Born February 3, 1809, Hamburg, Germany
Died November 4, 1847, Leipzig, Germany
Shortly after his twentieth birthday, Felix Mendelssohn accepted an invitation from diplomat Klingemann to travel to London. Introduction into the salons and social life there paved the way for Mendelssohn to appear in four large scale concerts, including his first Symphony, Op. 11. After the concert season, he traveled to Edinburgh where his impressions formed the basis of the Scottish Symphony. On the way to the Scottish highlands, Mendelssohn visited Sir Walter Scott in Abbottsford and made a stormy crossing to the island of Staffa. There, 'Fingal's Cave' was the inspiration for his overture Die Hebriden (originally called Die einsame Insel, The Lonely Island). In 1830, Mendelssohn, then just 21, was offered the chair of music at the University of Berlin, but declined, recommending a friend instead. In may of 1830, he began a journey to Italy as suggested by his friend Goethe. In Rome, Mendelssohn completed the overture Die Hebriden and began composition of the Italian Symphony. In the spring of 1832, Mendelssohn returned to London where the concert season included performances of Die Hebriden and Midsummer Night's Dream overtures.
Program Notes by Rita Junker Pickar, 2002