The Keyboard in London

My photo
We (Mike Lurie, Greg Dunbar, Lauren Buono, Shawn Riley & Bryn Coveney) are a group of students studying abroad in London for the semester from Ithaca College in Ithaca, New York. This blog is to document our class experiences in "The Keyboard and it's Role in London Society" course, which is being taught by Diane Birr at the Ithaca College London Center, in South Kensington. Our studies focus on keyboard instruments (the Virginal, Harpsichord, Pianoforte, Piano, Organ, Electronic keyboard) and explore how these instruments are historically interwoven with the personal and social fabric of London society.

Wednesday, 19 March 2008

Felix Mendelssohn

Life and Legacy
Mendelssohn was considered by many to be the greatest musical prodigy following Mozart.  After his first performance at the age of 9 and composing twelve symphonies between the ages of 12 and 14, Mendelssohn became one of the most famous musicians of the Romantic period.  
A German pianist and composer, Mendelssohn spoke four languages and was skilled in art, literature and philosophy.  His symphonies, concerti, oratorios, piano and chamber music has recently been revived in a similar way that Mendelssohn himself revived the music of Johann Sebastian Bach well over a century ago.

Revival of Bach's Music
Following two years of rehearsing, Felix Mendelssohn presented a performance of Bach's St. Matthew Passion in Berlin.  With accompaniment provided by an orchestra and choir, Mendelssohn's rendition came exactly one century after Bach's original performance.  This was the first time Bach's piece was heard outside of Leipzig, sparking great interest in his music. Bach's revival started in Germany and eventually spread throughout Europe.  A concert attendee of St. Matthew Passion concert wrote of "Bach's grand, truly Protestant, robust and erudite genius which we have only recently learnt again to appreciate at its full value."

Information provided by Greg

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