Felix Mendelssohn was born on February 3, 1809, in Hamburg, Germany. At age 9, he made his public debut in Berlin. In 1819, he joined the Singakademie music academy and began composing non-stop. At Singakademie, he also became a conductor, but continued to compose prolifically. Mendelssohn founded the Leipzig Conservatory of Music in 1843. He died on November 4, 1847, in Leipzig.
Early Work :
In 1819, Felix Mendelssohn joined the Singakademie music academy and began composing non-stop. In 1820 alone, he wrote a violin sonata, two piano sonatas, multiple songs, a cantata, a brief opera and a male quartet. In 1826, Mendelssohn produced one of his best known works, Overture to a Midsummer Night's Dream. He presented his only opera, The Marriage of the Camacho, the following year in Berlin. At Singakademie, Mendelssohn also became a conductor. In 1829, he conducted a performance of Bach's St. Matthew Passion. The performance's success led to other great opportunities, including a chance to conduct the London Philharmonic Society that same year. Mendelssohn continued to compose prolifically while working as a conductor. He wrote the Reformation Symphony in 1830, and followed that accomplishment with a three-year European tour. During that time, he published his first book of songs, entitled Songs without Words (1832). Italian Symphony (1833), another of Mendelssohn's best known works, was also born of this period. In 1835, Mendelssohn was granted an illustrious role: conductor of the Gewandhaus Orchestra in Leipzig.
Pianist, composer and conductor Felix Mendelssohn was born Jakob Ludwig Felix- Mendelssohn - Bartholdy in Hamburg, Germany on February 3, 1809. His parents were Jewish, but converted to Christianity before he, his brothers and two sisters were born. When Mendelssohn was 2 years old, he moved to Berlin with his parents and siblings. In Berlin, the young Mendelssohn began taking piano lessons with Ludwig Berger. Mendelssohn also studied composition under composer K.F. Zelter as a child. In 1816, he broadened his lessons, studying under pianist Marie Bigot during and extended stay in Paris, France. Mendelssohn was quick to establish himself as a child prodigy. During his childhood, he composed five operas and 11 symphonies. At just 9 years old, he made his public debut in Berlin.
Personal Life :
In 1836, a year after his father died, Mendelssohn met Cécile Jeanrenaud, a clergyman's daughter, in Frankfurt. Mendelssohn was 10 years Jeanrenaud's senior. She was just 16 when they got engaged. The couple married on March 28, 1837. Over the course of their marriage, they had five children.
Later Work :
The same year that he married, Mendelssohn composed his Piano Concerto No. 2 in D Minor. From 1838 to 1844, he toiled away on his Violin Concerto in E Minor. Prior to the piece's completion, Mendelssohn founded the Leipzig Conservatory of Music and became its director. In so doing, he put Leipzig on the map as the musical center of Germany. After finishing Violin Concerto in E Minor, Mendelssohn conducted a string of concerts for the Philharmonic. In 1846 he presented his newly written Elijah at the Birmingham Festival.
Final Years :
In May 1847, Mendelssohn's sister, Fanny, who was a lifelong inspiration to him, died suddenly. Her death left him so devastated that he soon lost his own zest for life. His health, already compromised by his strenuous career, began to deteriorate rapidly. Six months later, on November 4, 1847, Felix Mendelssohn died of a ruptured blood vessel in Leipzig, Germany. He had recently returned from a brief visit to Switzerland, where he'd completed composition of his String Quartet in F Minor. Although he was only 38 when he died, Mendelssohn managed to distinguish himself as one of the first significant Romantic composers of the 1800s.
1825 Octet for Strings 1826 Overture, A Midsummer Night`s Dream First set of "Songs Without Words" (Lieder ohne Worte) for piano. 1830 Overture, The Hebrides (Fingal`s Cave) 1832 Piano Concerto No. 1 1833 Symphony No. 4, "Italian" 1837 Piano Concerto No. 2. 1842 Symphony No. 3, "Scotch"; A Midsummer Night`s Dream (including Scherzo and Wedding March. 1844 Violin Concerto. 1845 "Spring Song" and "Bee`s Wedding" from "Songs Without Words" 1846 Oratorio, Elijah.
MOST FAMOUS WORK
Violin Concerto Mendelssohn`s wonderful gift for sunny, lyrical music and his easy mastery of form and style reach perfection in this loveliest of all Early Romantic concertos.
1809 Born 3 February, in Hamburg, Germany. 1818 Public debut as a pianist. 1825 Completes his first opera. 1826 Attends Berlin University. 1829 Conducts Bach`s St Matthew Passion in Berlin. First concert tour of Britain, including visit to Scotland. 1833 Conductor of Rhine Music Festival in Dusseldorf. 1835 Conductor of Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra. 1837 Marries Cécile Jeanrenaud. 1842 Receives honorary doctorate from Leipzig University. 1847 Last visit to England conducting for Queen Victoria. Death of sister Fanny comes as a major blow. He dies in Leipzig, 4 November.
HIS PLACE IN HISTORY
Mendelssohn lived during the first half of the 19th century, when the Early Romantic period of music was in full flower, with all that meant in terms of intense passion and individualism. Mendelssohn was an important part of this scene but, at the same time, he kept himself a little detached from it. He had a deep respect for musical tradition and for the past. He led the way in the revival of the music of J. S. Bach, which had long been neglected, conducting the first performance since Bach`s death of his great St. Matthew Passion. In fact, Mendelssohn was very busy as a conductor, both in his native Germany and in England, where he was adored by Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. The art, or technique, of conducting was still something quite new in Mendelssohn`s lifetime. In that respect, he may be considered to have been a man of the moment.