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F.Mendelssohn
House Of Sensibilities

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Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy
b.Hamburg, Germany 3 February 1809
d.Leipzig, Germany 4 November 1847

Felix Mendelssohn was born into a wealthy Jewish-German banking family and with a financially comfortable childhood, was able to develop his musical talents. He was a child prodigy and his first compositions were written for the weekly musical offerings at the Mendelssohn household where he performed with his equally talented sister Fanny.
 
Mendelssohn's talents were multi-faceted. Not only was he a composer of great facility, but was also a formidable pianist, the conductor of the well-known Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra and the founder of the Leipzig Conservatory. As a conductor, he did much to revive the music of JS Bach, which was much in neglect in those days, by performing the latter's St. Matthew's Passion.
 
He was a gentleman of the finest taste, and was a particular favourite of Queen Victoria and the English audience. Throughout his short life, he paid many visits to England, and his "Scottish Symphony" was dedicated to the Queen.
 
Undoubtedly, his hectic work schedule affected his health, and the sudden death of his sister Fanny, whom he was very much attached to, further weakened him, and he too passed away soon after.
 
Though critics often critisize Mendelssohn's music for its lack of real depth and feeling, and attributed his success to his too-comfortable family background, he had a facility that was second to none. His music has an ease and spontaneity that makes it flow so naturally, and technically, he was peerless. He also did much to improve and sustain the contemporary music culture and surely we must give him the utmost credit for his champion of Bach's music.
 
(more comprehensive biography to continue...)

My favourite Mendelssohn works
 
Violin Concerto in E Minor
This exquisitely crafted violin concerto is one of the most popular in its genre and is definitely one of the starting pieces for anyone new to classical music. It is full of big tunes, and I particularly love the romantic second movement and the sprightly and lively finale.
 
Symphony No. 2 "Lobgesang" (Hymn of Praise)
Mendelssohn was a devout Protestant Christian and this work is an eloquent profession of his faith. The finale comprises of a chorus and solo singers and the composer's joy and faith in the Lord is conveyed most touchingly with his simple yet glorious melodies. A must-listen for all Christians!
 
Symphony No. 4 "Italian"
You would most probably recognize buoyant first movement of this work - probably Mendelssohn's most popular.
 
Piano Trio No. 1 in D Minor
I first heard this work played by some friends in a chamber music concert and was impressed by its virtuosity and passion.
 

Created on 20/12/2002
Updated on 20/12/2002