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."