Main content
Sorry, this episode is not currently available

The Land Where the Lemon Trees Grow

Donald Macleod explores the musical fruits of Mendelssohn's travels, from meeting Goethe to the vivid impressions he collected in Italy.

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.

Growing up in the nineteenth century, part of a young man's experience was an extensive period of travel. Having won over the great man of letters, Goethe, a few years earlier, armed with a reputation that ensured a warm welcome wherever he went, in 1829 Mendelssohn left his teenage years well and truly behind him. He spread his wings on a trip that would occupy him for the best part of three years. Wherever he went he collected impressions, among them the material for his so-called "Italian" symphony, which he said was going to be, "the jolliest piece I have ever done"! With Donald Macleod.

Erster Verlust, op.99 no 1 (1841) (Goethe)
Margaret Price (soprano)
Graham Johnson (piano)

Piano Concerto no.1 in G minor, op.25: Third movement, Presto-Molto Allegro e vivace
Stephen Hough (piano)
City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra
Lawrence Foster (conductor)

Symphony no.4 in A major, op.90
Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra
Andrew Litton (conductor)

Die erste Walpurgisnacht, Op.60 (Kommt mit Zacken und mit Gabeln...Die Flamme reinigt sich vom Rauch)
Matthias Hölle, Druid watchman (bass)
Anton Scharinger, Priest (baritone)
Deon van der Walt, Christian watchman (tenor)
Bamberg Symphony Orchestra and Chorus
Claus-Peter Flor (conductor).

1 hour

Music Played

  • Felix Mendelssohn

    6 Songs Op.99 - no.1; Erster Verlust

    Performer: Graham Johnson. Singer: Margaret Price.
    • HYPERION : CDA 66666-.
    • HYPERION.
    • 1.
  • Felix Mendelssohn

    6 Songs Op.99 - no.1; Erster Verlust

    Performer: Graham Johnson. Singer: Margaret Price.
    • HYPERION : CDA 66666-.
    • HYPERION.
    • 1.
  • Felix Mendelssohn

    6 Songs Op.99 - Erster Verlust

    Singer: Margaret Price. Performer: Graham Johnson.
    • HYPERION : CDA 66666-.
    • HYPERION.
    • 1.
  • Felix Mendelssohn

    Concerto No. 1 In G Minor Op.25 For Piano And Orchestra - 1st movement; Molto allegro con fuoco

    Performer: City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra. Performer: Stephen Hough.
    • HYPERION : CDA 66969-.
    • HYPERION.
    • 2.
  • Felix Mendelssohn

    Concerto No. 1 In G Minor Op.25 For Piano And Orchestra - 1st movement; Molto allegro con fuoco

    Performer: City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra. Performer: Stephen Hough.
    • HYPERION : CDA 66969-.
    • HYPERION.
    • 2.
  • Felix Mendelssohn

    Concerto no. 1 in G minor Op.25 for - Molto Allegro con fuoco

    Performer: City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra. Performer: Stephen Hough.
    • HYPERION : CDA 66969-.
    • HYPERION.
    • 2.
  • Felix Mendelssohn

    Symphony No. 4 In A Major Op.90 (Italian)

    Orchestra: Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra. Conductor: Andrew Litton.
    • BIS : SACD-1584.
    • BIS.
    • 9.
  • Felix Mendelssohn

    Symphony No. 4 In A Major Op.90 (Italian)

    Orchestra: Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra. Conductor: Andrew Litton.
    • BIS : SACD-1584.
    • BIS.
    • 9.
  • Felix Mendelssohn

    Symphony no. 4 in A major Op.90 (Italian)

    Conductor: Andrew Litton. Orchestra: Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra.
    • BIS : SACD-1584.
    • BIS.
    • 9.
  • Felix Mendelssohn

    Die Erste Walpurgisnacht Op.60 For Atb Soloists, Chorus And Orchestra

    Singer: Jadwiga Rappé. Singer: Matthias Hölle. Conductor: Claus Peter Flor. Singer: Deon van der Walt. Orchestra: Bamberg S O.. Singer: Anton Scharinger. Choir: Bamberg Symphony Chorus.
    • RCA 09026 62513-2.
    • RCA.
    • 8.
  • Felix Mendelssohn

    Die Erste Walpurgisnacht Op.60 for ATB soloists, chorus and orchestra (extract)

    Singer: Jadwiga Rappé. Singer: Deon van der Walt. Singer: Anton Scharinger. Singer: Matthias Hölle. Choir: Bamberg Symphony Chorus. Orchestra: Bamberg S O.. Conductor: Claus Peter Flor.
    • RCA 09026 62513-2.
    • RCA.
    • 8.

Broadcasts

Composers A to Z

Composers A to Z

Visit the extensive audio archive of Radio 3 programmes about Composers and their works.

Who knew? Five eye-opening stories from Composer of the Week

Who knew? Five eye-opening stories from Composer of the Week

The production team reflects on 5 of Donald Macleod’s best stories from the last 20 years

A man out of time – why Parry's music and ideas were at odds with his image...

A man out of time – why Parry's music and ideas were at odds with his image...

The composer of Jerusalem was very far from the conservative figure his image suggests.

Five reasons why we love Parry's Jerusalem

Five reasons why we love Parry's Jerusalem

What is the strange power of Jerusalem which makes strong men weep?

Composer Help Page

Composer Help Page

Find resources and contacts for composers from within the classical music industry.