Felix Mendelssohn

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Mendelssohn, Felix

(Jakob Ludwig Felix Mendelssohn) (mĕn`dəlsən, Ger. yä`kôp lo͝ot`vĭkh fā`lĭks mĕn`dəls-zōn'), 1809–47, German composer; grandson of the Jewish philosopher Moses MendelssohnMendelssohn, Moses
, 1729–86, German-Jewish philosopher; grandfather of Felix Mendelssohn. He was a leader in the movement for cultural assimilation. In 1743 he went to Berlin, where he studied and worked, becoming (1750) a partner in a silk merchant's firm.
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. Mendelssohn was one of the major figures in 19th-century European music. His father, Abraham, upon conversion to Christianity, changed his surname to Mendelssohn-Bartholdy, a seldom-used form. A prodigy, reared in a highly cultured atmosphere, the young Felix, who began composing at age 10, presented his orchestral compositions to illustrious audiences at the family estate. His first mature work, the Overture to A Midsummer Night's Dream, now a classical concert staple, was composed at 17, and he showed similar precocity at the piano.

In 1829, he conducted the St. Matthew Passion, stimulating a revival of interest in the music of J. S. BachBach, Johann Sebastian
, 1685–1750, German composer and organist, b. Eisenach; one of the greatest and most influential composers of the Western world. He brought polyphonic baroque music to its culmination, creating masterful and vigorous works in almost every musical
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. He was musical director (1833–35) at Düsseldorf, became (1835) conductor of the Gewandhaus concerts, Leipzig, and helped found (1842–43) the Leipzig Conservatory. He was appointed (1841) director of the music section of the Academy of Arts, Berlin, and often conducted the London Philharmonic Orchestra. His music is characterized by emotional restraint, refinement, sensitivity, and a fastidious adherence to classical forms. Of his five symphonies, the Scottish (1842), Italian (1833), and Reformation (1832) are best known. Frequently performed are his Violin Concerto in E Minor (1845); The Hebrides Overture, or Fingal's Cave (1832); and two oratorios, St. Paul (1836) and Elijah (1846). Outstanding piano works include the Variations sérieuses (1841) and eight sets of Songs without Words (1832–45). He also composed chamber music, songs, choral music, and six organ sonatas.


See his letters (ed. by G. Selden-Goth, 1945); biographies by G. R. Marek (1972), W. Blunt (1974), P. Mercer-Taylor (2000), and R. L. Todd (2003); H. Kupferberg, The Mendelssohns (1972).

His elder sister, Fanny Cäcilie Mendelssohn Hensel, 1805–47, was also a musical prodigy and a gifted composer and pianist. Her parents allowed her lessons, but forbade a musical career as indecent for a woman. She nonetheless led a musical salon and composed some 500 works, many of them for piano. Many of her compositions were rediscovered in the late 20th and early 21st cent.


See M. J. Citron, ed., The Letters of Fanny Hensel to Felix Mendelssohn (1987); biographies by F. Tillard (2003) and R. L. Todd.

References in periodicals archive ?
2) Others have suggested that he was largely unaffected by his Jewish heritage, but Eric Werner, an authority on Jewish music and the late Professor of Sacred Music at Hebrew Union College, has drawn extensively on hitherto little-known documents, (3) and it is now possible to discuss Felix Mendelssohn in a meaningful way as a figure who was affected by his Jewish heritage.
Among the maestro's parting gifts: an 1827 original letter from Felix Mendelssohn.
Celebrate Mendelssohn, by Felix Mendelssohn and compiled by Reid Alexander, Samuel S.
FELIX Mendelssohn was so moved by his first trip to Scotland that he wrote the Hebrides Overture in 1832.
Felix Mendelssohn conducted the premiere performance of his oratorio Elijah in Birmingham, England, on August 26, 1846, with a choir of 271 voices.
Johann Sebastian Bach used it in his Cantata #80 (1730), Felix Mendelssohn in his Reformation Symphony (1830), Richard Wagner in Kaisermarch (1871) and Giacomo Meyerbeer in Les Huguenots (1836).
Tenchita will perform piano works from composers Johann Sebastian Bach, Franz Joseph Haydn, Felix Mendelssohn, and Ludwig van Beethoven with proceeds from the concert assisting her continuing education.
Other recordings have been released on the Linn Records and Champs Hill labels, including the Piatti's lauded contribution to the complete string quartet works of Felix Mendelssohn (Champs Hill), which was BBC Music Magazine's Critic's Choice (September 2014).
The program is richly varied today as the Eugene Symphony, conducted by music director Danail Rachev, takes on works by four composers, including Bedrich Smetana, Felix Mendelssohn, Thomas Ads and Edward Elgar.
Concert Cellist Sergey Antonov winner of the International Tchaikovsky competition, and accompanist Ilya Kazantsev performs works by Richard Strauss and Felix Mendelssohn, 4 p.
The second half brought music from the Schumanns' great family friend, Felix Mendelssohn.
This performance also includes "A Movement for Rosa," a musical tribute to civil rights hero Rosa Parks by Chicago composer Mark Camphouse, "Candide Suite" and "Somewhere (from "West Side Story") by Leonard Bernstein, as well as "Wedding March" by Felix Mendelssohn.