Felix Mendelssohn

Biography

Born: Feb 3, 1809; Germany   Died: Nov 4, 1847; Germany   Period: Romantic
Far from the troubled, coarse libertine that has become an archetype of the Romantic composer, Felix Mendelssohn was something of an anomaly among his contemporaries. His own situation -- one largely of domestic tranquility and unhindered career fulfillment -- stands in stark contrast to the personal Sturm und Drang familiar to his peers. Mendelssohn was the only musical prodigy of the nineteenth century whose stature could rival that of Mozart. Read more Still, his parents resisted any entrepreneurial impulses and spared young Felix the strange, grueling lifestyle that was the lot of many child prodigies. He and his sister Fanny were given piano lessons, and he also studied violin, and both joined the Berlin Singakademie. Carl Friedrich Zelter, director of the Singakademie, became Mendelssohn's first composition instructor. Even in his youth, Mendelssohn moved with natural grace among the circles of influence in society, politics, literature, and art. Although he did spend some time at the University of Berlin, most of his education was received through friendships and travel. Mendelssohn's advocacy was the single most important factor in the revival of Bach's vocal music in the nineteenth century, most famously realized in the 1829 performance of the St. Matthew Passion at the Berlin Singakadamie. He did some touring as a pianist with Ignaz Moscheles, then took the position as music director in Düsseldorf from 1833 to 1835, which involved conducting both the choral and orchestral societies, preparing music for church services and later, becoming intendant for the new theatre. Tension with the theater owner caused him to resign some of his duties, and he began looking for a new post. In 1835, Mendelssohn became municipal music director in Leipzig, where he also would conduct the Gewandhaus Orchestra. He would raise the level of the still-thriving ensemble to a new standard of excellence. In 1838, he married Cécile Jeanrenaud, enjoying an idyllic marriage and family life that was quite unlike the stormy romantic entanglements which profoundly affected such composers as Berlioz, Chopin, and Liszt. He was in demand as a conductor, spent some time as royal composer and music director in Berlin, but remained committed to musical life in Leipzig. He was even able to establish a new conservatory in the city, which is still a well-respected institution.
Mendelssohn was a true Renaissance man. A talented visual artist, he was a refined connoisseur of literature and philosophy. While Mendelssohn's name rarely arises in discussions of the nineteenth century vanguard, the intrinsic importance of his music is undeniable. A distinct personality emerges at once in its exceptional formal sophistication, its singular melodic sense, and its colorful, masterful deployment of the instrumental forces at hand. A true apotheosis of life, Mendelssohn's music absolutely overflows with energy, ebullience, drama, and invention, as evidenced in his most enduring works: the incidental music to A Midsummer Night's Dream (1826-1842); the Hebrides Overture (1830); the Songs Without Words (1830-1845); the Symphonies No. 3 (1841-1842) and No. 4 (1833); and the Violin Concerto in E minor (1844). While the sunny disposition of so many of Mendelssohn's works has led some to view the composer as possessing great talent but little depth, his religious compositions -- particularly the great oratorios Paulus (1836) and Elijah (1846) -- reflect the complexity and deeply spiritual basis of his personality. Read less
Mendelssohn: The Piano Trios / Sitkovetsky Trio
Release Date: 07/10/2015   Label: Bis  
Catalog: 2109   Number of Discs: 1
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Mendelssohn: Complete String Quartets / Pacifica Quartet
Release Date: 04/26/2005   Label: Cedille Records  
Catalog: 82   Number of Discs: 3
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Mendelssohn: Violin Concertos; Romances / Rachel Barton Pine
Release Date: 09/24/2013   Label: Cedille Records  
Catalog: 144   Number of Discs: 1
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Liszt, Reubke, Mendelssohn: Organ Works
Release Date: 05/12/2015   Label: King's College Choir  
Catalog: 10   Number of Discs: 1
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Mendelssohn: Double Concerto, Octet / Tognetti, Leschenko, Australian Chamber Orchestra
Release Date: 03/26/2013   Label: Bis  
Catalog: 1984   Number of Discs: 1
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Work: On the Wings of Song (Auf Flügeln des Gesanges)

Browse 101-101 of 101 Available Recordings
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  • 101.
    A Song Of Yorkshire / Mccann, Sellers Engineering Band
    Label: Chandos   Catalog: 4515 Release Date: 01/01/1970   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  John Newton,  Engelbert Humperdinck,  William Steffe,  May Brahe  ... 
    Performer:  Simon Lindley,  Thomas Hamilton,  Samuel Parker,  Brian Winterbottom  ... 
    Conductor:  Phillip McCann
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Sellers Engineering Band,  Leeds Parish Church Boys' Choir,  Honley Male Voice Choir
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Felix Mendelssohn


WORKS
Mendelssohn: Violin Concerto in E minor, Op.64 - 1. Allegro molto appassionato
Mendelssohn: Violin Concerto in E minor, Op.64 - 2. Andante
Mendelssohn: Violin Concerto in E minor, Op.64 - 3. Allegro non troppo - Allegro molto vivace
Mendelssohn: Symphony No.4 In A Major, Op.90, MWV N 16 - "Italian" - 1. Allegro vivace
Mendelssohn: Symphony No.4 In A Major, Op.90, MWV N 16 - "Italian" - 2. Andante con moto
Mendelssohn: Symphony No.4 In A Major, Op.90, MWV N 16 - "Italian" - 3. Con moto moderato
Mendelssohn: Symphony No.4 In A Major, Op.90, MWV N 16 - "Italian" - 4. Saltarello (Presto)
Mendelssohn: Symphony No.3 in A minor, Op.56 - "Scottish" - 1. Andante con moto - Allegro un poco agitato - Assai animato - Andante come prima
Mendelssohn: Symphony No.3 in A minor, Op.56 - "Scottish" - 2. Vivace non troppo
Mendelssohn: Symphony No.3 in A minor, Op.56 - "Scottish" - 3. Adagio
Mendelssohn: Symphony No.3 in A minor, Op.56 - "Scottish" - 4. Allegro vivacissimo - Allegro maestoso assai
Mendelssohn: Octet in E flat, Op.20 - 1. Allegro moderato, ma con fuoco
Mendelssohn: Octet in E flat, Op.20 - 2. Andante
Mendelssohn: Octet in E flat, Op.20 - 3. Scherzo (Allegro leggierissimo)
Mendelssohn: Octet in E flat, Op.20 - 4. Presto