Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Berlin Philharmonic: Mendelssohn's The Hebrides

Berlin Philharmonic performs part of the overture from Felix Mendelssohn's The Hebrides (German: Die Hebriden), opus 26, with Pablo Heras-Casado, conducting. Recorded at the Berlin Philharmonie October 22, 2011.
This piece, also known as Fingal's Cave (German: die Fingalshöhle), was composed by Felix Mendelssohn [1809-1847] in 1830 and dedicated to King Frederick William IV of Prussia. The inspiration for the piece is a cavern known as Fingal's Cave on Staffa, an island in the Hebrides archipelago off the west coast of Scotland. As is common with Romantic-era overtures, this work does not precede an opera or a play but is a concert overture.

The first 21 bars were written on August 7, 1829, while the 20-year-old composer was visiting the caves in Scotland. Upon his return to Germany, Mendelssohn is reported to have said to his family about the caves:  "They are not to be described, only played about it."


  1. Mendelssohn is one of several composers who are appreciated but still not sufficiently admired.
    In 2009, there was a concert in New York to celebrate Mendelssohn's 200th birthday. It was all unpublished music, much of it performed for the first time in history.
    After the concert, the music was forgotten once again, although some of it was truly inspiring.

  2. I agree that Mendelssohn is under-appreciated. I have heard about his unpublished music; I wonder why it does not get more notice from orchestras.


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