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.

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References in periodicals archive ?
In taking on the role of the 21st Gewandhaus "Kapellmeister," Nelsons is now in league with a series of famous predecessors, including Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy, Wilhelm Furtwangler, Kurt Masur and Bruno Walter.
The concert opens with Felix Mendelssohn's incidental music to Shakespeare's "A Midsummer Night's Dream." It introduces the themes of the play's many characters, including fairies, crafts people, lovers and Bottom, the donkey.
Clara began writing her piano concerto in 1833, at the tender age of 13(1), finished it when she was 14 and premiered it--still as Clara Wieck--at the age of 16, at the Gewandhaus in Leipzig, conducted by Felix Mendelssohn. Even though her concerto is more in line with the contemporary conventions and more aimed at external effect than the concerto written by her future husband, it cannot be disputed as regards the originality of ideas and the singular stylisation of the piano part.
THE links between the composer Felix Mendelssohn and North Wales are to be celebrated at this year's Conwy Classical Music Festival.
Dans un programme diversifie, le public a pu apprecier de belles œuvres de Ludwig Van Beethoven, Maurice Ravel et Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy que Lionel Bringuier (28 ans) a brillamment conduites.
The 46 year old virtuoso made a triumphant return to the Royal Opera House Muscat (ROHM), this time with the English chamber orchestra The Academy of St Martin in the Fields, to play pieces by Felix Mendelssohn and Ludwig Van Beethoven.
It's a painting by Carl Joseph Begas of the 12-year-old Felix Mendelssohn - the age at which he composed the first work on this double CD set of three piano quartets Opus 1, 2 and 3.
He was slated to return as conductor laureate of the 200-year-old society in March to lead a performance of Felix Mendelssohn's ''Elijah.'' He had conducted in Worcester several times over the years.
The oratorio Elijah (German title: Elias) was Felix Mendelssohn Barthoidy's crowning achievement in large-scale vocal works.
In each of these three cities, the orchestra will perform a selection of pieces by Felix Mendelssohn, Wolfgang Mozart and Pyotr Tchaikovsky as well as a " few Scottish surprises", says Gavin Reid, director of the SSO.