Felix Mendelssohn Analysis

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Mendelssohn
Felix Mendelssohn was born in Hamburg, Germany on the 3rd February 1809. Like Mozart, Mendelssohn was regarded as a child prodigy. His mother began teaching him to play the piano when he was six and after the family moved to Berlin in 1811, he and his three siblings took piano lesson with Ludwig Berger; he also later studied counterpoint and composition. By 9 years old, he had already performed in his first public concert and by 13, he was a prolific composer. One of the best known of his original works, which he composed at only 17, was his Overture to ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream.’ Mendelssohn was not only interested in music and attended lectures on aesthetics, history and geography at the Humboldt University of Berlin from 1826
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Quite obviously of the concerto genre, it is a very popular violin concerto and an important part of the violin repertoire. The concerto was written as a result of his friendship with his orchestra’s concertmaster, Ferdinand David, who had inspired Mendelssohn. The piece was therefore essentially written for David, him being the soloist at its premiere. The concerto is structured in three movements, each of which is in a different form. The first movement begins in sonata form, the second movement is in ternary form and the third movement is in sonata form. There is no pause between movements which was a linking technique used by Romantic composers. The piece is a successful combination of lyricism and virtuosity, this being the reason why it is so widely loved. There is a clear display of his love for balance in the cooperative interactions between the soloist and the orchestra. There are also changes in theme throughout this piece and this lends itself to creating wonderful contrasts in tone colour. Looking at the first movement specifically, certain compositional elements are employed to match its tempo of allegro molto appassionato. There is, for example, a bravura (or virtuosic passage) of rapidly ascending notes, as well as a frenetic chromatic transition passage. Later in the movement, an example is when the cadenza builds up from quavers to quaver-triplets to semiquavers and the coda then ends with the tempo indication presto. An unusual characteristic of the first movement is that the cadenza functions here as a transition to the recapitulation, making it an integral part of the
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