Born: 1809, Hamburg, Germany
Died: 1847, Leipzig, Germany
"There is so much talk about music, and yet so little is said. For my part, I believe that words do not suffice for such a purpose..."
Mendelssohn came from a famous family – his grandfather Moses was a preeminent philosopher – and young Felix wrote some of his greatest works – the Octet, the Midsummer Night’s Dream Overture – as a teenager. His music, pleasing to the ear and deft in its use of the orchestra, won him acclaim throughout Europe during his lifetime but also gained him a reputation as the most conservative of the Romantics. As a conductor, Mendelssohn was responsible for the revival of Bach’s music in the 19th century, and many of his later works – the oratorio St. Paul and the “Hymn of Praise” Symphony (No. 2) among them – owe much to the Baroque master.
Octet for Strings (1825)
Marlboro Festival Ensemble (Sony)
Piano Concertos Nos. 1 and 2 (1831; 1837)
Jean-Yves Thibaudet; Leipzig Gewandhaus
Orchestra, Herbert Blomstedt (Decca)