Articles and Essays

Articles related to Mendelssohn's work, biographies, additional topics and research resources.

  • Article
    Felix Mendelssohn and the Leipzig Gewandhaus Article. Article. By late 1834, at the age of twenty-six, Mendelssohn had risen to the top of his profession, gaining the respect of his peers throughout Europe as the consummate professional musician: a leading conductor, brilliant performer and teacher, a composer of major status, and musico-historical scholar. In that year alone he had entertained and consequently declined several coveted positions including the directorship of...
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    Felix Mendelssohn and Jewish Identity Article. Article. Felix Mendelssohn was born into a family of means and privilege. His intellect and aptitude for music were apparent at an early age; by the age of fourteen he had already demonstrated an astonishing facility for musical composition, composing over one hundred works, from small scale keyboard works to large scale operas and symphonies. But the apparent effortlessness with which Mendelssohn met...
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    Felix Mendelssohn as Composer Article. Article. During his brief life, Mendelssohn produced approximately 750 musical works in nearly every genre -- from solo songs and works for solo piano, to choral and chamber works, and to large scale orchestral works, oratorio and even opera. As a virtuoso pianist and organist, it is not surprising that nearly one quarter of his works are written for these instruments; of his...
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    Felix Mendelssohn: Sacred Works Article. Article. Sacred music retained a position of major significance throughout Felix Mendelssohn's career as a composer, beginning with sacred choral songs performed at the Berlin Singakademie in 1821 and concluding with the Three Motets, op. 69, completed in the summer of 1847. Intended for both church and concert hall, his sacred works in particular have spawned divergent threads of discussion including the detection...
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    Felix Mendelssohn: Lieder ohne Worte Article. Article. Mendelssohn's most significant contribution to the solo piano literature rests in the approximately forty works -- about one quarter of the total number of works that he composed for that instrument -- that are designated as the Lieder ohne Worte, or "Songs without words." The composer is credited with codifying a genre in which the lyricism and intimate scale of art song...
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    Felix Mendelssohn: Octet in E-flat major, op. 20, for strings (1825) Article. Article. While the genre of the string quartet -- consisting of two violins, one viola and one 'cello -- developed slowly over the second half of the eighteenth century, it had, by the turn of the nineteenth century, achieved such a wide popularity as to be regarded as the vehicle par excellence of both chamber music and "modern" music of the era. The...
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    Felix Mendelssohn: Art Works Article. Article. The development of Mendelssohn's musical and compositional skills parallels that of another aspect of his creativity: his skills in drawing and painting, which, like music, became a means of expression on which he relied throughout his life.
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    Felix Mendelssohn: Reviving the Works of J.S. Bach Article. Article. Johann Sebastian Bach's stature as a composer of such extraordinary genius and widespread influence is so firmly established in Western culture that it is difficult to imagine that only a little over a century-and-a-half ago, his music and reputation languished in obscurity, virtually unknown to all but a few specialists. It was through Mendelssohn's recognition of Bach's genius and his efforts in...
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    Felix Mendelssohn as Correspondent Article. Article. Letter writing was a carefully cultivated art in the household of Abraham and Lea Mendelssohn, a tradition that was maintained throughout their lives as well as the lives of their children. Felix likely exceeded both his siblings and parents as the family's correspondent extraordinaire: recognized as one of the most prolific letter writers of the time, his corpus of communications bequeaths to...
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    Felix Mendelssohn Manuscripts and Resources for Research at the Library of Congress Article. Article. The largest part of the Library of Congress's resources for performing research related to Felix Mendelssohn is, predictably, housed in the collections of the Library's Music Division. While published scores of the composer's works, biographies and journal articles are held in the Division's general collections, the majority of primary source material such as holograph (autograph) manuscripts and correspondence, as well as iconography...
  • Biography
    Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy, 1809-1847 Biography. Biography. Felix Mendelssohn, born in Hamburg, Germany on February 3, 1809, lived through an era of significant transition for both German society and for Western music. From a social perspective, the question of extending equal rights to German Jews was being debated, a question that had direct implications for the Mendelssohn family, which was of Jewish heritage. Western music itself was evolving from...
  • Biography
    Fanny Mendelssohn Hensel, 1805-1847 Biography. Biography. Drawn together by their shared love of music and exceptional talents, Felix Mendelssohn and his older sister Fanny (1805-1847) developed a close relationship that was to endure throughout their lives. While Fanny's gender prohibited her from enjoying the same social opportunities or support in developing her musical gifts, her talents appeared to be nearly as formidable as those of her more famous...
  • Biography
    Cécile (Jeanrenaud) Mendelssohn-Bartholdy, 1817-1853 Biography. Biography. En route to Düsseldorf to conduct the Niederrheinisches Musikfest (Lower Rhine Music Festival) in late May 1836, Mendelssohn stopped in Frankfurt am Main in order to pay a visit to friends and family there. It was during this visit that he was introduced to the prosperous Souchay family, a daughter of which, Cécile Jeanrenaud, was also a member of the chorus of...