Felix Mendelssohn (1809-1847)

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012011041820121105

Donald Macleod explores Felix Mendelssohn's last seven years.

Donald Macleod explores Felix Mendelssohn's last seven years, starting with his appointment in 1841 to the post of Royal Prussian Kapellmeister in his home town of Berlin. For the previous six years Mendelssohn had been based in Leipzig, as director of the Gewandhaus Concerts. He had been spectacularly successful, turning the orchestra there into one of the finest in Europe - and thereby making himself an attractive prospect for neighbouring rulers to poach. The new king of Prussia, Friedrich Wilhelm IV, wanted to make Berlin a cultural centre to be reckoned with, and had decided that Mendelssohn was the man for the job. After six months of strenuous but largely unsuccessful attempts to hammer out the responsibilities of his post, Mendelssohn was offered a lucrative one-year contract on a pretty much take-it-or-leave-it basis; he took it, but the job remained ill-defined and he grew increasingly frustrated - not least with the lack of any progress whatsoever on the proposed new Berlin Conservatory, the creation of which had been a major carrot during the negotiations. Mendelssohn's incidental music to Sophocles' Antigone is one of the few fruits of this first Berlin post; but at least he had plenty of time to get to grips with the composition of his 'Scottish' Symphony, the seeds of which had been sown during his visit to the ruins of Queen Mary's palace of Holyrood in 1829. On hearing the symphony, one contemporary critic astutely commented, "we may prophesy that it will rouse pure feeling of pleasure everywhere".

Producer: Chris Barstow.

Donald Macleod explores Felix Mendelssohn's last seven years, starting with his appointment in 1841 to the post of Royal Prussian Kapellmeister in his home town of Berlin.

For the previous six years Mendelssohn had been based in Leipzig, as director of the Gewandhaus Concerts.

He had been spectacularly successful, turning the orchestra there into one of the finest in Europe - and thereby making himself an attractive prospect for neighbouring rulers to poach.

The new king of Prussia, Friedrich Wilhelm IV, wanted to make Berlin a cultural centre to be reckoned with, and had decided that Mendelssohn was the man for the job.

After six months of strenuous but largely unsuccessful attempts to hammer out the responsibilities of his post, Mendelssohn was offered a lucrative one-year contract on a pretty much take-it-or-leave-it basis; he took it, but the job remained ill-defined and he grew increasingly frustrated - not least with the lack of any progress whatsoever on the proposed new Berlin Conservatory, the creation of which had been a major carrot during the negotiations.

Mendelssohn's incidental music to Sophocles' Antigone is one of the few fruits of this first Berlin post; but at least he had plenty of time to get to grips with the composition of his 'Scottish' Symphony, the seeds of which had been sown during his visit to the ruins of Queen Mary's palace of Holyrood in 1829.

On hearing the symphony, one contemporary critic astutely commented, "we may prophesy that it will rouse pure feeling of pleasure everywhere".

012011041820121105

Donald Macleod explores Felix Mendelssohn's last seven years.

Donald Macleod explores Felix Mendelssohn's last seven years, starting with his appointment in 1841 to the post of Royal Prussian Kapellmeister in his home town of Berlin. For the previous six years Mendelssohn had been based in Leipzig, as director of the Gewandhaus Concerts. He had been spectacularly successful, turning the orchestra there into one of the finest in Europe - and thereby making himself an attractive prospect for neighbouring rulers to poach. The new king of Prussia, Friedrich Wilhelm IV, wanted to make Berlin a cultural centre to be reckoned with, and had decided that Mendelssohn was the man for the job. After six months of strenuous but largely unsuccessful attempts to hammer out the responsibilities of his post, Mendelssohn was offered a lucrative one-year contract on a pretty much take-it-or-leave-it basis; he took it, but the job remained ill-defined and he grew increasingly frustrated - not least with the lack of any progress whatsoever on the proposed new Berlin Conservatory, the creation of which had been a major carrot during the negotiations. Mendelssohn's incidental music to Sophocles' Antigone is one of the few fruits of this first Berlin post; but at least he had plenty of time to get to grips with the composition of his 'Scottish' Symphony, the seeds of which had been sown during his visit to the ruins of Queen Mary's palace of Holyrood in 1829. On hearing the symphony, one contemporary critic astutely commented, "we may prophesy that it will rouse pure feeling of pleasure everywhere".

Producer: Chris Barstow.

Donald Macleod explores Felix Mendelssohn's last seven years, starting with his appointment in 1841 to the post of Royal Prussian Kapellmeister in his home town of Berlin.

For the previous six years Mendelssohn had been based in Leipzig, as director of the Gewandhaus Concerts.

He had been spectacularly successful, turning the orchestra there into one of the finest in Europe - and thereby making himself an attractive prospect for neighbouring rulers to poach.

The new king of Prussia, Friedrich Wilhelm IV, wanted to make Berlin a cultural centre to be reckoned with, and had decided that Mendelssohn was the man for the job.

After six months of strenuous but largely unsuccessful attempts to hammer out the responsibilities of his post, Mendelssohn was offered a lucrative one-year contract on a pretty much take-it-or-leave-it basis; he took it, but the job remained ill-defined and he grew increasingly frustrated - not least with the lack of any progress whatsoever on the proposed new Berlin Conservatory, the creation of which had been a major carrot during the negotiations.

Mendelssohn's incidental music to Sophocles' Antigone is one of the few fruits of this first Berlin post; but at least he had plenty of time to get to grips with the composition of his 'Scottish' Symphony, the seeds of which had been sown during his visit to the ruins of Queen Mary's palace of Holyrood in 1829.

On hearing the symphony, one contemporary critic astutely commented, "we may prophesy that it will rouse pure feeling of pleasure everywhere".

01A Charmed Childhood20090126

Donald Macleod explores Mendelssohn's formative years, leading up to an unprecedented chamber masterpiece - the Octet in E flat.

Mendelssohn grew up in a wealthy, privileged environment, and his musical talent was nurtured by his parents and a series of distinguished teachers.

The result - a prolific number of accomplished works by the age of 16.

Part of Radio 3's Composers of the Year 2009 season.

Leicht und luftig (Seven Characteristic Pieces, Op 7)

  • bbc recording.

    Donald Macleod explores mendelssohn's formative years leading up to his octet in e flat

  • benjamin frith (piano)
  • concerto koln
  • cpo 9995502 - cd1 tr 10

    octet in e flat, op 20

  • dietrich fischer-dieskau (bass-baritone)
  • heinz wallberg (conductor)
  • munchener rundfunkorchester
  • naxos 8.553541 - tr 10

    string symphony no 1

  • psophos quartet
  • royal string quartet
  • teldec 4509-98435-2 - cd1 trs 4-6

    bogy's aria (die beiden padagogen)

  • 01A Charmed Childhood *20090126

    Donald Macleod explores Mendelssohn's formative years, leading up to an unprecedented chamber masterpiece - the Octet in E flat.

    Mendelssohn grew up in a wealthy, privileged environment, and his musical talent was nurtured by his parents and a series of distinguished teachers.

    The result - a prolific number of accomplished works by the age of 16.

    Part of Radio 3's Composers of the Year 2009 season.

    Leicht und luftig (Seven Characteristic Pieces, Op 7)

  • bbc recording.

    Donald Macleod explores mendelssohn's formative years leading up to his octet in e flat

  • benjamin frith (piano)
  • concerto koln
  • cpo 9995502 - cd1 tr 10

    octet in e flat, op 20

  • dietrich fischer-dieskau (bass-baritone)
  • heinz wallberg (conductor)
  • munchener rundfunkorchester
  • naxos 8.553541 - tr 10

    string symphony no 1

  • psophos quartet
  • royal string quartet
  • teldec 4509-98435-2 - cd1 trs 4-6

    bogy's aria (die beiden padagogen)

  • 01A Family Holiday20160822

    Donald Macleod places the teenage Mendelssohn's exceptional talent in music alongside his abilities as a keen amateur landscape artist, including extracts from his youthful Octet and Concerto in D minor for strings.

    Few of us can readily lay claim to the descriptions polymath and polyglot. Felix Mendelssohn could. A child prodigy, likened by his contemporaries to Mozart, he was an accomplished composer, performer, conductor and musicologist. Beyond music, Mendelssohn was extremely knowledgeable about poetry, classical studies, theology, languages, painting and drawing. Indeed, he enjoyed art so much he continued to produce sketches, drawings and paintings as a pastime almost to the very end of his life. While he died aged only 38 in 1847, in addition to manuscripts, a considerable collection of his artwork has been preserved.

    The biggest collection of Mendelssohn's biographical archive resides in the University of Oxford's Bodleian Libraries. This week, with Mendelssohn expert Peter Ward Jones as his guide, Donald Macleod opens up Mendelssohn's sketchbooks to find out what captured the composer's imagination alongside music.

    Already making a name as a composer, in 1822 Mendelssohn produced some 40 odd sketches on a three month holiday. Being left behind when the family convoy of carriages set off from Potsdam doesn't appear to have dampened the thirteen year old's spirit. Arriving in Switzerland, Mendelssohn was inspired, as Turner had been before him by the sight of the Rigi Kulm.

    You can see sketches and drawings featured in this week's programme on the Radio 3 website.

    Songs without words, Book 1, Op 19, No 1

    Martin Jones, piano

    Octet (Scherzo)

    Daniel Hope, Lucy Gould, Sophie Besançon, Christian Eisenberger, violins

    Pascal Siffert, Steward Eaton, violas

    William Conway, Kate Gould, cellos

    String Symphony No 6 in E flat major

    Amsterdam Sinfonietta

    Lev Markiz, conductor

    Piano Quartet in C minor, Op 1 (4th movement)

    Schubert Ensemble

    Concerto in D minor for violin, piano and strings (1st movement)

    Polinka Leschenko, piano

    Richard Tognetti, violin

    Australian Chamber Orchestra.

    01A Family Holiday2016082220171002

    Exploring a teenage Mendelssohn's music and sketches from a family holiday in Switzerland.

    Donald Macleod places the teenage Mendelssohn's exceptional talent in music alongside his abilities as a keen amateur landscape artist, including extracts from his youthful Octet and Concerto in D minor for strings.

    Few of us can readily lay claim to the descriptions polymath and polyglot. Felix Mendelssohn could. A child prodigy, likened by his contemporaries to Mozart, he was an accomplished composer, performer, conductor and musicologist. Beyond music, Mendelssohn was extremely knowledgeable about poetry, classical studies, theology, languages, painting and drawing. Indeed, he enjoyed art so much he continued to produce sketches, drawings and paintings as a pastime almost to the very end of his life. While he died aged only 38 in 1847, in addition to manuscripts, a considerable collection of his artwork has been preserved.

    The biggest collection of Mendelssohn's biographical archive resides in the University of Oxford's Bodleian Libraries. This week, with Mendelssohn expert Peter Ward Jones as his guide, Donald Macleod opens up Mendelssohn's sketchbooks to find out what captured the composer's imagination alongside music.

    Already making a name as a composer, in 1822 Mendelssohn produced some 40 odd sketches on a three month holiday. Being left behind when the family convoy of carriages set off from Potsdam doesn't appear to have dampened the thirteen year old's spirit. Arriving in Switzerland, Mendelssohn was inspired, as Turner had been before him by the sight of the Rigi Kulm.

    You can see sketches and drawings featured in this week's programme on the Radio 3 website.

    Songs without words, Book 1, Op 19, No 1
    Martin Jones, piano

    Octet (Scherzo)
    Daniel Hope, Lucy Gould, Sophie Besançon, Christian Eisenberger, violins
    Pascal Siffert, Steward Eaton, violas
    William Conway, Kate Gould, cellos

    String Symphony No 6 in E flat major
    Amsterdam Sinfonietta
    Lev Markiz, conductor

    Piano Quartet in C minor, Op 1 (4th movement)
    Schubert Ensemble

    Concerto in D minor for violin, piano and strings (1st movement)
    Polinka Leschenko, piano
    Richard Tognetti, violin
    Australian Chamber Orchestra.

    Donald Macleod places the teenage Mendelssohn's exceptional talent in music alongside his abilities as a keen amateur landscape artist, including extracts from his youthful Octet and Concerto in D minor for strings.

    Few of us can readily lay claim to the descriptions polymath and polyglot. Felix Mendelssohn could. A child prodigy, likened by his contemporaries to Mozart, he was an accomplished composer, performer, conductor and musicologist. Beyond music, Mendelssohn was extremely knowledgeable about poetry, classical studies, theology, languages, painting and drawing. Indeed, he enjoyed art so much he continued to produce sketches, drawings and paintings as a pastime almost to the very end of his life. While he died aged only 38 in 1847, in addition to manuscripts, a considerable collection of his artwork has been preserved.

    The biggest collection of Mendelssohn's biographical archive resides in the University of Oxford's Bodleian Libraries. This week, with Mendelssohn expert Peter Ward Jones as his guide, Donald Macleod opens up Mendelssohn's sketchbooks to find out what captured the composer's imagination alongside music.

    Already making a name as a composer, in 1822 Mendelssohn produced some 40 odd sketches on a three month holiday. Being left behind when the family convoy of carriages set off from Potsdam doesn't appear to have dampened the thirteen year old's spirit. Arriving in Switzerland, Mendelssohn was inspired, as Turner had been before him by the sight of the Rigi Kulm.

    You can see sketches and drawings featured in this week's programme on the Radio 3 website.

    Songs without words, Book 1, Op 19, No 1

    Martin Jones, piano

    Octet (Scherzo)

    Daniel Hope, Lucy Gould, Sophie Besançon, Christian Eisenberger, violins

    Pascal Siffert, Steward Eaton, violas

    William Conway, Kate Gould, cellos

    String Symphony No 6 in E flat major

    Amsterdam Sinfonietta

    Lev Markiz, conductor

    Piano Quartet in C minor, Op 1 (4th movement)

    Schubert Ensemble

    Concerto in D minor for violin, piano and strings (1st movement)

    Polinka Leschenko, piano

    Richard Tognetti, violin

    Australian Chamber Orchestra.

    01A Family Holiday20171002

    Exploring a teenage Mendelssohn's music and sketches from a family holiday in Switzerland.

    Donald Macleod places the teenage Mendelssohn's exceptional talent in music alongside his abilities as a keen amateur landscape artist, including extracts from his youthful Octet and Concerto in D minor for strings.

    Few of us can readily lay claim to the descriptions polymath and polyglot. Felix Mendelssohn could. A child prodigy, likened by his contemporaries to Mozart, he was an accomplished composer, performer, conductor and musicologist. Beyond music, Mendelssohn was extremely knowledgeable about poetry, classical studies, theology, languages, painting and drawing. Indeed, he enjoyed art so much he continued to produce sketches, drawings and paintings as a pastime almost to the very end of his life. While he died aged only 38 in 1847, in addition to manuscripts, a considerable collection of his artwork has been preserved.

    The biggest collection of Mendelssohn's biographical archive resides in the University of Oxford's Bodleian Libraries. This week, with Mendelssohn expert Peter Ward Jones as his guide, Donald Macleod opens up Mendelssohn's sketchbooks to find out what captured the composer's imagination alongside music.

    Already making a name as a composer, in 1822 Mendelssohn produced some 40 odd sketches on a three month holiday. Being left behind when the family convoy of carriages set off from Potsdam doesn't appear to have dampened the thirteen year old's spirit. Arriving in Switzerland, Mendelssohn was inspired, as Turner had been before him by the sight of the Rigi Kulm.

    You can see sketches and drawings featured in this week's programme on the Radio 3 website.

    Songs without words, Book 1, Op 19, No 1
    Martin Jones, piano

    Octet (Scherzo)
    Daniel Hope, Lucy Gould, Sophie Besançon, Christian Eisenberger, violins
    Pascal Siffert, Steward Eaton, violas
    William Conway, Kate Gould, cellos

    String Symphony No 6 in E flat major
    Amsterdam Sinfonietta
    Lev Markiz, conductor

    Piano Quartet in C minor, Op 1 (4th movement)
    Schubert Ensemble

    Concerto in D minor for violin, piano and strings (1st movement)
    Polinka Leschenko, piano
    Richard Tognetti, violin
    Australian Chamber Orchestra.

    01Mendelssohn In Britain2014031020150608 (R3)

    Donald Macleod explores Mendelssohn's connections with Britain.

    Donald Macleod explores Mendelssohn's connections with Britain.

    Felix Mendelssohn had a remarkable, if brief career, cut short at the age of just 38 in 1847. He was born into an exceptional family. His grandfather Moses was a much respected Jewish philosopher, while his father Abraham, a wealthy Jewish banker and his mother Lea, a cultivated, musical woman had the standing and means to provide their four children with every opportunity Berlin society could offer. Only a handful of composers can match Mendelssohn's precocious talent. A child prodigy, famously likened by his friend Robert Schumann to Mozart, Felix's public career began at the age of 9. Between the ages of 11 and 15, he wrote 13 strings symphonies, 5 concertos, 4 operas, chamber music, piano and organ pieces, solo songs and choral pieces. Across the week Donald explores the musical treasures inspired by these formative years.

    Few composers can have received a warmer welcome in Britain than Felix Mendelssohn. He owes one of his biggest successes, "Elijah" to the warm reception it received from the British public. He arrived for what would be the first of many visits in 1829. After a very rough crossing during which he endured terrible sea-sickness, his first destination was London, where he put up in rented rooms at 103 Great Portland Street, just around the corner from the BBC's Broadcasting House. Armed with a set of visiting cards to which the English "Mr." had been added, he cut an elegant figure in London society, enjoying great success as a conductor, pianist and composer. Having charmed the English, Mendelssohn travelled to Scotland, where a trip to the Hebridean island of Staffa inspired one of his best loved overtures.

    Symphony no.3 in A minor, op.56: Vivace non troppo (2nd movement)

    London Symphony Orchestra

    Claudio Abbado (conductor)

    Erntelied (folksong) Op 8, no 4.

    Sophie Daneman (soprano)

    Eugene Asti (piano)

    Capriccio brilliant, op.22

    Ronald Brautigam (piano)

    Amesterdam Sinfonietta

    Lev Markiz (conductor)

    Elijah (1846 version): Overture and excerpt from Part 1

    Robert Murray, tenor (Obadiah)

    Wroclaw Philharmonic Choir,

    Gabrieli Young Singers' Scheme,

    Gabrieli Consort and Players,

    Paul McCreesh (director)

    Hebrides Overture

    Donald Macleod explores Mendelssohn's connections with Britain.

    Felix Mendelssohn had a remarkable, if brief career, cut short at the age of just 38 in 1847. He was born into an exceptional family. His grandfather Moses was a much respected Jewish philosopher, while his father Abraham, a wealthy Jewish banker and his mother Lea, a cultivated, musical woman had the standing and means to provide their four children with every opportunity Berlin society could offer. Only a handful of composers can match Mendelssohn's precocious talent. A child prodigy, famously likened by his friend Robert Schumann to Mozart, Felix's public career began at the age of 9. Between the ages of 11 and 15, he wrote 13 strings symphonies, 5 concertos, 4 operas, chamber music, piano and organ pieces, solo songs and choral pieces. Across the week Donald explores the musical treasures inspired by these formative years.

    Few composers can have received a warmer welcome in Britain than Felix Mendelssohn. He owes one of his biggest successes, "Elijah" to the warm reception it received from the British public. He arrived for what would be the first of many visits in 1829. After a very rough crossing during which he endured terrible sea-sickness, his first destination was London, where he put up in rented rooms at 103 Great Portland Street, just around the corner from the BBC's Broadcasting House. Armed with a set of visiting cards to which the English "Mr." had been added, he cut an elegant figure in London society, enjoying great success as a conductor, pianist and composer. Having charmed the English, Mendelssohn travelled to Scotland, where a trip to the Hebridean island of Staffa inspired one of his best loved overtures.

    01Mendelssohn In Britain2014031020150608 (R3)

    Donald Macleod explores Mendelssohn's connections with Britain.

    Felix Mendelssohn had a remarkable, if brief career, cut short at the age of just 38 in 1847. He was born into an exceptional family. His grandfather Moses was a much respected Jewish philosopher, while his father Abraham, a wealthy Jewish banker and his mother Lea, a cultivated, musical woman had the standing and means to provide their four children with every opportunity Berlin society could offer. Only a handful of composers can match Mendelssohn's precocious talent. A child prodigy, famously likened by his friend Robert Schumann to Mozart, Felix's public career began at the age of 9. Between the ages of 11 and 15, he wrote 13 strings symphonies, 5 concertos, 4 operas, chamber music, piano and organ pieces, solo songs and choral pieces. Across the week Donald explores the musical treasures inspired by these formative years.

    Few composers can have received a warmer welcome in Britain than Felix Mendelssohn. He owes one of his biggest successes, "Elijah" to the warm reception it received from the British public. He arrived for what would be the first of many visits in 1829. After a very rough crossing during which he endured terrible sea-sickness, his first destination was London, where he put up in rented rooms at 103 Great Portland Street, just around the corner from the BBC's Broadcasting House. Armed with a set of visiting cards to which the English "Mr." had been added, he cut an elegant figure in London society, enjoying great success as a conductor, pianist and composer. Having charmed the English, Mendelssohn travelled to Scotland, where a trip to the Hebridean island of Staffa inspired one of his best loved overtures.

    Symphony no.3 in A minor, op.56: Vivace non troppo (2nd movement)

    London Symphony Orchestra

    Claudio Abbado (conductor)

    Erntelied (folksong) Op 8, no 4.

    Sophie Daneman (soprano)

    Eugene Asti (piano)

    Capriccio brilliant, op.22

    Ronald Brautigam (piano)

    Amesterdam Sinfonietta

    Lev Markiz (conductor)

    Elijah (1846 version): Overture and excerpt from Part 1

    Robert Murray, tenor (Obadiah)

    Wroclaw Philharmonic Choir,

    Gabrieli Young Singers' Scheme,

    Gabrieli Consort and Players,

    Paul McCreesh (director)

    Hebrides Overture

    022011041920121106

    Donald Macleod continues his exploration of Mendelssohn's last seven years.

    Donald Macleod continues his exploration of Mendelssohn's last seven years. Christmas 1842 must have been a bleak one in the Mendelssohn household; on 12 December the composer's mother, Lea, had died. Wealthy, cultured, intelligent and larger than life, Lea Mendelssohn had presided over a salon frequented by some of the greatest minds of the day. Mendelssohn's father, Abraham, had died some years earlier, so as the composer now wrote to his brother Paul: "We are children no longer." Understandably, fresh composition was difficult, and he started the new year by revising an old work - Die Erste Walpurgisnacht. Then there was a series of concerts to conduct in Berlin, along with the none-too-onerous 'duties' of his new, resounding-sounding appointment as Generalmusikdirector für kirchliche und geistliche Musik - although this did result in the incidental music to A Midsummer Night's Dream. When he had negotiated his new contract with the Prussian king, Friedrich Wilhelm IV, it had been agreed that Mendelssohn could spend part of 1843 in his old stamping-ground, Leipzig. On his arrival there he was promptly offered the job of Director of Music to the Saxon court - he declined, but managed to persuade King Frederick Augustus III to establish a new music conservatory in the city. He also conducted a series of eight subscription concerts, was granted the Freedom of the city of Leipzig, and unveiled a monument to his musical hero, J S Bach. Back in Berlin, he was driven up the wall by the Prussian government's shilly-shallying over the conditions attached to his new post in charge of church music. He worked off some of his frustration in paint - not just a prodigious composer, he was a talented artist as well - and in the composition of his exuberant 2nd Cello Sonata.

    Christmas 1842 must have been a bleak one in the Mendelssohn household; on 12 December the composer's mother, Lea, had died.

    Wealthy, cultured, intelligent and larger than life, Lea Mendelssohn had presided over a salon frequented by some of the greatest minds of the day.

    Mendelssohn's father, Abraham, had died some years earlier, so as the composer now wrote to his brother Paul: "We are children no longer." Understandably, fresh composition was difficult, and he started the new year by revising an old work - Die Erste Walpurgisnacht.

    Then there was a series of concerts to conduct in Berlin, along with the none-too-onerous 'duties' of his new, resounding-sounding appointment as Generalmusikdirector für kirchliche und geistliche Musik - although this did result in the incidental music to A Midsummer Night's Dream.

    When he had negotiated his new contract with the Prussian king, Friedrich Wilhelm IV, it had been agreed that Mendelssohn could spend part of 1843 in his old stamping-ground, Leipzig.

    On his arrival there he was promptly offered the job of Director of Music to the Saxon court - he declined, but managed to persuade King Frederick Augustus III to establish a new music conservatory in the city.

    He also conducted a series of eight subscription concerts, was granted the Freedom of the city of Leipzig, and unveiled a monument to his musical hero, J S Bach.

    Back in Berlin, he was driven up the wall by the Prussian government's shilly-shallying over the conditions attached to his new post in charge of church music.

    He worked off some of his frustration in paint - not just a prodigious composer, he was a talented artist as well - and in the composition of his exuberant 2nd Cello Sonata.

    022011041920121106

    Donald Macleod continues his exploration of Mendelssohn's last seven years. Christmas 1842 must have been a bleak one in the Mendelssohn household; on 12 December the composer's mother, Lea, had died. Wealthy, cultured, intelligent and larger than life, Lea Mendelssohn had presided over a salon frequented by some of the greatest minds of the day. Mendelssohn's father, Abraham, had died some years earlier, so as the composer now wrote to his brother Paul: "We are children no longer." Understandably, fresh composition was difficult, and he started the new year by revising an old work - Die Erste Walpurgisnacht. Then there was a series of concerts to conduct in Berlin, along with the none-too-onerous 'duties' of his new, resounding-sounding appointment as Generalmusikdirector für kirchliche und geistliche Musik - although this did result in the incidental music to A Midsummer Night's Dream. When he had negotiated his new contract with the Prussian king, Friedrich Wilhelm IV, it had been agreed that Mendelssohn could spend part of 1843 in his old stamping-ground, Leipzig. On his arrival there he was promptly offered the job of Director of Music to the Saxon court - he declined, but managed to persuade King Frederick Augustus III to establish a new music conservatory in the city. He also conducted a series of eight subscription concerts, was granted the Freedom of the city of Leipzig, and unveiled a monument to his musical hero, J S Bach. Back in Berlin, he was driven up the wall by the Prussian government's shilly-shallying over the conditions attached to his new post in charge of church music. He worked off some of his frustration in paint - not just a prodigious composer, he was a talented artist as well - and in the composition of his exuberant 2nd Cello Sonata.

    Donald Macleod continues his exploration of Mendelssohn's last seven years.

    Christmas 1842 must have been a bleak one in the Mendelssohn household; on 12 December the composer's mother, Lea, had died.

    Wealthy, cultured, intelligent and larger than life, Lea Mendelssohn had presided over a salon frequented by some of the greatest minds of the day.

    Mendelssohn's father, Abraham, had died some years earlier, so as the composer now wrote to his brother Paul: "We are children no longer." Understandably, fresh composition was difficult, and he started the new year by revising an old work - Die Erste Walpurgisnacht.

    Then there was a series of concerts to conduct in Berlin, along with the none-too-onerous 'duties' of his new, resounding-sounding appointment as Generalmusikdirector für kirchliche und geistliche Musik - although this did result in the incidental music to A Midsummer Night's Dream.

    When he had negotiated his new contract with the Prussian king, Friedrich Wilhelm IV, it had been agreed that Mendelssohn could spend part of 1843 in his old stamping-ground, Leipzig.

    On his arrival there he was promptly offered the job of Director of Music to the Saxon court - he declined, but managed to persuade King Frederick Augustus III to establish a new music conservatory in the city.

    He also conducted a series of eight subscription concerts, was granted the Freedom of the city of Leipzig, and unveiled a monument to his musical hero, J S Bach.

    Back in Berlin, he was driven up the wall by the Prussian government's shilly-shallying over the conditions attached to his new post in charge of church music.

    He worked off some of his frustration in paint - not just a prodigious composer, he was a talented artist as well - and in the composition of his exuberant 2nd Cello Sonata.

    021829 - Rain And Mists20160823

    Donald Macleod explores the artistic results of Mendelssohn's visit to Scotland, including the Hebrides Overture and a sketch of the Falls at Dunkeld.

    Few of us can readily lay claim to the descriptions polymath and polyglot. Felix Mendelssohn could. A child prodigy, likened by his contemporaries to Mozart, he was an accomplished composer, performer, conductor and musicologist. Beyond music, Mendelssohn was extremely knowledgeable about poetry, classical studies, theology, languages, painting and drawing. Indeed, he enjoyed art so much he continued to produce sketches, drawings and paintings as a pastime almost to the very end of his life. While he died aged only 38 in 1847, in addition to manuscripts, a considerable collection of his artwork has been preserved.

    The biggest collection of Mendelssohn's biographical archive resides in the University of Oxford's Bodleian Libraries. This week, with Mendelssohn expert Peter Ward Jones as his guide, Donald Macleod opens up Mendelssohn's sketchbooks to find out what captured the composer's imagination alongside music.

    Mendelssohn's 1829 tour of Scotland is recorded in a series of memorable sketches. The weather was particularly bad, so much so that he developed a different pencil technique in his attempts to capture the cloudy skies and swirling mists. But his visit to Fingal's cave is preserved only in music. The crossing was so rough, and he was so sea-sick, he was unable to produce a sketch.

    You can see sketches and drawings featured in this week's programme on the Radio 3 website.

    String Quartet in E flat major Op 12 (Canzonetta: Allegro)

    Emerson Quartet

    Hebrides Overture

    City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra

    Edward Gardner, conductor

    Scottish lieder

    Hannah Morrison, soprano

    James Rutherford, baritone

    Eugene Asti, piano

    Fantasy for piano in F sharp minor

    Howard Shelley, piano

    Reformation Symphony (1st movement)

    London Symphony Orchestra

    John Eliot Gardiner, conductor.

    021829 - Rain And Mists2016082320171003

    Donald Macleod explores the artistic results of Mendelssohn's visit to Scotland.

    Donald Macleod explores the artistic results of Mendelssohn's visit to Scotland, including the Hebrides Overture and a sketch of the Falls at Dunkeld.
    Few of us can readily lay claim to the descriptions polymath and polyglot. Felix Mendelssohn could. A child prodigy, likened by his contemporaries to Mozart, he was an accomplished composer, performer, conductor and musicologist. Beyond music, Mendelssohn was extremely knowledgeable about poetry, classical studies, theology, languages, painting and drawing. Indeed, he enjoyed art so much he continued to produce sketches, drawings and paintings as a pastime almost to the very end of his life. While he died aged only 38 in 1847, in addition to manuscripts, a considerable collection of his artwork has been preserved.

    The biggest collection of Mendelssohn's biographical archive resides in the University of Oxford's Bodleian Libraries. This week, with Mendelssohn expert Peter Ward Jones as his guide, Donald Macleod opens up Mendelssohn's sketchbooks to find out what captured the composer's imagination alongside music.

    Mendelssohn's 1829 tour of Scotland is recorded in a series of memorable sketches. The weather was particularly bad, so much so that he developed a different pencil technique in his attempts to capture the cloudy skies and swirling mists. But his visit to Fingal's cave is preserved only in music. The crossing was so rough, and he was so sea-sick, he was unable to produce a sketch.

    You can see sketches and drawings featured in this week's programme on the Radio 3 website.

    String Quartet in E flat major Op 12 (Canzonetta: Allegro)
    Emerson Quartet

    Hebrides Overture
    City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra
    Edward Gardner, conductor

    Scottish Songs
    Hannah Morrison, soprano
    James Rutherford, baritone
    Eugene Asti, piano

    Fantasy for piano in F sharp minor
    Howard Shelley, piano

    Reformation Symphony (1st movement)
    London Symphony Orchestra
    John Eliot Gardiner, conductor.

    Donald Macleod explores the artistic results of Mendelssohn's visit to Scotland, including the Hebrides Overture and a sketch of the Falls at Dunkeld.

    Few of us can readily lay claim to the descriptions polymath and polyglot. Felix Mendelssohn could. A child prodigy, likened by his contemporaries to Mozart, he was an accomplished composer, performer, conductor and musicologist. Beyond music, Mendelssohn was extremely knowledgeable about poetry, classical studies, theology, languages, painting and drawing. Indeed, he enjoyed art so much he continued to produce sketches, drawings and paintings as a pastime almost to the very end of his life. While he died aged only 38 in 1847, in addition to manuscripts, a considerable collection of his artwork has been preserved.

    The biggest collection of Mendelssohn's biographical archive resides in the University of Oxford's Bodleian Libraries. This week, with Mendelssohn expert Peter Ward Jones as his guide, Donald Macleod opens up Mendelssohn's sketchbooks to find out what captured the composer's imagination alongside music.

    Mendelssohn's 1829 tour of Scotland is recorded in a series of memorable sketches. The weather was particularly bad, so much so that he developed a different pencil technique in his attempts to capture the cloudy skies and swirling mists. But his visit to Fingal's cave is preserved only in music. The crossing was so rough, and he was so sea-sick, he was unable to produce a sketch.

    You can see sketches and drawings featured in this week's programme on the Radio 3 website.

    String Quartet in E flat major Op 12 (Canzonetta: Allegro)

    Emerson Quartet

    Hebrides Overture

    City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra

    Edward Gardner, conductor

    Scottish lieder

    Hannah Morrison, soprano

    James Rutherford, baritone

    Eugene Asti, piano

    Fantasy for piano in F sharp minor

    Howard Shelley, piano

    Reformation Symphony (1st movement)

    London Symphony Orchestra

    John Eliot Gardiner, conductor.

    021829 - Rain And Mists20171003

    Donald Macleod explores the artistic results of Mendelssohn's visit to Scotland.

    Donald Macleod explores the artistic results of Mendelssohn's visit to Scotland, including the Hebrides Overture and a sketch of the Falls at Dunkeld.
    Few of us can readily lay claim to the descriptions polymath and polyglot. Felix Mendelssohn could. A child prodigy, likened by his contemporaries to Mozart, he was an accomplished composer, performer, conductor and musicologist. Beyond music, Mendelssohn was extremely knowledgeable about poetry, classical studies, theology, languages, painting and drawing. Indeed, he enjoyed art so much he continued to produce sketches, drawings and paintings as a pastime almost to the very end of his life. While he died aged only 38 in 1847, in addition to manuscripts, a considerable collection of his artwork has been preserved.

    The biggest collection of Mendelssohn's biographical archive resides in the University of Oxford's Bodleian Libraries. This week, with Mendelssohn expert Peter Ward Jones as his guide, Donald Macleod opens up Mendelssohn's sketchbooks to find out what captured the composer's imagination alongside music.

    Mendelssohn's 1829 tour of Scotland is recorded in a series of memorable sketches. The weather was particularly bad, so much so that he developed a different pencil technique in his attempts to capture the cloudy skies and swirling mists. But his visit to Fingal's cave is preserved only in music. The crossing was so rough, and he was so sea-sick, he was unable to produce a sketch.

    You can see sketches and drawings featured in this week's programme on the Radio 3 website.

    String Quartet in E flat major Op 12 (Canzonetta: Allegro)
    Emerson Quartet

    Hebrides Overture
    City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra
    Edward Gardner, conductor

    Scottish Songs
    Hannah Morrison, soprano
    James Rutherford, baritone
    Eugene Asti, piano

    Fantasy for piano in F sharp minor
    Howard Shelley, piano

    Reformation Symphony (1st movement)
    London Symphony Orchestra
    John Eliot Gardiner, conductor.

    02Siblings And Songs20090127

    In the 1820s, the Mendelssohn household was a hive of conversational, intellectual and creative activity.

    Felix and his siblings, Fanny, Rebecka and Paul, shared a happy, magical childhood.

    Donald Macleod looks at the impact this closeness had on Felix Mendelssohn's compositions.

    Part of Radio 3's Composers of the Year 2009 season.

    Overture (A Midsummer Night's Dream)

  • Daniel Barenboim (piano)
  • Steven Isserlis (cello)
  • barbara bonney (soprano)
  • cd1 t 3 and 9: cd2 t6 and 10

    cello sonata no 2

  • cd1 t15-18.

    Donald Macleod on the impact mendelssohn's closeness to his family had on his compositions

  • cd1 t18

    songs without words (excerpts)

  • cd1 t1

    fanny mendelssohn: when i look into your eyes

  • cd1 t5

    neue liebe/new love

  • deutsche grammophon 2531260
  • eugene asti (piano)
  • frans bruggen (director)
  • geoffrey parsons (piano)
  • glossa gcd921101
  • hyperion cda67388
  • melvyn tan (fortepiano)
  • orchestra of the eighteenth century
  • rca 09026625532
  • sarah connolly (mezzo-soprano)
  • sophie daneman (soprano)
  • teldec 2292449462

  • 02Siblings And Songs *20090127

    In the 1820s, the Mendelssohn household was a hive of conversational, intellectual and creative activity.

    Felix and his siblings, Fanny, Rebecka and Paul, shared a happy, magical childhood.

    Donald Macleod looks at the impact this closeness had on Felix Mendelssohn's compositions.

    Part of Radio 3's Composers of the Year 2009 season.

    Overture (A Midsummer Night's Dream)

  • Daniel Barenboim (piano)
  • Steven Isserlis (cello)
  • barbara bonney (soprano)
  • cd1 t 3 and 9: cd2 t6 and 10

    cello sonata no 2

  • cd1 t15-18.

    Donald Macleod on the impact mendelssohn's closeness to his family had on his compositions

  • cd1 t18

    songs without words (excerpts)

  • cd1 t1

    fanny mendelssohn: when i look into your eyes

  • cd1 t5

    neue liebe/new love

  • deutsche grammophon 2531260
  • eugene asti (piano)
  • frans bruggen (director)
  • geoffrey parsons (piano)
  • glossa gcd921101
  • hyperion cda67388
  • melvyn tan (fortepiano)
  • orchestra of the eighteenth century
  • rca 09026625532
  • sarah connolly (mezzo-soprano)
  • sophie daneman (soprano)
  • teldec 2292449462

  • 02The Musical Mendelssohns2014031120150609 (R3)

    Donald Macleod discusses the Mendelssohn family's extensive music-making.

    Donald Macleod marvels over the scale of the Mendelssohn family's music-making.

    Felix Mendelssohn had a remarkable, if brief career, cut short at the age of just 38 in 1847. He was born into an exceptional family. His grandfather Moses was a much respected Jewish philosopher, while his father Abraham, a wealthy Jewish banker and his mother Lea, a cultivated, musical woman had the standing and means to provide their four children with every opportunity Berlin society could offer. Only a handful of composers can match Mendelssohn's precocious talent. A child prodigy, famously likened by his friend Robert Schumann to Mozart, Felix's public career began at the age of 9. Between the ages of 11 and 15, he wrote 13 strings symphonies, 5 concertos, 4 operas, chamber music, piano and organ pieces, solo songs and choral pieces. Across the week Donald explores the musical treasures inspired by these formative years.

    Today, Donald Macleod examines the rich cultural surroundings in which Felix Mendelssohn grew up. Beginning around 1821, the family mounted "Sunday musicales" in their substantial home. At these concerts, Felix and elder sister Fanny were able to present their latest compositions to the movers and shakers of Berlin society.

    Variations concertantes, Op.17

    Steven Isserlis (cello)

    Melvyn Tan (fortepiano)

    Concerto in A minor for Piano and String Orchestra, 1st movement

    Ronald Brautigam (piano)

    Amsterdam Sinfonietta

    Lev Markiz (conductor)

    Octet, First movement: Allegro moderato, ma con fuoco

    Nash Ensemble

    Overture to A Midsummer Night's Dream

    Orchestre des Champs Elysées

    Philippe Herreweghe (director).

    Donald Macleod discusses the Mendelssohn family's extensive music-making.

    Donald Macleod marvels over the scale of the Mendelssohn family's music-making.

    Felix Mendelssohn had a remarkable, if brief career, cut short at the age of just 38 in 1847. He was born into an exceptional family. His grandfather Moses was a much respected Jewish philosopher, while his father Abraham, a wealthy Jewish banker and his mother Lea, a cultivated, musical woman had the standing and means to provide their four children with every opportunity Berlin society could offer. Only a handful of composers can match Mendelssohn's precocious talent. A child prodigy, famously likened by his friend Robert Schumann to Mozart, Felix's public career began at the age of 9. Between the ages of 11 and 15, he wrote 13 strings symphonies, 5 concertos, 4 operas, chamber music, piano and organ pieces, solo songs and choral pieces. Across the week Donald explores the musical treasures inspired by these formative years.

    Today, Donald Macleod examines the rich cultural surroundings in which Felix Mendelssohn grew up. Beginning around 1821, the family mounted "Sunday musicales" in their substantial home. At these concerts, Felix and elder sister Fanny were able to present their latest compositions to the movers and shakers of Berlin society.

    02The Musical Mendelssohns2014031120150609 (R3)

    Donald Macleod marvels over the scale of the Mendelssohn family's music-making.

    Felix Mendelssohn had a remarkable, if brief career, cut short at the age of just 38 in 1847. He was born into an exceptional family. His grandfather Moses was a much respected Jewish philosopher, while his father Abraham, a wealthy Jewish banker and his mother Lea, a cultivated, musical woman had the standing and means to provide their four children with every opportunity Berlin society could offer. Only a handful of composers can match Mendelssohn's precocious talent. A child prodigy, famously likened by his friend Robert Schumann to Mozart, Felix's public career began at the age of 9. Between the ages of 11 and 15, he wrote 13 strings symphonies, 5 concertos, 4 operas, chamber music, piano and organ pieces, solo songs and choral pieces. Across the week Donald explores the musical treasures inspired by these formative years.

    Today, Donald Macleod examines the rich cultural surroundings in which Felix Mendelssohn grew up. Beginning around 1821, the family mounted "Sunday musicales" in their substantial home. At these concerts, Felix and elder sister Fanny were able to present their latest compositions to the movers and shakers of Berlin society.

    Variations concertantes, Op.17

    Steven Isserlis (cello)

    Melvyn Tan (fortepiano)

    Concerto in A minor for Piano and String Orchestra, 1st movement

    Ronald Brautigam (piano)

    Amsterdam Sinfonietta

    Lev Markiz (conductor)

    Octet, First movement: Allegro moderato, ma con fuoco

    Nash Ensemble

    Overture to A Midsummer Night's Dream

    Orchestre des Champs Elysées

    Philippe Herreweghe (director).

    Donald Macleod discusses the Mendelssohn family's extensive music-making.

    032011042020121107

    Donald Macleod continues a focus on Mendelssohn's last seven years with a look at 1844.

    Donald Macleod continues his exploration of Mendelssohn's last seven years with a look at the year 1844. Towards the end of the previous year the composer had finally, after months of wrangling, taken up his new appointment as Director of Sacred Music in Berlin. In the event, he found it impossible to work with the court chaplain, Friedrich Adolf Strauss, and ended up providing music for just four services - Christmas, New Year's Day, Passion Sunday and Good Friday. It doubtless came as a great relief to him to return, in the spring, to a city he had first visited in 1829 - London, or "that smoky nest", as he fondly called it. He had agreed to help out the Philharmonic Society, whose finances were in a bad way, by conducting a few concerts for them. The headache induced by a seven-hour rehearsal meant that he had to turn down an invitation to visit Charles Babbage of Difference Engine fame, but Mendelssohn did get to meet Charles Dickens and William Makepeace Thackeray, who pronounced his face: "the most beautiful...I ever saw, like what I imagine our Saviour's to have been..." His stay was crowned by an audience with Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. It was also during this visit that he composed one of his best-known works - Hear My Prayer, whose second section opens with the line that has given the piece its popular name: 'O for the wings of a dove'. Another of Mendelssohn's most popular creations dates from autumn of the same year - the Violin Concerto, written for his old friend Ferdinand David. David played the première on his 1742 Guarneri del Gesu violin, which later passed to Jascha Heifetz, who plays it on the recording you'll hear in the programme.

    Donald Macleod continues his exploration of Mendelssohn's last seven years with a look at the year 1844.

    Towards the end of the previous year the composer had finally, after months of wrangling, taken up his new appointment as Director of Sacred Music in Berlin.

    In the event, he found it impossible to work with the court chaplain, Friedrich Adolf Strauss, and ended up providing music for just four services - Christmas, New Year's Day, Passion Sunday and Good Friday.

    It doubtless came as a great relief to him to return, in the spring, to a city he had first visited in 1829 - London, or "that smoky nest", as he fondly called it.

    He had agreed to help out the Philharmonic Society, whose finances were in a bad way, by conducting a few concerts for them.

    The headache induced by a seven-hour rehearsal meant that he had to turn down an invitation to visit Charles Babbage of Difference Engine fame, but Mendelssohn did get to meet Charles Dickens and William Makepeace Thackeray, who pronounced his face: "the most beautiful...I ever saw, like what I imagine our Saviour's to have been..." His stay was crowned by an audience with Queen Victoria and Prince Albert.

    It was also during this visit that he composed one of his best-known works - Hear My Prayer, whose second section opens with the line that has given the piece its popular name: 'O for the wings of a dove'.

    Another of Mendelssohn's most popular creations dates from autumn of the same year - the Violin Concerto, written for his old friend Ferdinand David.

    David played the première on his 1742 Guarneri del Gesu violin, which later passed to Jascha Heifetz, who plays it on the recording you'll hear in the programme.

    032011042020121107

    Donald Macleod continues his exploration of Mendelssohn's last seven years with a look at the year 1844. Towards the end of the previous year the composer had finally, after months of wrangling, taken up his new appointment as Director of Sacred Music in Berlin. In the event, he found it impossible to work with the court chaplain, Friedrich Adolf Strauss, and ended up providing music for just four services - Christmas, New Year's Day, Passion Sunday and Good Friday. It doubtless came as a great relief to him to return, in the spring, to a city he had first visited in 1829 - London, or "that smoky nest", as he fondly called it. He had agreed to help out the Philharmonic Society, whose finances were in a bad way, by conducting a few concerts for them. The headache induced by a seven-hour rehearsal meant that he had to turn down an invitation to visit Charles Babbage of Difference Engine fame, but Mendelssohn did get to meet Charles Dickens and William Makepeace Thackeray, who pronounced his face: "the most beautiful...I ever saw, like what I imagine our Saviour's to have been..." His stay was crowned by an audience with Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. It was also during this visit that he composed one of his best-known works - Hear My Prayer, whose second section opens with the line that has given the piece its popular name: 'O for the wings of a dove'. Another of Mendelssohn's most popular creations dates from autumn of the same year - the Violin Concerto, written for his old friend Ferdinand David. David played the première on his 1742 Guarneri del Gesu violin, which later passed to Jascha Heifetz, who plays it on the recording you'll hear in the programme.

    Donald Macleod continues a focus on Mendelssohn's last seven years with a look at 1844.

    Donald Macleod continues his exploration of Mendelssohn's last seven years with a look at the year 1844.

    Towards the end of the previous year the composer had finally, after months of wrangling, taken up his new appointment as Director of Sacred Music in Berlin.

    In the event, he found it impossible to work with the court chaplain, Friedrich Adolf Strauss, and ended up providing music for just four services - Christmas, New Year's Day, Passion Sunday and Good Friday.

    It doubtless came as a great relief to him to return, in the spring, to a city he had first visited in 1829 - London, or "that smoky nest", as he fondly called it.

    He had agreed to help out the Philharmonic Society, whose finances were in a bad way, by conducting a few concerts for them.

    The headache induced by a seven-hour rehearsal meant that he had to turn down an invitation to visit Charles Babbage of Difference Engine fame, but Mendelssohn did get to meet Charles Dickens and William Makepeace Thackeray, who pronounced his face: "the most beautiful...I ever saw, like what I imagine our Saviour's to have been..." His stay was crowned by an audience with Queen Victoria and Prince Albert.

    It was also during this visit that he composed one of his best-known works - Hear My Prayer, whose second section opens with the line that has given the piece its popular name: 'O for the wings of a dove'.

    Another of Mendelssohn's most popular creations dates from autumn of the same year - the Violin Concerto, written for his old friend Ferdinand David.

    David played the première on his 1742 Guarneri del Gesu violin, which later passed to Jascha Heifetz, who plays it on the recording you'll hear in the programme.

    03The Composer's Voice: Private Passions20090128

    Donald Macleod considers how Mendelssohn took inspiration for his music from women, wine and the wild wonder of Fingal's Cave.

    With a strong romantic spirit, he composed works of great passion, often in the intimate world of chamber music.

    Part of Radio 3's Composers of the Year 2009 season.

    Rondo Capriccioso, Op 14

  • Murray Perahia (piano)
  • cbs cd42401
  • cd1 t 1-4.

    Donald Macleod explores how mendelssohn took inspiration for his music from women and wine

  • cd1 t 9 and 21

    piano trio no 1 in d minor, op 49

  • cd1 t1

    ersatz fur unbestand (two drinking songs)

  • cd1 t9

    hebrides overture, op 26

  • cpo 999 091-2
  • die singphoniker
  • eugene istomin (piano)
  • isaac stern (violin)
  • joseph swensen (conductor)
  • leonard rose (cello)
  • linn ckd205
  • lob der trunkenheit
  • scottish chamber orchestra
  • sony classical smk64519

  • 03The Composer's Voice: Private Passions *20090128
    03The Land Of Art20160824

    The sights and sounds of Italy stimulate Mendelssohn's creative mind. Including part of the Italian Symphony and Surrexit pastor bonus.

    Few of us can readily lay claim to the descriptions polymath and polyglot. Felix Mendelssohn could. A child prodigy, likened by his contemporaries to Mozart, he was an accomplished composer, performer, conductor and musicologist. Beyond music, Mendelssohn was extremely knowledgeable about poetry, classical studies, theology, languages, painting and drawing. Indeed, he enjoyed art so much he continued to produce sketches, drawings and paintings as a pastime almost to the very end of his life. While he died aged only 38 in 1847, in addition to manuscripts, a considerable collection of his artwork has been preserved.

    The biggest collection of Mendelssohn's biographical archive resides in the University of Oxford's Bodleian Libraries. This week, with Mendelssohn expert Peter Ward Jones as his guide, Donald Macleod opens up Mendelssohn's sketchbooks to find out what captured the composer's imagination alongside music.

    Today, we join Mendelssohn in 1830-31 on the Italian leg of his Grand Tour. His itinerary included plenty of time for a romantic encounter, and soaking up art treasures and sketching, so much so that he seems to have done rather more drawing and painting than composing. Presented by Donald Macleod.

    You can see sketches and drawings featured in this week's programme on the Radio 3 website.

    Rondo capriccioso, Op 14

    Howard Shelley, piano

    Ferne, Op 9, No 9

    Sophie Daneman, soprano

    Eugene Asti, piano

    Surrexit pastor bonus, Op 39

    Stuttgart Chamber Choir

    Frieder Bernius, conductor

    Sontraud Engels-Benz, organ

    Piano Concerto in G minor, Op 25

    Ronald Brautigam, piano

    Amsterdam Sinfonietta

    Lev Markiz, conductor.

    03The Land Of Art2016082420171004

    How the sights and sounds of Italy stimulated Mendelssohn's creative mind.

    The sights and sounds of Italy stimulate Mendelssohn's creative mind. Including part of the Italian Symphony and Surrexit pastor bonus.

    Few of us can readily lay claim to the descriptions polymath and polyglot. Felix Mendelssohn could. A child prodigy, likened by his contemporaries to Mozart, he was an accomplished composer, performer, conductor and musicologist. Beyond music, Mendelssohn was extremely knowledgeable about poetry, classical studies, theology, languages, painting and drawing. Indeed, he enjoyed art so much he continued to produce sketches, drawings and paintings as a pastime almost to the very end of his life. While he died aged only 38 in 1847, in addition to manuscripts, a considerable collection of his artwork has been preserved.

    The biggest collection of Mendelssohn's biographical archive resides in the University of Oxford's Bodleian Libraries. This week, with Mendelssohn expert Peter Ward Jones as his guide, Donald Macleod opens up Mendelssohn's sketchbooks to find out what captured the composer's imagination alongside music.

    Today, we join Mendelssohn in 1830-31 on the Italian leg of his Grand Tour. His itinerary included plenty of time for a romantic encounter, and soaking up art treasures and sketching, so much so that he seems to have done rather more drawing and painting than composing. Presented by Donald Macleod.

    You can see sketches and drawings featured in this week's programme on the Radio 3 website.

    Rondo capriccioso, Op 14
    Howard Shelley, piano

    Ferne, Op 9, No 9
    Sophie Daneman, soprano
    Eugene Asti, piano

    Surrexit pastor bonus, Op 39
    Stuttgart Chamber Choir
    Frieder Bernius, conductor
    Sontraud Engels-Benz, organ

    Piano Concerto in G minor, Op 25
    Ronald Brautigam, piano
    Amsterdam Sinfonietta
    Lev Markiz, conductor.

    The sights and sounds of Italy stimulate Mendelssohn's creative mind. Including part of the Italian Symphony and Surrexit pastor bonus.

    Few of us can readily lay claim to the descriptions polymath and polyglot. Felix Mendelssohn could. A child prodigy, likened by his contemporaries to Mozart, he was an accomplished composer, performer, conductor and musicologist. Beyond music, Mendelssohn was extremely knowledgeable about poetry, classical studies, theology, languages, painting and drawing. Indeed, he enjoyed art so much he continued to produce sketches, drawings and paintings as a pastime almost to the very end of his life. While he died aged only 38 in 1847, in addition to manuscripts, a considerable collection of his artwork has been preserved.

    The biggest collection of Mendelssohn's biographical archive resides in the University of Oxford's Bodleian Libraries. This week, with Mendelssohn expert Peter Ward Jones as his guide, Donald Macleod opens up Mendelssohn's sketchbooks to find out what captured the composer's imagination alongside music.

    Today, we join Mendelssohn in 1830-31 on the Italian leg of his Grand Tour. His itinerary included plenty of time for a romantic encounter, and soaking up art treasures and sketching, so much so that he seems to have done rather more drawing and painting than composing. Presented by Donald Macleod.

    You can see sketches and drawings featured in this week's programme on the Radio 3 website.

    Rondo capriccioso, Op 14

    Howard Shelley, piano

    Ferne, Op 9, No 9

    Sophie Daneman, soprano

    Eugene Asti, piano

    Surrexit pastor bonus, Op 39

    Stuttgart Chamber Choir

    Frieder Bernius, conductor

    Sontraud Engels-Benz, organ

    Piano Concerto in G minor, Op 25

    Ronald Brautigam, piano

    Amsterdam Sinfonietta

    Lev Markiz, conductor.

    03The Land Of Art20171004

    How the sights and sounds of Italy stimulated Mendelssohn's creative mind.

    The sights and sounds of Italy stimulate Mendelssohn's creative mind. Including part of the Italian Symphony and Surrexit pastor bonus.

    Few of us can readily lay claim to the descriptions polymath and polyglot. Felix Mendelssohn could. A child prodigy, likened by his contemporaries to Mozart, he was an accomplished composer, performer, conductor and musicologist. Beyond music, Mendelssohn was extremely knowledgeable about poetry, classical studies, theology, languages, painting and drawing. Indeed, he enjoyed art so much he continued to produce sketches, drawings and paintings as a pastime almost to the very end of his life. While he died aged only 38 in 1847, in addition to manuscripts, a considerable collection of his artwork has been preserved.

    The biggest collection of Mendelssohn's biographical archive resides in the University of Oxford's Bodleian Libraries. This week, with Mendelssohn expert Peter Ward Jones as his guide, Donald Macleod opens up Mendelssohn's sketchbooks to find out what captured the composer's imagination alongside music.

    Today, we join Mendelssohn in 1830-31 on the Italian leg of his Grand Tour. His itinerary included plenty of time for a romantic encounter, and soaking up art treasures and sketching, so much so that he seems to have done rather more drawing and painting than composing. Presented by Donald Macleod.

    You can see sketches and drawings featured in this week's programme on the Radio 3 website.

    Rondo capriccioso, Op 14
    Howard Shelley, piano

    Ferne, Op 9 No 9
    Sophie Daneman, soprano
    Eugene Asti, piano

    Surrexit pastor bonus, Op 39
    Stuttgart Chamber Choir
    Frieder Bernius, conductor
    Sontraud Engels-Benz, organ

    Piano Concerto in G minor, Op 25
    Ronald Brautigam, piano
    Amsterdam Sinfonietta
    Lev Markiz, conductor.

    How the sights and sounds of Italy stimulated Mendelssohn's creative mind.

    The sights and sounds of Italy stimulate Mendelssohn's creative mind. Including part of the Italian Symphony and Surrexit pastor bonus.

    Few of us can readily lay claim to the descriptions polymath and polyglot. Felix Mendelssohn could. A child prodigy, likened by his contemporaries to Mozart, he was an accomplished composer, performer, conductor and musicologist. Beyond music, Mendelssohn was extremely knowledgeable about poetry, classical studies, theology, languages, painting and drawing. Indeed, he enjoyed art so much he continued to produce sketches, drawings and paintings as a pastime almost to the very end of his life. While he died aged only 38 in 1847, in addition to manuscripts, a considerable collection of his artwork has been preserved.

    The biggest collection of Mendelssohn's biographical archive resides in the University of Oxford's Bodleian Libraries. This week, with Mendelssohn expert Peter Ward Jones as his guide, Donald Macleod opens up Mendelssohn's sketchbooks to find out what captured the composer's imagination alongside music.

    Today, we join Mendelssohn in 1830-31 on the Italian leg of his Grand Tour. His itinerary included plenty of time for a romantic encounter, and soaking up art treasures and sketching, so much so that he seems to have done rather more drawing and painting than composing. Presented by Donald Macleod.

    You can see sketches and drawings featured in this week's programme on the Radio 3 website.

    Rondo capriccioso, Op 14
    Howard Shelley, piano

    Ferne, Op 9, No 9
    Sophie Daneman, soprano
    Eugene Asti, piano

    Surrexit pastor bonus, Op 39
    Stuttgart Chamber Choir
    Frieder Bernius, conductor
    Sontraud Engels-Benz, organ

    Piano Concerto in G minor, Op 25
    Ronald Brautigam, piano
    Amsterdam Sinfonietta
    Lev Markiz, conductor.

    How the sights and sounds of Italy stimulated Mendelssohn's creative mind.

    The sights and sounds of Italy stimulate Mendelssohn's creative mind. Including part of the Italian Symphony and Surrexit pastor bonus.

    Few of us can readily lay claim to the descriptions polymath and polyglot. Felix Mendelssohn could. A child prodigy, likened by his contemporaries to Mozart, he was an accomplished composer, performer, conductor and musicologist. Beyond music, Mendelssohn was extremely knowledgeable about poetry, classical studies, theology, languages, painting and drawing. Indeed, he enjoyed art so much he continued to produce sketches, drawings and paintings as a pastime almost to the very end of his life. While he died aged only 38 in 1847, in addition to manuscripts, a considerable collection of his artwork has been preserved.

    The biggest collection of Mendelssohn's biographical archive resides in the University of Oxford's Bodleian Libraries. This week, with Mendelssohn expert Peter Ward Jones as his guide, Donald Macleod opens up Mendelssohn's sketchbooks to find out what captured the composer's imagination alongside music.

    Today, we join Mendelssohn in 1830-31 on the Italian leg of his Grand Tour. His itinerary included plenty of time for a romantic encounter, and soaking up art treasures and sketching, so much so that he seems to have done rather more drawing and painting than composing. Presented by Donald Macleod.

    You can see sketches and drawings featured in this week's programme on the Radio 3 website.

    Rondo capriccioso, Op 14
    Howard Shelley, piano

    Ferne, Op 9 No 9
    Sophie Daneman, soprano
    Eugene Asti, piano

    Surrexit pastor bonus, Op 39
    Stuttgart Chamber Choir
    Frieder Bernius, conductor
    Sontraud Engels-Benz, organ

    Piano Concerto in G minor, Op 25
    Ronald Brautigam, piano
    Amsterdam Sinfonietta
    Lev Markiz, conductor.

    03The Mozart Of The 19th Century2014031220150610 (R3)

    Donald Macleod on the influence Mendelssohn's education had on his outlook and music.

    Felix Mendelssohn had a remarkable, if brief career, cut short at the age of just 38 in 1847. He was born into an exceptional family. His grandfather Moses was a much respected Jewish philosopher, while his father Abraham, a wealthy Jewish banker and his mother Lea, a cultivated, musical woman had the standing and means to provide their four children with every opportunity Berlin society could offer. Only a handful of composers can match Mendelssohn's precocious talent. A child prodigy, famously likened by his friend Robert Schumann to Mozart, Felix's public career began at the age of 9. Between the ages of 11 and 15, he wrote 13 strings symphonies, 5 concertos, 4 operas, chamber music, piano and organ pieces, solo songs and choral pieces. Across the week Donald explores the musical treasures inspired by these formative years.

    Mendelssohn's education was nothing if not thorough. From the age of nine, a long list of tutors arrived at the family home to teach a comprehensive list of subjects ranging from Latin to geography but perhaps the man who was to have the most profound influence over him in his early years was Carl Zelter, the director of Singakademie. Today Donald Macleod looks at Mendelssohn's early training.

    "Herr, Der Du Bist Der Gott" (St. Paul, Part 1)

    Choruses of the Chapelle Royale and Collegium Vocale

    Champs-Élysées Orchestra

    Philippe Herreweghe (director)

    String Symphony no.12 (1st movement: Fuga. Grave-Allegro)

    London Festival Orchestra

    Ross Pople (conductor)

    Hexenlied, Op.8 no. 8

    Margaret Price (soprano)

    Graham Johnson (piano)

    Rondo Brillant, Op.29

    Stephen Hough (piano)

    Meerestille und glückliche Fahrt, Op.27

    London Symphony Orchestra

    Claudio Abbado (conductor)

    Gott, sei mir gnädig nach deiner Güte

    "Ich Danke Dir, Herr, Mein Gott" (St. Paul, Part 1)

    Matthias Goerne (bass)

    Donald Macleod on the influence Mendelssohn's education had on his outlook and music.

    Felix Mendelssohn had a remarkable, if brief career, cut short at the age of just 38 in 1847. He was born into an exceptional family. His grandfather Moses was a much respected Jewish philosopher, while his father Abraham, a wealthy Jewish banker and his mother Lea, a cultivated, musical woman had the standing and means to provide their four children with every opportunity Berlin society could offer. Only a handful of composers can match Mendelssohn's precocious talent. A child prodigy, famously likened by his friend Robert Schumann to Mozart, Felix's public career began at the age of 9. Between the ages of 11 and 15, he wrote 13 strings symphonies, 5 concertos, 4 operas, chamber music, piano and organ pieces, solo songs and choral pieces. Across the week Donald explores the musical treasures inspired by these formative years.

    Mendelssohn's education was nothing if not thorough. From the age of nine, a long list of tutors arrived at the family home to teach a comprehensive list of subjects ranging from Latin to geography but perhaps the man was to have the most profound influence over him in his early years was Carl Zelter, the director of Singakademie. Today Donald Macleod looks at Mendelssohn's early training.

    03The Mozart Of The 19th Century2014031220150610 (R3)

    Felix Mendelssohn had a remarkable, if brief career, cut short at the age of just 38 in 1847. He was born into an exceptional family. His grandfather Moses was a much respected Jewish philosopher, while his father Abraham, a wealthy Jewish banker and his mother Lea, a cultivated, musical woman had the standing and means to provide their four children with every opportunity Berlin society could offer. Only a handful of composers can match Mendelssohn's precocious talent. A child prodigy, famously likened by his friend Robert Schumann to Mozart, Felix's public career began at the age of 9. Between the ages of 11 and 15, he wrote 13 strings symphonies, 5 concertos, 4 operas, chamber music, piano and organ pieces, solo songs and choral pieces. Across the week Donald explores the musical treasures inspired by these formative years.

    Mendelssohn's education was nothing if not thorough. From the age of nine, a long list of tutors arrived at the family home to teach a comprehensive list of subjects ranging from Latin to geography but perhaps the man who was to have the most profound influence over him in his early years was Carl Zelter, the director of Singakademie. Today Donald Macleod looks at Mendelssohn's early training.

    "Herr, Der Du Bist Der Gott" (St. Paul, Part 1)

    Choruses of the Chapelle Royale and Collegium Vocale

    Champs-Élysées Orchestra

    Philippe Herreweghe (director)

    String Symphony no.12 (1st movement: Fuga. Grave-Allegro)

    London Festival Orchestra

    Ross Pople (conductor)

    Hexenlied, Op.8 no. 8

    Margaret Price (soprano)

    Graham Johnson (piano)

    Rondo Brillant, Op.29

    Stephen Hough (piano)

    Meerestille und glückliche Fahrt, Op.27

    London Symphony Orchestra

    Claudio Abbado (conductor)

    Gott, sei mir gnädig nach deiner Güte

    "Ich Danke Dir, Herr, Mein Gott" (St. Paul, Part 1)

    Matthias Goerne (bass)

    Mendelssohn's education was nothing if not thorough. From the age of nine, a long list of tutors arrived at the family home to teach a comprehensive list of subjects ranging from Latin to geography but perhaps the man was to have the most profound influence over him in his early years was Carl Zelter, the director of Singakademie. Today Donald Macleod looks at Mendelssohn's early training.

    Donald Macleod on the influence Mendelssohn's education had on his outlook and music.

    042011042120121108

    Donald Macleod explores Felix Mendelssohn's last seven years.

    Donald Macleod continues his exploration of Mendelssohn's last seven years. In October 1844, the composer took the bull by the horns in an audience with his royal employer Friedrich Wilhelm IV, the King of Prussia, and asked to be released from his service to the crown - a grand-sounding, but in practice rather vague position, which had been a source of immense frustration and disappointment to the composer. His request was granted - more or less. Mendelssohn would no longer be required to live in Berlin, and there'd be no fixed duties to perform; just the occasional royal commission. One such commission was to supply incidental music for a performance of Racine's play Athalie (as Donald suggests, the full-blooded choruses give tantalizing glimpses of the opera Mendelssohn might have composed, had he lived long enough). Early in 1845 came a request out of the blue from the other side of the world - the newly-created New York Philharmonic Society was inviting him to go to the United States to conduct a "Grand Musical Festival", with an orchestra of 250 and chorus of 500 at his disposal. Mendelssohn declined - he didn't feel his health would be up to such a long and arduous trip, and he told his brother Paul that undertaking such a venture would be "no more possible than a trip to the moon". Instead, he composed a set of six small but perfectly formed organ sonatas for the British publisher Charles Coventry, and worked on his highly virtuosic 2nd Piano Trio, written in Frankfurt during a freak flood of the River Main; perhaps that's reflected in the stormy opening of the trio's first movement!

    Donald Macleod continues his exploration of Mendelssohn's last seven years.

    In October 1844, the composer took the bull by the horns in an audience with his royal employer Friedrich Wilhelm IV, the King of Prussia, and asked to be released from his service to the crown - a grand-sounding, but in practice rather vague position, which had been a source of immense frustration and disappointment to the composer.

    His request was granted - more or less.

    Mendelssohn would no longer be required to live in Berlin, and there'd be no fixed duties to perform; just the occasional royal commission.

    One such commission was to supply incidental music for a performance of Racine's play Athalie (as Donald suggests, the full-blooded choruses give tantalizing glimpses of the opera Mendelssohn might have composed, had he lived long enough).

    Early in 1845 came a request out of the blue from the other side of the world - the newly-created New York Philharmonic Society was inviting him to go to the United States to conduct a "Grand Musical Festival", with an orchestra of 250 and chorus of 500 at his disposal.

    Mendelssohn declined - he didn't feel his health would be up to such a long and arduous trip, and he told his brother Paul that undertaking such a venture would be "no more possible than a trip to the moon".

    Instead, he composed a set of six small but perfectly formed organ sonatas for the British publisher Charles Coventry, and worked on his highly virtuosic 2nd Piano Trio, written in Frankfurt during a freak flood of the River Main; perhaps that's reflected in the stormy opening of the trio's first movement!

    042011042120121108

    Donald Macleod explores Felix Mendelssohn's last seven years.

    Donald Macleod continues his exploration of Mendelssohn's last seven years. In October 1844, the composer took the bull by the horns in an audience with his royal employer Friedrich Wilhelm IV, the King of Prussia, and asked to be released from his service to the crown - a grand-sounding, but in practice rather vague position, which had been a source of immense frustration and disappointment to the composer. His request was granted - more or less. Mendelssohn would no longer be required to live in Berlin, and there'd be no fixed duties to perform; just the occasional royal commission. One such commission was to supply incidental music for a performance of Racine's play Athalie (as Donald suggests, the full-blooded choruses give tantalizing glimpses of the opera Mendelssohn might have composed, had he lived long enough). Early in 1845 came a request out of the blue from the other side of the world - the newly-created New York Philharmonic Society was inviting him to go to the United States to conduct a "Grand Musical Festival", with an orchestra of 250 and chorus of 500 at his disposal. Mendelssohn declined - he didn't feel his health would be up to such a long and arduous trip, and he told his brother Paul that undertaking such a venture would be "no more possible than a trip to the moon". Instead, he composed a set of six small but perfectly formed organ sonatas for the British publisher Charles Coventry, and worked on his highly virtuosic 2nd Piano Trio, written in Frankfurt during a freak flood of the River Main; perhaps that's reflected in the stormy opening of the trio's first movement!

    Donald Macleod continues his exploration of Mendelssohn's last seven years.

    In October 1844, the composer took the bull by the horns in an audience with his royal employer Friedrich Wilhelm IV, the King of Prussia, and asked to be released from his service to the crown - a grand-sounding, but in practice rather vague position, which had been a source of immense frustration and disappointment to the composer.

    His request was granted - more or less.

    Mendelssohn would no longer be required to live in Berlin, and there'd be no fixed duties to perform; just the occasional royal commission.

    One such commission was to supply incidental music for a performance of Racine's play Athalie (as Donald suggests, the full-blooded choruses give tantalizing glimpses of the opera Mendelssohn might have composed, had he lived long enough).

    Early in 1845 came a request out of the blue from the other side of the world - the newly-created New York Philharmonic Society was inviting him to go to the United States to conduct a "Grand Musical Festival", with an orchestra of 250 and chorus of 500 at his disposal.

    Mendelssohn declined - he didn't feel his health would be up to such a long and arduous trip, and he told his brother Paul that undertaking such a venture would be "no more possible than a trip to the moon".

    Instead, he composed a set of six small but perfectly formed organ sonatas for the British publisher Charles Coventry, and worked on his highly virtuosic 2nd Piano Trio, written in Frankfurt during a freak flood of the River Main; perhaps that's reflected in the stormy opening of the trio's first movement!

    04Revivals, Revisions And Religion20090129

    Throughout his life Mendelssohn championed the music of his predecessors, including a remarkable revival of Bach's St Matthew Passion in 1829.

    Donald Macleod investigates this driving force, as well as Mendelssohn's obsessive revisions of his own compositions.

    Part of Radio 3's Composers of the Year 2009 season.

    O Mensch, bewein dein Sunde gross (Bach: St Matthew Passion, arr.

    Mendelssohn)

  • benjamin frith (piano)
  • cd1 t 1 and 2

    symphony no 4, op 90 (italian - revised 1834 version with first movement from original version)

  • cd1 t 1,9,10,11

    thanks be to god! (elijah)

  • cd1 t22.

    Donald Macleod on mendelssohn's interest in bach's music and revisions of his own work

  • cd1 t24

    prelude and fugue in e minor, op 35

  • chorus musicus
  • christoph spering (conductor)
  • das neue orchester
  • david jones (chorus master)
  • decca 4556882
  • deutsche grammophon 4591562
  • edinburgh festival chorus
  • john eliot gardiner (conductor)
  • naxos 8.550939
  • opus 111
  • orchestra of the age of enlightenment
  • paul daniel (conductor)
  • vienna philharmonic orchestra

  • 04Revivals, Revisions And Religion *20090129

    Throughout his life Mendelssohn championed the music of his predecessors, including a remarkable revival of Bach's St Matthew Passion in 1829.

    Donald Macleod investigates this driving force, as well as Mendelssohn's obsessive revisions of his own compositions.

    Part of Radio 3's Composers of the Year 2009 season.

    O Mensch, bewein dein Sunde gross (Bach: St Matthew Passion, arr.

    Mendelssohn)

  • benjamin frith (piano)
  • cd1 t 1 and 2

    symphony no 4, op 90 (italian - revised 1834 version with first movement from original version)

  • cd1 t 1,9,10,11

    thanks be to god! (elijah)

  • cd1 t22.

    Donald Macleod on mendelssohn's interest in bach's music and revisions of his own work

  • cd1 t24

    prelude and fugue in e minor, op 35

  • chorus musicus
  • christoph spering (conductor)
  • das neue orchester
  • david jones (chorus master)
  • decca 4556882
  • deutsche grammophon 4591562
  • edinburgh festival chorus
  • john eliot gardiner (conductor)
  • naxos 8.550939
  • opus 111
  • orchestra of the age of enlightenment
  • paul daniel (conductor)
  • vienna philharmonic orchestra

  • 04The Land Where The Lemon Trees Grow2014031320150611 (R3)

    Donald Macleod explores the musical fruits of Mendelssohn's travels.

    Felix Mendelssohn had a remarkable, if brief career, cut short at the age of just 38 in 1847. He was born into an exceptional family. His grandfather Moses was a much respected Jewish philosopher, while his father Abraham, a wealthy Jewish banker and his mother Lea, a cultivated, musical woman had the standing and means to provide their four children with every opportunity Berlin society could offer. Only a handful of composers can match Mendelssohn's precocious talent. A child prodigy, famously likened by his friend Robert Schumann to Mozart, Felix's public career began at the age of 9. Between the ages of 11 and 15, he wrote 13 strings symphonies, 5 concertos, 4 operas, chamber music, piano and organ pieces, solo songs and choral pieces. Across the week Donald explores the musical treasures inspired by these formative years.

    Growing up in the nineteenth century, part of a young man's experience was an extensive period of travel. Having won over the great man of letters, Goethe, a few years earlier, armed with a reputation that ensured a warm welcome wherever he went, in 1829 Mendelssohn left his teenage years well and truly behind him. He spread his wings on a trip that would occupy him for the best part of three years. Wherever he went he collected impressions, among them the material for his so-called "Italian" symphony, which he said was going to be, "the jolliest piece I have ever done"! With Donald Macleod.

    Erster Verlust, op.99 no 1 (1841) (Goethe)

    Margaret Price (soprano)

    Graham Johnson (piano)

    Piano Concerto no.1 in G minor, op.25: Third movement, Presto-Molto Allegro e vivace

    Stephen Hough (piano)

    City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra

    Lawrence Foster (conductor)

    Symphony no.4 in A major, op.90

    Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra

    Andrew Litton (conductor)

    Die erste Walpurgisnacht, Op.60 (Kommt mit Zacken und mit Gabeln...Die Flamme reinigt sich vom Rauch)

    Matthias Hölle, Druid watchman (bass)

    Anton Scharinger, Priest (baritone)

    Deon van der Walt, Christian watchman (tenor)

    Bamberg Symphony Orchestra and Chorus

    Claus-Peter Flor (conductor).

    Donald Macleod explores the musical fruits of Mendelssohn's travels.

    Felix Mendelssohn had a remarkable, if brief career, cut short at the age of just 38 in 1847. He was born into an exceptional family. His grandfather Moses was a much respected Jewish philosopher, while his father Abraham, a wealthy Jewish banker and his mother Lea, a cultivated, musical woman had the standing and means to provide their four children with every opportunity Berlin society could offer. Only a handful of composers can match Mendelssohn's precocious talent. A child prodigy, famously likened by his friend Robert Schumann to Mozart, Felix's public career began at the age of 9. Between the ages of 11 and 15, he wrote 13 strings symphonies, 5 concertos, 4 operas, chamber music, piano and organ pieces, solo songs and choral pieces. Across the week Donald explores the musical treasures inspired by these formative years.

    Growing up in the nineteenth century, part of a young man's experience was an extensive period of travel. Having won over the great man of letters, Goethe, a few years earlier, armed with a reputation that ensured a warm welcome wherever he went, in 1829 Mendelssohn left his teenage years well and truly behind him. He spread his wings on a trip that would occupy him for the best part of three years. Wherever he went he collected impressions, among them the material for his so-called "Italian" symphony, which he said was going to be, "the jolliest piece I have ever done"! With Donald Macleod.

    04The Land Where The Lemon Trees Grow2014031320150611 (R3)

    Felix Mendelssohn had a remarkable, if brief career, cut short at the age of just 38 in 1847. He was born into an exceptional family. His grandfather Moses was a much respected Jewish philosopher, while his father Abraham, a wealthy Jewish banker and his mother Lea, a cultivated, musical woman had the standing and means to provide their four children with every opportunity Berlin society could offer. Only a handful of composers can match Mendelssohn's precocious talent. A child prodigy, famously likened by his friend Robert Schumann to Mozart, Felix's public career began at the age of 9. Between the ages of 11 and 15, he wrote 13 strings symphonies, 5 concertos, 4 operas, chamber music, piano and organ pieces, solo songs and choral pieces. Across the week Donald explores the musical treasures inspired by these formative years.

    Growing up in the nineteenth century, part of a young man's experience was an extensive period of travel. Having won over the great man of letters, Goethe, a few years earlier, armed with a reputation that ensured a warm welcome wherever he went, in 1829 Mendelssohn left his teenage years well and truly behind him. He spread his wings on a trip that would occupy him for the best part of three years. Wherever he went he collected impressions, among them the material for his so-called "Italian" symphony, which he said was going to be, "the jolliest piece I have ever done"! With Donald Macleod.

    Erster Verlust, op.99 no 1 (1841) (Goethe)

    Margaret Price (soprano)

    Graham Johnson (piano)

    Piano Concerto no.1 in G minor, op.25: Third movement, Presto-Molto Allegro e vivace

    Stephen Hough (piano)

    City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra

    Lawrence Foster (conductor)

    Symphony no.4 in A major, op.90

    Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra

    Andrew Litton (conductor)

    Die erste Walpurgisnacht, Op.60 (Kommt mit Zacken und mit Gabeln...Die Flamme reinigt sich vom Rauch)

    Matthias Hölle, Druid watchman (bass)

    Anton Scharinger, Priest (baritone)

    Deon van der Walt, Christian watchman (tenor)

    Bamberg Symphony Orchestra and Chorus

    Claus-Peter Flor (conductor).

    Donald Macleod explores the musical fruits of Mendelssohn's travels.

    04Toothache And Marriage20160825

    Donald Macleod explores the Mendelssohn's honeymoon sketchbook. Including the Violin Concerto in E minor.

    Few of us can readily lay claim to the descriptions polymath and polyglot. Felix Mendelssohn could. A child prodigy, likened by his contemporaries to Mozart, he was an accomplished composer, performer, conductor and musicologist. Beyond music, Mendelssohn was extremely knowledgeable about poetry, classical studies, theology, languages, painting and drawing. Indeed, he enjoyed art so much he continued to produce sketches, drawings and paintings as a pastime almost to the very end of his life. While he died aged only 38 in 1847, in addition to manuscripts, a considerable collection of his artwork has been preserved.

    The biggest collection of Mendelssohn's biographical archive resides in the University of Oxford's Bodleian Libraries. This week, with Mendelssohn expert Peter Ward Jones as his guide, Donald Macleod opens up Mendelssohn's sketchbooks to find out what captured the composer's imagination alongside music.

    Pictures of long climbs, sight seeing trips, even the tooth that Felix's new wife Cäcilie had to have drawn, are all charmingly recorded in the Mendelssohn's honeymoon diary, plus one of the few watercolour paintings done by Mendelssohn, detailing the vegetable market at The Hague.

    You can see sketches and drawings featured in this week's programme on the Radio 3 website.

    Paulus, Op 36 (excerpt)

    Maria Cristina Kiehr, soprano

    Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen

    Frieder Bernius

    Lied in A major

    Howard Shelley, piano

    String Quartet in E minor Op 44, No 2 (1st movement)

    Henschel Quartet

    Prelude and Fugue in D major, Op 35

    Violin Concerto in E minor, Op 64

    James Ehnes, violin

    Philharmonia Orchestra

    Vladimir Ashkenazy, conductor.

    04Toothache And Marriage2016082520171005

    Donald Macleod explores the Mendelssohns' honeymoon sketchbook.

    Donald Macleod explores the Mendelssohn's honeymoon sketchbook. Including the Violin Concerto in E minor.

    Few of us can readily lay claim to the descriptions polymath and polyglot. Felix Mendelssohn could. A child prodigy, likened by his contemporaries to Mozart, he was an accomplished composer, performer, conductor and musicologist. Beyond music, Mendelssohn was extremely knowledgeable about poetry, classical studies, theology, languages, painting and drawing. Indeed, he enjoyed art so much he continued to produce sketches, drawings and paintings as a pastime almost to the very end of his life. While he died aged only 38 in 1847, in addition to manuscripts, a considerable collection of his artwork has been preserved.

    The biggest collection of Mendelssohn's biographical archive resides in the University of Oxford's Bodleian Libraries. This week, with Mendelssohn expert Peter Ward Jones as his guide, Donald Macleod opens up Mendelssohn's sketchbooks to find out what captured the composer's imagination alongside music.

    Pictures of long climbs, sight seeing trips, even the tooth that Felix's new wife Cäcilie had to have drawn, are all charmingly recorded in the Mendelssohn's honeymoon diary, plus one of the few watercolour paintings done by Mendelssohn, detailing the vegetable market at The Hague.

    You can see sketches and drawings featured in this week's programme on the Radio 3 website.

    Paulus, Op 36 (excerpt)
    Maria Cristina Kiehr, soprano
    Duetsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen
    Frieder Bernius

    Lied in A major
    Howard Shelley, piano

    String Quartet in E minor Op 44 No 2 (1st movement)
    Henschel Quartet

    Prelude and Fugue in D major, Op 35
    Howard Shelley, piano

    Violin Concerto in E minor, Op 64
    James Ehnes, violin
    Philharmonia Orchestra
    Vladimir Ashkenazy, conductor.

    Donald Macleod explores the Mendelssohn's honeymoon sketchbook. Including the Violin Concerto in E minor.

    Few of us can readily lay claim to the descriptions polymath and polyglot. Felix Mendelssohn could. A child prodigy, likened by his contemporaries to Mozart, he was an accomplished composer, performer, conductor and musicologist. Beyond music, Mendelssohn was extremely knowledgeable about poetry, classical studies, theology, languages, painting and drawing. Indeed, he enjoyed art so much he continued to produce sketches, drawings and paintings as a pastime almost to the very end of his life. While he died aged only 38 in 1847, in addition to manuscripts, a considerable collection of his artwork has been preserved.

    The biggest collection of Mendelssohn's biographical archive resides in the University of Oxford's Bodleian Libraries. This week, with Mendelssohn expert Peter Ward Jones as his guide, Donald Macleod opens up Mendelssohn's sketchbooks to find out what captured the composer's imagination alongside music.

    Pictures of long climbs, sight seeing trips, even the tooth that Felix's new wife Cäcilie had to have drawn, are all charmingly recorded in the Mendelssohn's honeymoon diary, plus one of the few watercolour paintings done by Mendelssohn, detailing the vegetable market at The Hague.

    You can see sketches and drawings featured in this week's programme on the Radio 3 website.

    Paulus, Op 36 (excerpt)

    Maria Cristina Kiehr, soprano

    Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen

    Frieder Bernius

    Lied in A major

    Howard Shelley, piano

    String Quartet in E minor Op 44, No 2 (1st movement)

    Henschel Quartet

    Prelude and Fugue in D major, Op 35

    Violin Concerto in E minor, Op 64

    James Ehnes, violin

    Philharmonia Orchestra

    Vladimir Ashkenazy, conductor.

    04Toothache And Marriage20171005

    Donald Macleod explores the Mendelssohns' honeymoon sketchbook.

    Donald Macleod explores the Mendelssohn's honeymoon sketchbook. Including the Violin Concerto in E minor.

    Few of us can readily lay claim to the descriptions polymath and polyglot. Felix Mendelssohn could. A child prodigy, likened by his contemporaries to Mozart, he was an accomplished composer, performer, conductor and musicologist. Beyond music, Mendelssohn was extremely knowledgeable about poetry, classical studies, theology, languages, painting and drawing. Indeed, he enjoyed art so much he continued to produce sketches, drawings and paintings as a pastime almost to the very end of his life. While he died aged only 38 in 1847, in addition to manuscripts, a considerable collection of his artwork has been preserved.

    The biggest collection of Mendelssohn's biographical archive resides in the University of Oxford's Bodleian Libraries. This week, with Mendelssohn expert Peter Ward Jones as his guide, Donald Macleod opens up Mendelssohn's sketchbooks to find out what captured the composer's imagination alongside music.

    Pictures of long climbs, sight seeing trips, even the tooth that Felix's new wife Cäcilie had to have drawn, are all charmingly recorded in the Mendelssohn's honeymoon diary, plus one of the few watercolour paintings done by Mendelssohn, detailing the vegetable market at The Hague.

    You can see sketches and drawings featured in this week's programme on the Radio 3 website.

    Paulus, Op 36 (excerpt)
    Maria Cristina Kiehr, soprano
    Duetsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen
    Frieder Bernius

    Lied in A major
    Howard Shelley, piano

    String Quartet in E minor Op 44 No 2 (1st movement)
    Henschel Quartet

    Prelude and Fugue in D major, Op 35
    Howard Shelley, piano

    Violin Concerto in E minor, Op 64
    James Ehnes, violin
    Philharmonia Orchestra
    Vladimir Ashkenazy, conductor.

    05High Society20160826

    Donald Macleod assesses Mendelssohn's abilities as a portraitist, including excerpts from the London version of the Scottish Symphony and the Opus 44 Piano Trio.

    Few of us can readily lay claim to the descriptions polymath and polyglot. Felix Mendelssohn could. A child prodigy, likened by his contemporaries to Mozart, he was an accomplished composer, performer, conductor and musicologist. Beyond music, Mendelssohn was extremely knowledgeable about poetry, classical studies, theology, languages, painting and drawing. Indeed, he enjoyed art so much he continued to produce sketches, drawings and paintings as a pastime almost to the very end of his life. While he died aged only 38 in 1847, in addition to manuscripts, a considerable collection of his artwork has been preserved.

    The biggest collection of Mendelssohn's biographical archive resides in the University of Oxford's Bodleian Libraries. This week, with Mendelssohn expert Peter Ward Jones as his guide, Donald Macleod opens up Mendelssohn's sketchbooks to find out what captured the composer's imagination alongside music.

    Given the number of Mendelssohn's sketches, drawings and paintings, it's perhaps surprising that there aren't more portraits. In fact Mendelssohn, brilliant as he was, had an area which he perceived as being weak. He felt he wasn't good at drawing people. You can judge for yourself as Mendelssohn's sketch of a boy is available on the Radio 3 website along with some of the others featured in this week's programmes.

    Songs Without Words, Book 5, Op 62 No 6

    Martin Jones, piano

    O for the Wings of a Dove

    Jeremy Budd, treble

    Choir of St Paul's Cathedral

    Andrew Lucas, organ

    John Scott, director

    Symphony No 3 in A minor, Op 38 (Scottish) (1st movement)

    Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra

    Riccardo Chailly, conductor

    Elijah, excerpt from Part 2

    Simon Keenlyside, baritone

    Rosemary Joshua, soprano

    Robert Murray, tenor

    Wroclaw Philharmonic Choir

    Gabrieli Young Singers Scheme

    Gabrieli Consort and Players

    William Whitehead, organ

    Paul McCreesh, conductor

    Piano Trio No 1 in D minor, Op 49 (1st movement)

    Fournier Trio.

    05High Society2016082620171006

    Donald Macleod assesses Mendelssohn's abilities as a portraitist.

    Donald Macleod assesses Mendelssohn's abilities as a portraitist, including excerpts from the London version of the Scottish Symphony and the Opus 44 Piano Trio.

    Few of us can readily lay claim to the descriptions polymath and polyglot. Felix Mendelssohn could. A child prodigy, likened by his contemporaries to Mozart, he was an accomplished composer, performer, conductor and musicologist. Beyond music, Mendelssohn was extremely knowledgeable about poetry, classical studies, theology, languages, painting and drawing. Indeed, he enjoyed art so much he continued to produce sketches, drawings and paintings as a pastime almost to the very end of his life. While he died aged only 38 in 1847, in addition to manuscripts, a considerable collection of his artwork has been preserved.

    The biggest collection of Mendelssohn's biographical archive resides in the University of Oxford's Bodleian Libraries. This week, with Mendelssohn expert Peter Ward Jones as his guide, Donald Macleod opens up Mendelssohn's sketchbooks to find out what captured the composer's imagination alongside music.

    Given the number of Mendelssohn's sketches, drawings and paintings, it's perhaps surprising that there aren't more portraits. In fact Mendelssohn, brilliant as he was, had an area which he perceived as being weak. He felt he wasn't good at drawing people. You can judge for yourself as Mendelssohn's sketch of a boy is available on the Radio 3 website along with some of the others featured in this week's programmes.

    Songs Without Words, Book 5, Op 62 No 6
    Martin Jones, piano

    O for the Wings of a Dove
    Jeremy Budd, treble
    Choir of St Paul's Cathedral
    Andrew Lucas, organ
    John Scott, director

    Symphony No 3 in A minor, Op 38 (Scottish) (1st movement)
    Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra
    Riccardo Chailly, conductor

    Elijah, excerpt from Part 2
    Simon Keenlyside, baritone
    Rosemary Joshua, soprano
    Robert Murray, tenor
    Wroclaw Philharmonic Choir
    Gabrieli Young Singers Scheme
    Gabrieli Consort and Players
    William Whitehead, organ
    Paul McCreesh, conductor

    Piano Trio No 1 in D minor, Op 49 (1st movement)
    Fournier Trio.

    Donald Macleod assesses Mendelssohn's abilities as a portraitist, including excerpts from the London version of the Scottish Symphony and the Opus 44 Piano Trio.

    Few of us can readily lay claim to the descriptions polymath and polyglot. Felix Mendelssohn could. A child prodigy, likened by his contemporaries to Mozart, he was an accomplished composer, performer, conductor and musicologist. Beyond music, Mendelssohn was extremely knowledgeable about poetry, classical studies, theology, languages, painting and drawing. Indeed, he enjoyed art so much he continued to produce sketches, drawings and paintings as a pastime almost to the very end of his life. While he died aged only 38 in 1847, in addition to manuscripts, a considerable collection of his artwork has been preserved.

    The biggest collection of Mendelssohn's biographical archive resides in the University of Oxford's Bodleian Libraries. This week, with Mendelssohn expert Peter Ward Jones as his guide, Donald Macleod opens up Mendelssohn's sketchbooks to find out what captured the composer's imagination alongside music.

    Given the number of Mendelssohn's sketches, drawings and paintings, it's perhaps surprising that there aren't more portraits. In fact Mendelssohn, brilliant as he was, had an area which he perceived as being weak. He felt he wasn't good at drawing people. You can judge for yourself as Mendelssohn's sketch of a boy is available on the Radio 3 website along with some of the others featured in this week's programmes.

    Songs Without Words, Book 5, Op 62 No 6

    Martin Jones, piano

    O for the Wings of a Dove

    Jeremy Budd, treble

    Choir of St Paul's Cathedral

    Andrew Lucas, organ

    John Scott, director

    Symphony No 3 in A minor, Op 38 (Scottish) (1st movement)

    Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra

    Riccardo Chailly, conductor

    Elijah, excerpt from Part 2

    Simon Keenlyside, baritone

    Rosemary Joshua, soprano

    Robert Murray, tenor

    Wroclaw Philharmonic Choir

    Gabrieli Young Singers Scheme

    Gabrieli Consort and Players

    William Whitehead, organ

    Paul McCreesh, conductor

    Piano Trio No 1 in D minor, Op 49 (1st movement)

    Fournier Trio.

    05High Society20171006

    Donald Macleod assesses Mendelssohn's abilities as a portraitist.

    Donald Macleod assesses Mendelssohn's abilities as a portraitist, including excerpts from the London version of the Scottish Symphony and the Opus 44 Piano Trio.

    Few of us can readily lay claim to the descriptions polymath and polyglot. Felix Mendelssohn could. A child prodigy, likened by his contemporaries to Mozart, he was an accomplished composer, performer, conductor and musicologist. Beyond music, Mendelssohn was extremely knowledgeable about poetry, classical studies, theology, languages, painting and drawing. Indeed, he enjoyed art so much he continued to produce sketches, drawings and paintings as a pastime almost to the very end of his life. While he died aged only 38 in 1847, in addition to manuscripts, a considerable collection of his artwork has been preserved.

    The biggest collection of Mendelssohn's biographical archive resides in the University of Oxford's Bodleian Libraries. This week, with Mendelssohn expert Peter Ward Jones as his guide, Donald Macleod opens up Mendelssohn's sketchbooks to find out what captured the composer's imagination alongside music.

    Given the number of Mendelssohn's sketches, drawings and paintings, it's perhaps surprising that there aren't more portraits. In fact Mendelssohn, brilliant as he was, had an area which he perceived as being weak. He felt he wasn't good at drawing people. You can judge for yourself as Mendelssohn's sketch of a boy is available on the Radio 3 website along with some of the others featured in this week's programmes.

    Songs Without Words, Book 5, Op 62 No 6
    Martin Jones, piano

    O for the Wings of a Dove
    Jeremy Budd, treble
    Choir of St Paul's Cathedral
    Andrew Lucas, organ
    John Scott, director

    Symphony No 3 in A minor, Op 38 (Scottish) (1st movement)
    Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra
    Riccardo Chailly, conductor

    Elijah, excerpt from Part 2
    Simon Keenlyside, baritone
    Rosemary Joshua, soprano
    Robert Murray, tenor
    Wroclaw Philharmonic Choir
    Gabrieli Young Singers Scheme
    Gabrieli Consort and Players
    William Whitehead, organ
    Paul McCreesh, conductor

    Piano Trio No 1 in D minor, Op 49 (1st movement)
    Fournier Trio.

    05The Rise, Fall And Rise Of Mendelssohn2014031420150612 (R3)

    Felix Mendelssohn had a remarkable, if brief career, cut short at the age of just 38 in 1847. He was born into an exceptional family. His grandfather Moses was a much respected Jewish philosopher, while his father Abraham, a wealthy Jewish banker and his mother Lea, a cultivated, musical woman had the standing and means to provide their four children with every opportunity Berlin society could offer. Only a handful of composers can match Mendelssohn's precocious talent. A child prodigy, famously likened by his friend Robert Schumann to Mozart, Felix's public career began at the age of 9. Between the ages of 11 and 15, he wrote 13 strings symphonies, 5 concertos, 4 operas, chamber music, piano and organ pieces, solo songs and choral pieces. Across the week Donald explores the musical treasures inspired by these formative years.

    After spending the week in the company of the young Mendelssohn, in the final chapter of his survey, Donald Macleod looks at the rather bumpier ride Mendelssohn's reputation was given in the years after his death, before the reassessment he's enjoying in our own century.

    O for the Wings of a Dove (Hear My Prayer)

    Ernest Lough (treble)

    Temple Church Choir

    Sir George Thalben-Ball (organ and director)

    Piano Trio Op.49 In D Minor (1st movement)

    Fortepianotrio Florestan

    Violin Concerto in E minor, Op.64

    James Ehnes (violin)

    Philharmonia Orchestra

    Vladimir Ashkenazy (conductor)

    String Quartet no 6 in F minor, Op.80 (1st movement: Allegro vivace assai- Presto)

    Elias Quartet

    Songs Without Words Book 3, Op. 38/6

    Songs Without Words Book 6, Op. 67/4

    Murray Perahia (piano).

    Donald Macleod focuses on the changing tides of Mendelssohn's posthumous reputation.

    05 LAST2011042220121109

    Donald Macleod explores the success of Mendelssohn's oratorio Elijah.

    Donald Macleod concludes his exploration of Mendelssohn's last seven years with a look at the genesis of his oratorio Elijah, whose popularity in Victorian England was second only to that of Handel's Messiah - certainly not a claim that could be made today, when it tends to be regarded as the height of kitsch. In 1846, the city of Birmingham invited Mendelssohn to take charge of its music festival. He turned the job down, but agreed instead to compose an oratorio for the festival. After the earlier success of his oratorio St Paul, Mendelssohn had considered composing an Elijah; the Birmingham commission prompted him to return to this idea, which he'd had on the back burner for the past 10 years. The first performance was a huge success - "Never was there a more complete triumph!", as The Times put it - but Mendelssohn wasn't completely satisfied, and immediately set about overhauling the work for the London première the following year. According to a contemporary report it was met with a "long-continued unanimous volley of plaudits, vociferous and deafening applause." Mendelssohn's elation, however, was short-lived. On his return to Germany he was met by a letter from his brother Paul, telling him that their beloved sister Fanny had suffered a series of strokes and died - while rehearsing one of his pieces. Mendelssohn remained in a state of emotional collapse for some time, but when he was able to compose again he poured his grief out in his anguished 6th String Quartet - the last major work he completed before his own death, just two months later.

    Donald Macleod concludes his exploration of Mendelssohn's last seven years with a look at the genesis of his oratorio Elijah, whose popularity in Victorian England was second only to that of Handel's Messiah - certainly not a claim that could be made today, when it tends to be regarded as the height of kitsch.

    In 1846, the city of Birmingham invited Mendelssohn to take charge of its music festival.

    He turned the job down, but agreed instead to compose an oratorio for the festival.

    After the earlier success of his oratorio St Paul, Mendelssohn had considered composing an Elijah; the Birmingham commission prompted him to return to this idea, which he'd had on the back burner for the past 10 years.

    The first performance was a huge success - "Never was there a more complete triumph!", as The Times put it - but Mendelssohn wasn't completely satisfied, and immediately set about overhauling the work for the London première the following year.

    According to a contemporary report it was met with a "long-continued unanimous volley of plaudits, vociferous and deafening applause." Mendelssohn's elation, however, was short-lived.

    On his return to Germany he was met by a letter from his brother Paul, telling him that their beloved sister Fanny had suffered a series of strokes and died - while rehearsing one of his pieces.

    Mendelssohn remained in a state of emotional collapse for some time, but when he was able to compose again he poured his grief out in his anguished 6th String Quartet - the last major work he completed before his own death, just two months later.

    05 LAST2011042220121109

    Donald Macleod explores the success of Mendelssohn's oratorio Elijah.

    Donald Macleod concludes his exploration of Mendelssohn's last seven years with a look at the genesis of his oratorio Elijah, whose popularity in Victorian England was second only to that of Handel's Messiah - certainly not a claim that could be made today, when it tends to be regarded as the height of kitsch. In 1846, the city of Birmingham invited Mendelssohn to take charge of its music festival. He turned the job down, but agreed instead to compose an oratorio for the festival. After the earlier success of his oratorio St Paul, Mendelssohn had considered composing an Elijah; the Birmingham commission prompted him to return to this idea, which he'd had on the back burner for the past 10 years. The first performance was a huge success - "Never was there a more complete triumph!", as The Times put it - but Mendelssohn wasn't completely satisfied, and immediately set about overhauling the work for the London première the following year. According to a contemporary report it was met with a "long-continued unanimous volley of plaudits, vociferous and deafening applause." Mendelssohn's elation, however, was short-lived. On his return to Germany he was met by a letter from his brother Paul, telling him that their beloved sister Fanny had suffered a series of strokes and died - while rehearsing one of his pieces. Mendelssohn remained in a state of emotional collapse for some time, but when he was able to compose again he poured his grief out in his anguished 6th String Quartet - the last major work he completed before his own death, just two months later.

    Donald Macleod concludes his exploration of Mendelssohn's last seven years with a look at the genesis of his oratorio Elijah, whose popularity in Victorian England was second only to that of Handel's Messiah - certainly not a claim that could be made today, when it tends to be regarded as the height of kitsch.

    In 1846, the city of Birmingham invited Mendelssohn to take charge of its music festival.

    He turned the job down, but agreed instead to compose an oratorio for the festival.

    After the earlier success of his oratorio St Paul, Mendelssohn had considered composing an Elijah; the Birmingham commission prompted him to return to this idea, which he'd had on the back burner for the past 10 years.

    The first performance was a huge success - "Never was there a more complete triumph!", as The Times put it - but Mendelssohn wasn't completely satisfied, and immediately set about overhauling the work for the London première the following year.

    According to a contemporary report it was met with a "long-continued unanimous volley of plaudits, vociferous and deafening applause." Mendelssohn's elation, however, was short-lived.

    On his return to Germany he was met by a letter from his brother Paul, telling him that their beloved sister Fanny had suffered a series of strokes and died - while rehearsing one of his pieces.

    Mendelssohn remained in a state of emotional collapse for some time, but when he was able to compose again he poured his grief out in his anguished 6th String Quartet - the last major work he completed before his own death, just two months later.

    05 LASTThe Eclipse Of Music20090130

    The musical world described Mendelssohn's death as 'the eclipse of music', yet the posthumous attitude to his work has often been derogatory.

    Donald Macleod charts the composer's final years, from the death of his beloved sister, Fanny, to his own in 1847 and his remarkable legacy, exemplified by his Violin Concerto in E minor.

    Part of Radio 3's Composers of the Year 2009 season.

    Fanny Mendelssohn: Bergeslust, Op 10, No 5

  • cd1 t29

    string quartet in f minor, op 80

  • cd1 tracks 1-3.

    Donald Macleod charts mendelssohn's final years and his remarkable legacy

  • cd1 tracks 9-12

    violin concerto in e minor, op 64

  • deutsche grammophon 4158832
  • eugene asti (piano)
  • hyperion cda 67110
  • israel philharmonic orchestra
  • melos quartet
  • nikolaj znaider
  • rca 82876692172
  • susan gritton (soprano)
  • zubin mehta (conductor)

  • 05 LASTThe Eclipse Of Music *20090130
    05 LASTThe Rise, Fall And Rise Of Mendelssohn2014031420150612 (R3)

    Donald Macleod focuses on the changing tides of Mendelssohn's posthumous reputation.

    Felix Mendelssohn had a remarkable, if brief career, cut short at the age of just 38 in 1847. He was born into an exceptional family. His grandfather Moses was a much respected Jewish philosopher, while his father Abraham, a wealthy Jewish banker and his mother Lea, a cultivated, musical woman had the standing and means to provide their four children with every opportunity Berlin society could offer. Only a handful of composers can match Mendelssohn's precocious talent. A child prodigy, famously likened by his friend Robert Schumann to Mozart, Felix's public career began at the age of 9. Between the ages of 11 and 15, he wrote 13 strings symphonies, 5 concertos, 4 operas, chamber music, piano and organ pieces, solo songs and choral pieces. Across the week Donald explores the musical treasures inspired by these formative years.

    After spending the week in the company of the young Mendelssohn, in the final chapter of his survey, Donald Macleod looks at the rather bumpier ride Mendelssohn's reputation was given in the years after his death, before the reassessment he's enjoying in our own century.

    Donald Macleod focuses on the changing tides of Mendelssohn's posthumous reputation.

    Felix Mendelssohn had a remarkable, if brief career, cut short at the age of just 38 in 1847. He was born into an exceptional family. His grandfather Moses was a much respected Jewish philosopher, while his father Abraham, a wealthy Jewish banker and his mother Lea, a cultivated, musical woman had the standing and means to provide their four children with every opportunity Berlin society could offer. Only a handful of composers can match Mendelssohn's precocious talent. A child prodigy, famously likened by his friend Robert Schumann to Mozart, Felix's public career began at the age of 9. Between the ages of 11 and 15, he wrote 13 strings symphonies, 5 concertos, 4 operas, chamber music, piano and organ pieces, solo songs and choral pieces. Across the week Donald explores the musical treasures inspired by these formative years.

    After spending the week in the company of the young Mendelssohn, in the final chapter of his survey, Donald Macleod looks at the rather bumpier ride Mendelssohn's reputation was given in the years after his death, before the reassessment he's enjoying in our own century.

    O for the Wings of a Dove (Hear My Prayer)

    Ernest Lough (treble)

    Temple Church Choir

    Sir George Thalben-Ball (organ and director)

    Piano Trio Op.49 In D Minor (1st movement)

    Fortepianotrio Florestan

    Violin Concerto in E minor, Op.64

    James Ehnes (violin)

    Philharmonia Orchestra

    Vladimir Ashkenazy (conductor)

    String Quartet no 6 in F minor, Op.80 (1st movement: Allegro vivace assai- Presto)

    Elias Quartet

    Songs Without Words Book 3, Op. 38/6

    Songs Without Words Book 6, Op. 67/4

    Murray Perahia (piano).

    05 LASTThe Rise, Fall And Rise Of Mendelssohn20140314

    Felix Mendelssohn had a remarkable, if brief career, cut short at the age of just 38 in 1847. He was born into an exceptional family. His grandfather Moses was a much respected Jewish philosopher, while his father Abraham, a wealthy Jewish banker and his mother Lea, a cultivated, musical woman had the standing and means to provide their four children with every opportunity Berlin society could offer. Only a handful of composers can match Mendelssohn's precocious talent. A child prodigy, famously likened by his friend Robert Schumann to Mozart, Felix's public career began at the age of 9. Between the ages of 11 and 15, he wrote 13 strings symphonies, 5 concertos, 4 operas, chamber music, piano and organ pieces, solo songs and choral pieces. Across the week Donald explores the musical treasures inspired by these formative years.

    After spending the week in the company of the young Mendelssohn, in the final chapter of his survey, Donald Macleod looks at the rather bumpier ride Mendelssohn's reputation was given in the years after his death, before the reassessment he's enjoying in our own century.

    Donald Macleod focuses on the changing tides of Mendelssohn's posthumous reputation.