphony No 10 in B minor
Felix Mendelssohn
Ruy Blas (overture) Op 95
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Ruy Blas (overture) Op 95
Felix Mendelssohn
String Symphony No 2 in D major
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String Symphony No 2 in D major
Felix Mendelssohn
Symphony No 4 in A major, Op 90, 'Italian' (4th mvt)
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Symphony No 4 in A major, Op 90, 'Italian' (4th mvt)
Felix Mendelssohn
Rondo capriccioso, Op 14
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Rondo capriccioso, Op 14
Felix Mendelssohn
Sextet for piano and strings in D major, Op 110
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Sextet for piano and strings in D major, Op 110
Felix Mendelssohn
Quartet No. 4 In E Minor Op.44 For Strings
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Quartet No. 4 In E Minor Op.44 For Strings
Felix Mendelssohn
A Midsummer Night's Dream (Scherzo)
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A Midsummer Night's Dream (Scherzo)
Felix Mendelssohn
Song Without Words in E major, Op.19 no.1
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Song Without Words in E major, Op.19 no.1
Felix Mendelssohn
String Symphony No.10 in B minor
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String Symphony No.10 in B minor
Felix Mendelssohn
Prelude and Fugue in D minor Opus 37 No 3
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Prelude and Fugue in D minor Opus 37 No 3
Felix Mendelssohn
Scherzo (A Midsummer Night's Dream)
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Scherzo (A Midsummer Night's Dream)
Felix Mendelssohn
Sonata for Organ No.6 in D minor (Op.65 No.6)
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Sonata for Organ No.6 in D minor (Op.65 No.6)
Felix Mendelssohn
Symphony No. 4 in A major, Op.90 'Italian' (iv. Finale)
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Symphony No. 4 in A major, Op.90 'Italian' (iv. Finale)
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