The Romantic Era

nineteenth century

(Classical Music Map)


I. History of Classical Music  (by John Stanley)
The great composers and their masterworks in MP3 format
Albeniz Borodin Donizetti Hindemith Prokofiev Schutz
Albinoni Brahms Dowland Janacek Puccini Scriabin
Allegri Britten Dvorak Kodaly Purcell Sibelius
Arne Bruckner Falla Leoncavallo Rachmaninov Smetana
Auber Busoni Field Liszt Rameau Strauss J.S.
Bach Byrd Gabrieli Lully Ravel Strauss R.
Barber Carissimi Gershwin Mahler Respighi Stravinsky
Bartok Charpentier Gesualdo Mendelssohn Rimsky-Korsakov Tallis
Beethoven Cherubini Glinka Meyerbeer Rossini Tchaikovsky
Bellini Chopin Gluck Monteverdi Saint-Saens Telemann
Bernstein Clementi Gounod Mozart Scarlatti Verdi
Berwald Corelli Grieg Mussorgsky Schoenberg Victoria
Berlioz Couperin Handel Pachelbel Shostakovich Villa-Lobos
Bizet Debussy Haydn Paganini Schubert Vivaldi
Boccherini Delibes Hildegard Palestrina Schumann Wagner
Orff  "Carmina Burana"
II. History of Jazz

Felix Mendelssohn



The musical development of the young Mendelssohn was not troubled, as it was for so many others, by struggle and financial hardship. Born in Hamburg, he was the son of rich and cultured parents, whose resources and encouragement were always at his disposal. The family soon moved to Berlin, where he studied the piano with his mother and took lessons in theory with Carl Zeltcr. From the age of 12 he composed prolifically, and his works were performed in the musical salon at the family home that became famous in Berlin. Weber visited in 1821 and made a lasting impression on the young composer.

Mendelssohn was very close to his sister Fanny, also prodigiously talented but lacking the support her brother received. In 1826 they read Shakespeare together, resulting in Mendelssohn's overture A midsummer night's dream. The assured mastery of this work and the radiant Octet of the previous year were astonishing achievements for a boy in his late teens and it is no surprise that he was compared with Mozart. A midsummer night's dream bears the Mendelssohn hallmark of elegant melodic invention, effortlessly interweaving one or two programmatic effects, such as a musical donkey's "hee-haw", without interrupting the musical flow. Later he added other movements to complete the incidental music for the play.

A keen advocate of the music of J.S. Bach, in 1829 Mendelssohn conducted the first performance of the St Matthew Passion since its composer's death, giving a boost to the revival of Bach's works then under way and leading to a performance of sections of the Passion in London in 1837.

About this time he decided to establish himself independently as a professional musician. The Berlin musical scene was not ideal: his only opera had been a failure there in 1827. Other musicians resented his privilege and found him egotistical - complaints that were made more acute because they were mixed with a strain of anti-Semitism against his Jewish family background. It made no difference that Mendelssohn's parents were converted Christians and he himself was baptized.

He then embarked upon a number of tours in search of employment and late in 1 829 arrived in London on the first of ten visits to England. He also toured Scotland, where stunning rock formations on the island of Staffa inspired the Hebrides overture. Mendelssohn's melodic genius was never better displayed than in the main theme of this beautifully lyrical work.

His travels to Scotland and a visit to Italy the following year also provided an impression of the national musical character of the two countries, later translated into the Scotttish and Italian symphonies. Although his melodies are undoubtedly Romantic, these symphonies still keep to the basic Classical forms. Mendelssohn's habit was to compose first for piano and orchestrate later, indicating a Classical concern for structure before colour.

After further travels, including a visit to Paris where lie met Chopin and Liszt, Mendelssohn finally secured a directorial position in Dusseldorf in 1833; but his somewhat despotic approach encountered resistance and in 1835 he moved to Leipzig as conductor at the famous Gewandhaus. This post was more congenial and lasted until 1846. The orchestra's leader was the accomplished violinist Ferdinand David, who became a good friend and inspired the Violin concerto of 1844. Mendelssohn also found happiness in love and in 1837 he married Cecile Jeanrenaud.

He continued to travel, especially to England, where he conducted his oratorio St Paul and, during a later visit in 1842, played for Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, to the screeching accompaniment of the royal parrot.

In 1840 he had proposed the establishment of a conservatoire in Leipzig but was interrupted in his negotiations by an invitation, then virtually a royal command, to go to Berlin as Kapellmeister to the King of Prussia. Again he was greeted rather sourly by musicians and public alike, and soon tendered his resignation. With the compromise of a reduction in his responsibilities, he was able to return to Leipzig, and the Conservatoire opened in 1843.

Mendelssohn continued to conduct at the Gewandhaus and to direct and teach at the Conservatoire. He put heart and soul into his great oratorio Elijah, which he conducted at its premiere in Birmingham in 1846, when it showed Mendelssohn at his most dramatic and romantic. He was already exhausted by travel and overwork when the shattering news of his sister Fanny's death brought on a severe depression. Fits of shivering and head pains followed, leading to a fatal stroke. When he died at just 38, he was mourned especially by Schumann, who felt that Europe had lost a potential successor to Beethoven.

Felix Mendelssohn



Felix Mendelssohn (1809-1847)



Violin Concerto in E minor, op.64

Adam Kostecki 
Violin Concerto in D minor


A Midsummer Night's Dream, op.21
Wedding March

Junge Philharmonie Koln
Symphony no. 4 "Italian"


Joel Abrahamson
Organ Sonata No. 1


Michael Schultheis
Sonata for organ no. 2 in F minor
Allegro maestoso e vivace

Piano Sonata in B flat major, op. 106
Allegro vivace
Scherzo: Allegro non troppo
Andante quasi allegretto - Allegro molto
Allegro moderato

Daniel Gortler
Songs without Words, Vol. I

No. 1 in E major Andante con moto
No. 2 in A minor Andante espressivo
No. 3 in A major "Hunting Song"
No. 4 in A major Moderato
No. 5 in F sharp minor Piano agitato
No. 6 in G minor "Venetian Gondola Song"

No. 1 in E flat major Andante espressivo
No. 2 in B flat minor Allegro di molto
No. 3 in E major Adagio non troppo
No. 4 in B minor Agitato e con fuoco
No. 5 in D major Andante grazioso
No. 6 in F sharp minor

No. 1 in E flat major Con moto
No. 2 in C minor Allegro non troppo
No. 3 in E major Presto e molto vivace
No. 4 in major Andante
No. 5 in A minor Agitato
No. 6 in A flat major

No. 1 in A flat major
No. 2 in E flat major
No. 3 in G minor Presto agitato
No. 4 in F major Adagio
No. 5 in A minor "Folksong"
No. 6 in A major Molto Allegro, vivace
No. 1 in G major Andante espressivo
No. 2 in B flat major Allegro con fuoco
No. 3 in E minor "Funeral March"
No. 4 in G major Allegro con anima
No. 5 in A minor "Venetian Gondola Song"
No. 6 in A major "Spring song"
No. 1 in E flat major Andante
No. 2 in F sharp minor Allegro leggiero
No. 3 in B Flat major Andante tranquillo
No. 4 in C major "Spinning Song" Presto
No. 5 in B minor Moderato
No. 6 in E major Allegretto non troppo
No. 1 in F major Andante espressivo
No. 2 in A minor Allegro agitato
No. 3 in E flat major Presto
No. 4 in D major Andante sostenuto
No. 5 in A major Allegretto
No. 6 in B flat major Allegretto con moto
No. 1 in E minor Andante, un poco agitato
No. 2 in D major Adagio
No. 3 in C major Presto
No. 4 in G minor
No. 5 in A major Allegro vivace
No. 6 in C major Andante



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J.S. Strauss







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