Master of mood and romanticism Although he was born nearly 40 years after Beethoven, Mendelssohn's music also spans the transition from classical to romantic. He had great ability to create romantic mood, though his music is rarely sentimental and always tempered by awareness of the classical tradition that preceded him. Mendelssohn's music was immensely popular in Victorian England; his Italian and Scottish symphonies, the Violin Concerto and the incidental music to A Midsummer Night's Dream are still among the most frequently played. Lovers of chamber music rank his work highly, with his best works on a par with those of Haydn and Beethoven.
Like Mozart, Mendelssohn was a child prodigy: he played his first public concert at nine years old. His string Octet, written at age 16, is a work of extraordinary maturity. Unlike Mozart, he was born into a wealthy family, and given the best education that could be found. The most notable event of his early years was his family's conversion to Christianity (in which his name changed to Mendelssohn Bartholdy, which often appears today on recordings and concert listings). He seems to have been a charming man unspoilt by the family wealth: he worked prodigiously hard, and his scores show meticulous attention to detail. More about Mendelssohn's life and work... Mendelssohn in ConcertFind live concertsin Britain and the rest of the world. Mendelssohnon CDFind the very best CDs of his music Events to attendThe Mendelssohn event of the year is the Mendelssohn Festival in Leipzig, with over 50 events taking place between 21st August and 21st September. In the US, the Pacifica Quartet are performing the complete chamber repertoire. In the UK, his choral music will be highlighted by performances of Elijah throughout the country and on the weekend of 8th- 10th May "O For the Wings of a Dove" will be sung by choirs across the UK. More events about Mendelssohn... Places to goVisit Fingal's Cave on the island of Staffa, which inspired the Hebrides overture, or Edinburgh's Holyrood palace, which inspired the Scottish Symphony. In Germany, visit Leipzig, where Mendelssohn conducted the famous Gewandhaus orchestra.More places with links to Mendelssohn... MendelssohnOn AirBBC Radio 3 has celebratory programmes through the year. Anniversaries in 2009: Purcell (b.1659) Handel (d.1759) Haydn (d.1809) Mendelssohn (b.1809) Tárrega (d.1909) Albéniz (d.1909)Villa-Lobos (d.1959) Martinů (d.1959) Portrait of Mendelssohn by Carl Jäeger, reproduced by kind permission of the Royal Academy of Music.