The German composer Felix Mendelssohn, whose full name was Jakob Ludwig Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy, was born on the 3rd of February in Germany back in 1809. He was a composer, pianist, organist and was the conductor of the early romantic period within classical music. During his life Mendelssohn wrote varies types of classical pieces, such as symphonies, concertos, oratorios, piano music as well as chamber music. Felix was born into a prominent Jewish family, although he was brought up without being pushed into religion and at the age of seven he was baptised as a Reformed Christian. His early musical talents were noted and he was considered to be a prodigy, his parents however were cautious of this fact and decided that he should not seek to capitalize on his talent.
Mendelssohn’s work is instantly recognizable for any regular listner of classical music, and some of his most well known works include his Overture and incidental music for A Midsummer Night’s Dream, the Italian Symphont, the Scottish Symphone, and the overture The Hebrides. Whilst his work is considered to be brilliant by today’s standards, at the time Felix found trouble gaining popularity with his work owing to changing musical tastes of the general public as well as antisemitic attitudes which were prevalent in a number of countries in the late 19th and the early 20th centuries. Thankfully for fans of classical music however, his work has been re-evaluated and given its rightful place as some of the best music that was composed during the romantic era.
Felix was about to enjoy some success earlier on in his career in Germany, and his work managed to revive interest in the music of Johann Sebastian Bach, in particular with Felix’s performance of the St Matthew Passion which he performed in 1829.
When Felix began to travel he became very well received in a number of the countries that he visited and played in. In particular he visited Britain ten times during his career and many of his major works were premiered in Britain at that time. Felix was known for his more conservative musical tastes and eventually he went on to form a society, the Leipzig Conservatoire, as a bastion of his anti-radical outlook on both life and of music.