This year is also the 200th anniversary of the birth of Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy. Mendelssohn was, along with Mozart, one of the greatest prodigies in the history of music. His Octet, written at the age of sixteen, remains very much in the repertoire. He matured as an artist very quickly. And sadly, like Mozart, Chopin, Schubert and Gershwin, he died far, far too soon. He died in 1847 at age 38.
This is from his Symphony No. 4 “Italian”, Op. 90. This features of the Orquestra del Radio y Televisión Española under the direction of Ramón Tebar. For some reason, Mendelssohn never felt fully happy with this wonderfully perfect piece of music, going so far as to revise it several times. He never allowed it to be published in his lifetime.
As strange as it may be to believe, Mendelssohn’s work was actually banned in Germany during the Hitler years. It was for reasons which had nothing to do with music. Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy, grandson of the great Jewish philosopher Moses Mendelssohn, was born to a Jewish family. While he was not raised in the Jewish faith, as his parents had converted to the Lutheran faith, he was of Jewish blood.