Run time: 1m 49s | Release Date: February 3rd, 2016
Born into a wealthy and cultured Jewish family on February 3rd 1809 in Hamburg Germany, Felix Mendelssohn enjoyed all of the educational advantages which came from being part of the upperclass.
He made his musical debut on the piano at the age of 9, and by age 13 he was already an accomplished composer.
Like many composers of the Romantic Period, Mendelssohn drew inspiring from the work of various writers and poets. The scherzo of his String Octet was imagined from the “Witches’ Sabbath” scene in Johann von Goethe’s “Faust”.
In like fashion, Mendelssohn took his inspiration for the overture of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” from a comedic play of the same name by William Shakespeare. Both pieces had been completed by the age of 16.
Mendelssohn was known for his appreciation of past great composers and in 1829 he revived Johann Sebastian Bach’s “St. Matthew Passion” in a performance which took place in Leipzig, Germany. This was the first performance of this piece since Bach’s death in 1750.
Mendelssohn’s prominent career took form not only as composer, conductor, pianist, and organist, but also as an educator and later in his life, in 1843, he founded the Leipzig Conservatory of Music.
It is said that the grief upon hearing of the sudden death of his beloved sister Fanny, coupled with deep exhaustion from overwork is what caused Felix Mendelssohn’s death on November 4th 1847 in Leipzig, Germany.