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Mendelssohn in Britain

Donald Macleod explores Mendelssohn's connections with Britain, where he had great success as a conductor, pianist and composer.

Donald Macleod explores Mendelssohn's connections with Britain.

Felix Mendelssohn had a remarkable, if brief career, cut short at the age of just 38 in 1847. He was born into an exceptional family. His grandfather Moses was a much respected Jewish philosopher, while his father Abraham, a wealthy Jewish banker and his mother Lea, a cultivated, musical woman had the standing and means to provide their four children with every opportunity Berlin society could offer. Only a handful of composers can match Mendelssohn's precocious talent. A child prodigy, famously likened by his friend Robert Schumann to Mozart, Felix's public career began at the age of 9. Between the ages of 11 and 15, he wrote 13 strings symphonies, 5 concertos, 4 operas, chamber music, piano and organ pieces, solo songs and choral pieces. Across the week Donald explores the musical treasures inspired by these formative years.

Few composers can have received a warmer welcome in Britain than Felix Mendelssohn. He owes one of his biggest successes, "Elijah" to the warm reception it received from the British public. He arrived for what would be the first of many visits in 1829. After a very rough crossing during which he endured terrible sea-sickness, his first destination was London, where he put up in rented rooms at 103 Great Portland Street, just around the corner from the BBC's Broadcasting House. Armed with a set of visiting cards to which the English "Mr." had been added, he cut an elegant figure in London society, enjoying great success as a conductor, pianist and composer. Having charmed the English, Mendelssohn travelled to Scotland, where a trip to the Hebridean island of Staffa inspired one of his best loved overtures.

Symphony no.3 in A minor, op.56: Vivace non troppo (2nd movement)
London Symphony Orchestra
Claudio Abbado (conductor)

Erntelied (folksong) Op 8, no 4.
Sophie Daneman (soprano)
Eugene Asti (piano)

Capriccio brilliant, op.22
Ronald Brautigam (piano)
Amesterdam Sinfonietta
Lev Markiz (conductor)

Elijah (1846 version): Overture and excerpt from Part 1
Robert Murray, tenor (Obadiah)
Wroclaw Philharmonic Choir,
Gabrieli Young Singers' Scheme,
Gabrieli Consort & Players,
Paul McCreesh (director)

Hebrides Overture
London Symphony Orchestra
Claudio Abbado (conductor).

1 hour

Last on

Mon 8 Jun 2015 18:15

Music Played

  • Felix Mendelssohn

    Symphony No. 3 In A Minor Op.56 (Scottish) - 2nd movement; Vivace non troppo

    Performer: London Symphony Orchestra. Conductor: Claudio Abbado.
    • DG: 4159732.
    • DG.
    • 2.
  • Felix Mendelssohn

    12 Songs Op.8 - no.4; Erntelied

    Singer: Stefan Loges. Singer: Sophie Daneman.
    • MENDELSSOHN - Der Verlassene.
    • HYPERION.
    • 17.
  • Felix Mendelssohn

    Capriccio Brillant In B Minor Op.22 For Piano And Orchestra

    Performer: Ronald Brautigam. Conductor: Lev Markiz. Orchestra: Amsterdam Nieuw Sinfonietta.
    • BIS : CD-713.
    • BIS.
    • 4.
  • Felix Mendelssohn

    Elijah Op.70 - extracts

    Performer: Gabrieli Young Singers Scheme. Singer: Simon Keenlyside. Choir: Wroclaw Philharmonic Choir. Ensemble: Gabrieli Players. Ensemble: Gabrieli Consort & Players. Singer: Robert Murray. Singer: Dame Sarah Connolly. Director: Paul McCreesh. Singer: Rosemary Joshua.
    • SIGNUM : SIGCD300.
    • SIGNUM.
    • 1.
  • Felix Mendelssohn

    The Hebrides (Fingal'S Cave) - Overture Op.26

    Performer: London Symphony Orchestra. Performer: Claudio Abbado.
    • DEUTSCHE GRAMMOP : 423-104-2.
    • DEUTSCHE GRAMMOP.
    • 7.

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