Felix Mendelssohn (1809 - 1847)


01A Charmed Childhood20061030

Felix Mendelssohn grew up in a wealthy, privileged environment.

His musical prodigy was nurtured by his parents and a series of distinguished teachers, resulting in a prolific number of accomplished works by the age of 16.

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

Leicht und luftig (Seven Characteristic Pieces), Op 7 No 7

Benjamin Frith (piano)

String Symphony No 1

Concerto Köln

Bogy's Aria (Die Beiden Pädagogen)

Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau (bass-baritone)

Munchener Rundfunkorchester

Heinz Wallberg (conductor)

Octet in E flat, Op 20

Royal String Quartet

Psophos Quartet.

02Siblings And Songs20061031

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 childhood.

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

A Midsummer Night's Dream - overture

Orchestra of the Eighteenth Century

Frans Brüggen (director)

Fanny Mendelssohn: When I look into your eyes

Sophie Daneman (soprano)

Sarah Connolly (mezzo)

Eugene Asti (piano)

Neue Liebe

Barbara Bonney (soprano)

Geoffrey Parsons (piano)

Songs without Words (excerpts)

Daniel Barenboim (piano)

Cello Sonata No 2

Steven Isserlis (cello)

Melvyn Tan (fortepiano).

03The Composer's Voice: Private Passions20061101

Away from the family home, 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.

Rondo Capriccioso, Op 14

Murray Perahia (piano)

Hebrides Overture, Op 26

Scottish Chamber Orchestra

Joseph Swensen

Ersatz für Unbestand

Lob der Trunkenheit

Die Singphoniker

Piano Trio No 1 in D minor, Op 49

Isaac Stern (violin)

Leonard Rose (cello)

Eugene Istomin (piano).

04Revivals, Revisions And Religion20061102

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.

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


Chorus Musicus

Das Neue Orchester

Christoph Spering (conductor)

Prelude and Fugue in E minor, Op 35

Benjamin Frith (piano)

Symphony No 4 (Italian)

(Revised 1834 version with first movement from original version)

Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra

John Eliot Gardiner (conductor)

Thanks be to God! (Elijah)

Edinburgh Festival Chorus

David Jones (chorus master)

Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment

Paul Daniel (conductor).

05 LASTThe Eclipse Of Music20061103

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

Donald Macleod concludes his series on Mendelssohn?s short life by charting his demise, from the death of his beloved sister Fanny to his own death in 1847 and the remarkable legacy he left, exemplified by his Violin Concerto.

Fanny Mendelssohn: Bergeslust, Op 10 No 5

Susan Gritton (soprano)

Eugene Asti (piano)

String Quartet in Fm, Op 80

Melos Quartet

Violin Concerto in Em, Op 64

Nikolaj Znaider

Israel Philharmonic Orchestra

Zubin Mehta (conductor).