In the first movement I hear an excited young man. At first I thought at an angry young man because of the restless violin part, but no, the cello gives those specific parts something comforting. No anger, but a lot of expectation. Was it what Felix Mendelssohn intended to say with the first movement of his Piano Trio No. 2 in C Minor, op. 66? After all he was a young man at the culmination point of his career as a composer, pianist and conductor. What more did he look for? Felix composed it in 1845, dedicated it to Louis Spohr, whom we have met in an earlier post, and offered it to his sister Fanny as a birthday present.
I don’t know how you feel about it, but I am looking forward to autumn each and every year. Each and every year I enjoy the trees changing their colour, the fresh, misty mornings with glorious sunrises, the still mild evenings with their no less glorious sunsets. And then there is so much lovely music to listen to in fall. Music like Felix Mendelssohn’s Octet in E-flat Major, op. 20.
I imagine him a young man, bursting of energy and creative ideas, actively building a career as a composer, well-educated, versatile, gifted, successful. Felix Mendelssohn. Felix the lucky one. One of my personal favourites among his works is his Piano Concerto No. 2 in D Minor, op. 40. It exudes the personal traits that I attribute to Felix, associated to the genius of Ludwig van Beethoven and a musical language directly derived from Beethoven.
The summer hasn’t begun yet, and already I feel nostalgic like I would at the end of it. But that is entirely Felix Mendelssohn’s fault. So many of his pieces evoke in my mind the end of summer – is that the Romantic disease? Probably. His violin concerto in E minor is a case in point, however today Felix’ chamber music is on my mind: the String Quartet No. 1 in E flat major, Op. 12. It is a very early piece, written in 1829, when Mendelssohn was 20 years old. It has to do with a girl that he hallen fallen in love with, a passion alas that wasn’t reciprocated.