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Donald Macleod assesses Mendelssohn's abilities as a portraitist, introducing excerpts from the London version of the Scottish Symphony.

Donald Macleod assesses Mendelssohn's abilities as a portraitist, including excerpts from the London version of the Scottish Symphony and the Opus 44 Piano Trio.

Few of us can readily lay claim to the descriptions polymath and polyglot. Felix Mendelssohn could. A child prodigy, likened by his contemporaries to Mozart, he was an accomplished composer, performer, conductor and musicologist. Beyond music, Mendelssohn was extremely knowledgeable about poetry, classical studies, theology, languages, painting and drawing. Indeed, he enjoyed art so much he continued to produce sketches, drawings and paintings as a pastime almost to the very end of his life. While he died aged only 38 in 1847, in addition to manuscripts, a considerable collection of his artwork has been preserved.

The biggest collection of Mendelssohn's biographical archive resides in the University of Oxford's Bodleian Libraries. This week, with Mendelssohn expert Peter Ward Jones as his guide, Donald Macleod opens up Mendelssohn's sketchbooks to find out what captured the composer's imagination alongside music.

Given the number of Mendelssohn's sketches, drawings and paintings, it's perhaps surprising that there aren't more portraits. In fact Mendelssohn, brilliant as he was, had an area which he perceived as being weak. He felt he wasn't good at drawing people. You can judge for yourself as Mendelssohn's sketch of a boy is available on the Radio 3 website along with some of the others featured in this week's programmes.

Songs Without Words, Book 5, Op 62 No 6
Martin Jones, piano

O for the Wings of a Dove
Jeremy Budd, treble
Choir of St Paul's Cathedral
Andrew Lucas, organ
John Scott, director

Symphony No 3 in A minor, Op 38 (Scottish) (1st movement)
Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra
Riccardo Chailly, conductor

Elijah, excerpt from Part 2
Simon Keenlyside, baritone
Rosemary Joshua, soprano
Robert Murray, tenor
Wroclaw Philharmonic Choir
Gabrieli Young Singers Scheme
Gabrieli Consort and Players
William Whitehead, organ
Paul McCreesh, conductor

Piano Trio No 1 in D minor, Op 49 (1st movement)
Fournier Trio.

1 hour

Last on

Fri 6 Oct 2017 12:00

Music Played

  • Felix Mendelssohn

    Lieder Ohne Worte - Book 5 Op.62

    Performer: Martin Jones.
    • Nimbus: NI 5073.
    • Nimbus.
    • 30.
  • Felix Mendelssohn

    Lieder ohne Worte - book 5 Op.62

    Performer: Martin Jones.
    • Nimbus: NI 5073.
    • Nimbus.
    • 30.
  • Felix Mendelssohn

    Hear My Prayer - Hymn For Soprano, Chorus And Organ

    Performer: Andrew Lucas. Singer: Jeremy Budd. Choir: St Paul's Cathedral Choir. Conductor: John (U.S.A.) Scott.
    • Hyperion: CDA66439.
    • Hyperion.
    • 1.
  • Felix Mendelssohn

    Hear my prayer

    Performer: Andrew Lucas. Singer: Jeremy Budd. Choir: St Paul's Cathedral Choir. Conductor: John (U.S.A.) Scott.
    • Hyperion: CDA66439.
    • Hyperion.
    • 1.
  • Felix Mendelssohn

    Symphony No. 3 In A Minor Op.56 (Scottish)

    Orchestra: Gewandhausorchester Leipzig. Conductor: Riccardo Chailly.
    • DECCA : 478-1525.
    • DECCA.
    • 1.
  • Felix Mendelssohn

    Symphony No. 3 In A Minor Op 56 (Scottish)- Andante con moto - allegro un poco

    Orchestra: Gewandhausorchester Leipzig. Conductor: Riccardo Chailly.
    • DECCA : 478-1525.
    • DECCA.
    • 1.
  • Felix Mendelssohn

    Elijah Op.70

    Performer: William Whitehead. Choir: Wroclaw Philharmonic Choir. Ensemble: Gabrieli Consort & Players. Ensemble: Gabrieli Players. Director: Paul McCreesh. Singer: Simon Keenlyside. Singer: Rosemary Joshua. Singer: Robert Murray.
    • SIGNUM CLASSICS : SIGCD-300.
    • SIGNUM CLASSICS.
    • 21.
  • Felix Mendelssohn

    Elijah Op.70 (extract)

    Performer: William Whitehead. Choir: Wroclaw Philharmonic Choir. Ensemble: Gabrieli Consort. Ensemble: Gabrieli Players. Director: Paul McCreesh. Singer: Simon Keenlyside. Singer: Rosemary Joshua. Singer: Robert Murray.
    • SIGNUM CLASSICS : SIGCD-300.
    • SIGNUM CLASSICS.
    • 21.
  • Felix Mendelssohn

    Trio No. 1 In D Minor Op.49 For Piano And Strings

    Ensemble: Fournier Trio.
    • RES 10161.
    • RES.
    • 1.
  • Felix Mendelssohn

    Trio No. 1 In D Minor Op.49 - Molto allegro agitato

    Ensemble: Fournier Trio.
    • RES 10161.
    • RES.
    • 1.

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