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
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...)