FOCUS SERIES: An Evening with the Mendelssohns


Monday, January 15, 2018 7:00PM
THE PLAZA LIVE

FOCUS SERIES:  An Evening with the Mendelssohns







Eric Jacobsen, conductor

FANNY MENDELSSOHN     Melody in C-sharp minor
JANÁCEK     Idyla
FELIX MENDELSSOHN     Scherzo from A Midsummer Night's Dream
FANNY MENDELSSOHN     Notturno in G minor
SIBELIUS     Valse triste
FELIX MENDELSSOHN     Symphony No. 3 in A minor "Scottish"

Felix Mendelssohn and his older sister Fanny grew up making music together, with Felix becoming one of history’s most brilliant, well-known composers and Fanny’s music being largely unknown, mostly because both Felix and their father discouraged her from having her music published. Unlike Felix, most of Fanny’s music was never performed publicly during her life, but in private musical salon settings, a constraint based on the gender roles of the time. Fanny and Felix were extremely close. Felix was devastated by Fanny’s death at age 41; the string quartet he composed shortly after her death was subtitled “Requiem for Fanny.” Felix died just six months after his sister.

Felix wrote the “Scottish” Symphony after a visit to Scotland in 1829. He wrote to his sister Fanny: "In the deep twilight we went today to the palace [Holyrood] where Queen Mary lived and loved...The chapel below is now roofless. Grass and ivy thrive there and at the broken altar where Mary was crowned Queen of Scotland. Everything is ruined, decayed, and the clear heavens pour in. I think I have found there the beginning of my 'Scottish' Symphony."

Janácek is one of the most well-known Czech composers, after Dvorák and Smetana. Written in 1878, there is no doubt that Janácek’s Idyll for String Orchestra was heavily influenced by his good friend Antonin Dvorák’s Serenade for Wind Instruments. Dvorák was in the audience at the first performance of Idyll later that same year. The music is elegant with clear references to both Czech and Moravian folk music.