Sunday, 23 August 2009

302. Felix Mendelssohn - Symphony no. 3, "Scottish" (1842)


Title: Symphonies no.3 & 4.
Performer: London Symphony Orchestra
Conductor: Claudio Abbado
Year: 1989
Length: 42 minutes


Another pretty great orchestral work on the list. However I cannot really compare Mendelssohn's orchestral skills with Wagner or Berwald, Mendelssohn shows himself again as the conservative type.

This is not to say that this symphony is not a step forward for Mendelssohn, because it is. He even uses folk tunes in the second movement! Astounding. Mendelssohn seems, interestingly to be tuning in to the epic feel of his contemporaries orchestral work. Which shows him as not completely removed from his time but trying to walk a thin line between classicism and romanticism.

This is the Mendelssohn piece where he is most clearly Romantic, at least up until this point on the list, the only other of his works which has been here which was undoubtedly romantic was the Hebrides, another work with a Scottish theme. So Scotland seemed to have done him some good.

Final Grade



From Wikipedia:

It is thought that a painting on a Scotland trip made by Mendelssohn had inspired the 33-year-old composer, especially the opening theme of the first movement. The emotional scope of the work is wide, consisting of a grand first movement, a joyous second movement of possibly Scottish folk music, a slow movement maintaining an apparent struggle between love and fate, and a finale that takes its components from Scottish folk dance. A pecularity lies in the coda of the finale, where he introduces a complete new German majestic theme to close the work in a completely different manner from the rest of the finale. It was conceived as early as 1829 during Mendelssohn's trip to Scotland, but was not completed until 1842, and was not published in full score until the following year. The symphony was dedicated to Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom. Its premiere took place on 3 March 1842 in Leipzig.

First Movement, Part 1:

Part 2:

Part 3:

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