Symphony No. 1 (Mendelssohn)

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Symphony No. 1 in C minor
by Felix Mendelssohn
Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy - Bleistiftzeichnung von Eduard Bendemann 1833.jpg
Drawing of the composer by Eduard Bendemann, 1833
KeyC minor
CatalogueOp. 11
Composed1824 (1824)
DedicationPhilharmonic Society
Performed1 February 1827 (1827-02-01)
Published1831 (1831)
Movementsfour

Symphony No. 1 in C minor, Op. 11, is a work by Felix Mendelssohn, which was completed on 31 March 1824, when the composer was only 15 years old. However, the autographed score was not published until 1831.

The work was premièred at a private gathering on 14 November 1824 to honor his sister Fanny Mendelssohn's 19th birthday. Its public première occurred on 1 February 1827, with the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra performing under the leadership of its then-Kapellmeister Johann Philipp Christian Schulz.

The symphony was dedicated to the Philharmonic Society, who performed the London première on May 25, 1829, with Mendelssohn conducting.[1] For this performance Mendelssohn orchestrated the scherzo from his Octet Op. 20 as an alternative third movement for the symphony.

A typical performance lasts half an hour.

London première[edit]

The London première, at a concert of the Philharmonic Society on 25 May 1829, was reviewed in The Harmonicon:[2]

"... though only about one or two-and-twenty years of age, he has already produced several works of magnitude, which, if at all to be compared with the present, ought, without such additional claim, to rank him among the first composers of the age.... Fertility of invention and novelty of effect, are what first strike the hearers of M. Mendelssohn's symphony; but at the same time, the melodiousness of its subjects, the vigour with which these are supported, the gracefulness of the slow movement, the playfulness of some parts, and the energy of others, are all felt.... The author conducted it in person, and it was received with acclamations...."

Instrumentation[edit]

The work is scored for two flutes, two oboes, two clarinets in B, two bassoons, two horns in E and/or C, two trumpets in C, timpani in C, G, and strings.

Movements[edit]

The symphony is in four movements:

  1. Allegro di molto (C minor, 4
    4
    , sonata form. )
  2. Andante (E major, 3
    4
    , sonata form.)
  3. Menuetto: Allegro molto (C minor, 6
    4
    , compound ternary form, with a trio firstly in A major and later in C minor. Compared to the standard minuet & trio form, it is slightly different as there is an extra link to the main minuet after the binary form trio section.)
  4. Allegro con fuoco (C minor, 4
    4
    , sonata form, ending in C major. The primary theme of which bears a striking resemblance to the final movement of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's Symphony No. 40.)

Arrangements[edit]

An arrangement by Mendelssohn himself for piano four hands, violin and cello exists, and has been recorded by the Duo Tal & Groethuysen with Oliver Wille (violin) and Mikayel Hakhnazaryan (cello).

References[edit]

  1. ^ Mercer-Taylor, P. J. The Cambridge Companion to Mendelssohn, CUP (2004)
  2. ^ "The Philharmonic Concerts". The Harmonicon. 7 (7): 173–174. July 1829 – via RIPM.

External links[edit]