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 ?
Thus it is no surprise that the materials published as Elijah in the new Leipziger Ausgabe der Werke von Felix Mendelssohn Bartoldy (hereinafter, LMA) come in a complex multivolume set, a set that aims at thoroughness regarding description and editing of various versions of the oratorio and discussion of source material.
All these aspects are taken up in the treatment of Felix Mendelssohn, who has been the subject of renewed scholarly interest in the aftermath of attempts either to degrade him (Wagner) or, since World War II, valorize him (Eric Werner) by tying him falsely, in one way or another, to his Jewish origins.
This issue will discuss vocal chamber duets by Felix Mendelssohn with the hope of continuing the discussion on other composers in the future.
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.
The programme includes The Crucifixion by John Stainer and Hear My Prayer by Felix Mendelssohn.
The full-length opera, sung in German with English subtitles, was written by German composer Felix Mendelssohn when he was 16 years old.
Classical pianist Matthew Odell gave a passionate and nuanced performance of works by Domenico Scarlatti, Felix Mendelssohn and Olivier Messiaen.
The Tehran Symphony Orchestra had held a similar concert earlier in June, performing works by Gioachino Rossini, Felix Mendelssohn and Iranian composer Mostafa Kamal Pourtorab.
If Woody Allen, Constantin Stanislavsky, and Felix Mendelssohn morphed into a ballet teacher, that might begin to approximate Larry Long.
Felix Mendelssohn fue un faro con luz enceguecedora por la pluralidad de sus talentos.
The school's orchestra ended the programme with a resounding performance of Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy Wedding March from 'A Midsummer Night's Dream' to resounding applause from all who attended.
Members of the Manama Singers will perform three works by German composers of the Romantic period, Johannes Brahms and Felix Mendelssohn.