Mendelssohn symphonies

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RE: Mendelssohn symphonies

N

I don't really disagree with you about the Berlioz, it's just that I don't think it's a type 1 sonata form symphony. Then again perhaps neither is the Scottish symphony; but the Italian certainly is. As for Schumann, I often wonder if Bruckner had heard the Rhenish before he composed his 4th symphony.

I think one of the problems with this era anyway, is whether to go down the period instrument path or not, and this uncertainty creates a bit of a performance vacuum.

 

DSM

RE: Mendelssohn symphonies

DSM

I would absolutely agree that the Symphony Fantastique is not a 'type 1 sonata form symphony' - I think that was the point I was trying to make. If you are mapping out the development of the symphonic form throughout history (as I assume the series was intending) you have to give space to those works that represent a 'developmental shift' in some way. For my ears the Symphony Fantastique is a masterpiece and original development of the symphony. It isn't in the established mould of the period or the conventions of the time, which why I would put in the series.

I have always thought Bruckner's symphonies display clear links to Schubert - perhaps this in part prejudiced by my rememberence of Schumann's comment about the Schubert 9th and its 'heavenly length'. With all the repeats Schubert's last symphony is almost as long as many of Bruckner's works and for me needs the same levels of concentration. I would also agree with you that he must have know something of Schumann's symphonies; are you talkng about the fourth movement of the 3rd in particular?

Back to Mendelssohn (I have let the topic go off thread and Parla will be at my heels again!). The Italian is a wondeful symphony but as I wrote before I am particularly keen on the 5th Symphony; as Parla deftly noted I am happiest listening to the minor key works. I wonder why?

Naupilus

RE: Mendelssohn symphonies

Just a note on Mendelssohn's Italian Symphony. Though he wrote it when he was around 21 or 22 and it was played at the time, it wasn't published during his lifetime. This was apparently because he was never satisfied with the salterello finale, which is in the minor though the symphony as a whole is in A major. As to why he wasn't satisfied, search me. Any ideas?

My favourite work by him is the A minor string quartet, Op 13, composed when he was 18.

RE: Mendelssohn symphonies

It is true the last movement of the Italian caused him substantive trouble and he always wished to revise it. However, he was alone in his anguish. Historically, experts, public and musicians have called this Symphony a perfect work, while the last movement was considered as a gem! The fact that is throughout in the minor, while the Symphony is in the tonic major, I don't think was the real problem, despite it was a real novelty for the time. However, I cannot speculate for the possible reason(s). One guess is that this movement is the most italian from the four and a very unusual piece of work from the young Felix. There is also a great contrast compared to the very solemn and almost religious d minor Andante con moto and the smooth flowing third movement (minuet).

One of my very favourite Mendelssohn's works is the String Quintet in B-flat major, op. 87.

Parla

RE: Mendelssohn symphonies

parla wrote:

It is true the last movement of the Italian caused him substantive trouble and he always wished to revise it. However, he was alone in his anguish. Historically, experts, public and musicians have called this Symphony a perfect work ...

Ah, so public (or fellow forumites') taste does play a part; not just expert/musician diktat.

RE: Mendelssohn symphonies

...If you wish to see it like that, Guillaume.

However, I wouldn't blame the young composer's anguish for a different path to perfection and, definitely, I wouldn't praise my "taste", "opinion" or even perception for whatever the Italian is worth.

Parla

 

RE: Mendelssohn symphonies

I've loved the Scottish & Italian symphonies tremendously. The Scottish is one of those haunting works that hardly ever lets go of you. I can't put my finger on it but it seems to relate to Mendelssohn's depiction of long lost glories. And it's wonderful to have the Scottish & Italian in tandem on a CD, together with the Hebrides.

RE: Mendelssohn symphonies

I dont like this mendelssohn chappie. His symphonies seem very lightweight to my ears. He has no strength, there is something missing, he seems weak. I dont like him at all.

RE: Mendelssohn symphonies

I can concur with you, tjh, but I would not go that far...

(It is a very interesting and nicely formed Symphony, which needs more attention and appreciation than it has, anyway. Likewise, some of his String Orchestra Symphonies are true marvels, e.g. no.8 or 12).

Parla

RE: Mendelssohn symphonies

In this broader aspect of String Orchestra music, you may indulge as well in Shostakovich's First Piano Concerto (Scored for Piano, Trumpet and Strings) and, of course, the superb Bartok's Music for Strings, Percussion and Celesta or the youthful Piano Concerto in a minor (Piano and Strings) by the composer of this thread (another marvel of his brilliant youth).

Parla

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