Overture to A Midsummer Night’s Dream
Scottish Symphony (Symphony No. 3 in A minor)
Violin Concerto in E minor, Op. 64
Like Mozart, Felix Mendelssohn was a child prodigy. Born in Germany in 1809, he gave his first recital at age 9, and soon after that began composing symphonies (extended musical works for an entire orchestra). By the time he was 15 (the age of today’s high school sophomore) he had already composed twelve symphonies!
Unsurprisingly, Mendelssohn came from a very musical family. His mom gave him his first piano lessons, and his older sister Fanny was talented as both a pianist and a composer. While best known for his many stirring and tuneful compositions, such as his Overture to A Midsummer Night’s Dream.
Mendelssohn is also famous for reviving the music of J.S. Bach, which had been largely forgotten by the beginning of the 19th century. In 1829 Mendelssohn conducted a performance of Bach’s magnificent St. Matthew Passion, for orchestra, choir, and vocal soloists. This performance was such a success that Bach was soon recognized as one of the greatest composers of all time.
Mendelssohn toured a lot around Europe and drew inspiration for his music from the places he visited. Wonderful examples of this are his Italian and Scottish symphonies. Unfortunately, he ended up suffering from bad health and died early, at the young age of 38. However, he will be forever remembered as one of the best-loved composers of the Romantic era.