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.

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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.

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Felix Mendelssohn Performances & Interviews


Felix Mendelssohn Tracks

Felix Mendelssohn
Kinderstück No 5 in G minor, Op 72
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Kinderstück No 5 in G minor, Op 72

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Felix Mendelssohn
Scherzo in A minor Op.81`2 for string quartet [no.2 of "4 pieces" for string quartet]
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Scherzo in A minor Op.81`2 for string quartet [no.2 of "4 pieces" for string quartet]
Felix Mendelssohn
Lied ohne Worte in D major Op.109
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Lied ohne Worte in D major Op.109
Felix Mendelssohn
Infelice - concert aria Op. 94 for soprano and orchestra
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Infelice - concert aria Op. 94 for soprano and orchestra
Felix Mendelssohn
The Hebrides Overture, Op 26
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The Hebrides Overture, Op 26
Felix Mendelssohn
Octet for strings (Op.20) in E flat major - iii. Scherzo
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Octet for strings (Op.20) in E flat major - iii. Scherzo
Felix Mendelssohn
Concerto for violin and piano in D minor - 3rd mvt
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Concerto for violin and piano in D minor - 3rd mvt
Felix Mendelssohn
Lieder ohne Worte, Book 6, Op. 67; No. 2 in F-Sharp Minor, MWV U 145
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Lieder ohne Worte, Book 6, Op. 67; No. 2 in F-Sharp Minor, MWV U 145
Felix Mendelssohn
Frühlingslied Op. 47 No. 3
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Frühlingslied Op. 47 No. 3
Felix Mendelssohn
Schilflied Op. 71 No. 4
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Schilflied Op. 71 No. 4
Felix Mendelssohn
An die Entfernte Op. 71 No. 3
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An die Entfernte Op. 71 No. 3
Felix Mendelssohn
Auf Flugeln des Gesanges, Op. 34 No. 2
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Auf Flugeln des Gesanges, Op. 34 No. 2
Felix Mendelssohn
Ruy Blas (overture) Op 95
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Ruy Blas (overture) Op 95
Felix Mendelssohn
Concerto In E Minor Op.64 For Violin And Orchestra
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Concerto In E Minor Op.64 For Violin And Orchestra
Felix Mendelssohn
A Midsummer Night's Dream, Op. 61: Nocturne
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A Midsummer Night's Dream, Op. 61: Nocturne
Felix Mendelssohn
Violin Concerto in E minor, Op 64 (3rd mvt)
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Violin Concerto in E minor, Op 64 (3rd mvt)
Felix Mendelssohn
Hebrides Overture
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Hebrides Overture
Felix Mendelssohn
Piano Trio No 2 in C minor, Op 66
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Piano Trio No 2 in C minor, Op 66
Felix Mendelssohn
Caprice in E major, Op 33 No 2
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Caprice in E major, Op 33 No 2
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
String Quartet No.2 in A minor (2nd mvt)
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String Quartet No.2 in A minor (2nd mvt)
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
Variations serieuses in D minor (Op.54) (1841)
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Variations serieuses in D minor (Op.54) (1841)
Felix Mendelssohn
Ruy Blas - overture Op.95
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Ruy Blas - overture Op.95
Felix Mendelssohn
Symphony No 4 in A major 'Italian' (4th mvt)
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Symphony No 4 in A major 'Italian' (4th mvt)
Felix Mendelssohn
Symphony No 4 in A major 'Italian' (1st mvt)
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Symphony No 4 in A major 'Italian' (1st mvt)
Felix Mendelssohn
Lied ohne Worte in D major, Op.109
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Lied ohne Worte in D major, Op.109
Felix Mendelssohn
Fantasia on an Irish song "The last rose of summer" for piano Op 15
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Fantasia on an Irish song "The last rose of summer" for piano Op 15
Felix Mendelssohn
Symphony no.5 in D major "Reformation" (Op.107)
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Symphony no.5 in D major "Reformation" (Op.107)
Felix Mendelssohn
String Symphony No 7 in D minor (4th mvt)
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String Symphony No 7 in D minor (4th mvt)
Felix Mendelssohn
Sonata for organ in A major, Op 65 no 3
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Sonata for organ in A major, Op 65 no 3
Felix Mendelssohn
A Midsummer Night's Dream, Op.61 (Nocturne)
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A Midsummer Night's Dream, Op.61 (Nocturne)
Felix Mendelssohn
Hebrides - overture (Op.26)
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Hebrides - overture (Op.26)
Felix Mendelssohn
String quartet in E minor Op.44 no.2 (2nd mvt)
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String quartet in E minor Op.44 no.2 (2nd mvt)
Felix Mendelssohn
Ruy Blas, Op.95
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Ruy Blas, Op.95
Felix Mendelssohn
Wedding March (A Midsummer Night's Dream, Op.61)
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Wedding March (A Midsummer Night's Dream, Op.61)
Felix Mendelssohn
A Midsummer Night's Dream, Op.61 (Overture, Op.21)
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A Midsummer Night's Dream, Op.61 (Overture, Op.21)
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 4 in A major, Op 90, 'Italian'
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Symphony No 4 in A major, Op 90, 'Italian'
Felix Mendelssohn
String Quartet no 6 in F minor, Op 80
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String Quartet no 6 in F minor, Op 80
Felix Mendelssohn
Symphony no 3 in A minor, 'Scottish'
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Symphony no 3 in A minor, 'Scottish'
Felix Mendelssohn
Piano Concerto no 1 in G minor, Op 25
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Piano Concerto no 1 in G minor, Op 25
Felix Mendelssohn
Overture 'The Hebrides' ('Fingal's Cave')
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Overture 'The Hebrides' ('Fingal's Cave')
Felix Mendelssohn
Piano Concerto no. 2 in D minor Op.40: 3rd mvt Finale (Presto scherzando)
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Piano Concerto no. 2 in D minor Op.40: 3rd mvt Finale (Presto scherzando)
Felix Mendelssohn
A Midsummer Night's Dream (Scherzo)
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A Midsummer Night's Dream (Scherzo)
Felix Mendelssohn
Meeresstille und gluckliche Fahrt - Overture, Op 27
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Meeresstille und gluckliche Fahrt - Overture, Op 27
Felix Mendelssohn
Venetianisches Gondellied in F sharp min
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Venetianisches Gondellied in F sharp min
Felix Mendelssohn
Kinderstück No 5 in G minor, Op 72
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Kinderstück No 5 in G minor, Op 72
Felix Mendelssohn
Piano Trio No 1 in D minor, Op 49 (2nd mvt)
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Piano Trio No 1 in D minor, Op 49 (2nd mvt)
Felix Mendelssohn
Three Songs
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Three Songs
Felix Mendelssohn
String Octet in E flat major, Op 20
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String Octet in E flat major, Op 20
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