Digital Program Bychkov

symphony no. 4 in a major, op. 90 ("italian") FELIX MENDELSSOHN (1809-1847) Unlike so many other famous composers, Mendelssohn was born into a financially comfortable and culturally active family. He was an extraordinary child prodigy, a composer who had his first public concert performance at the age of nine. When the most distinguished musicians of the day assured his father Abraham, son of Moshe Mendelssohn, the philosopher and a wealthy banker, that the boy was an authentic genius, nothing was spared to bring him to artistic maturity. Mendelssohn wrote a great deal of music in his youth: thirteen symphonies for strings, several concertos, liturgical and secular, symphonic and chamber music. The influence of the great German poet Goethe on Mendelssohn began in 1821 with their first meeting; Goethe's advice to the young Mendelssohn probably became a building philosophy for his compositions to come. Goethe's philosophy was translated by Mendelssohn into music of clarity, with a hand towards the senses. Mendelssohn's affinity to Bach, Haydn, Mozart and Beethoven suited this philosophy well. At Goethe's suggestion, in 1830 Mendelssohn undertook the Grand Tour of the centres of Classical culture in Italy, which produced the Symphony no. 4 in A major, op. 90, ("Italian"). Despite Mendelssohn's uncomplimentary opinion of the Italian people (he described them as "mentally enervated"), the normally fastidious and rather priggish composer evidently did enjoy the intoxicating dolce vita while he was in Italy. "If I could just send you in this letter one quarter of an hour of all this pleasure, or tell you how life actually flies in Rome, every minute bringing its own memorable delights!", he wrote to his parents. His high spirits are also reflected in the letter he sent his family on 10 October 1830: "This is Italy. What I have been looking forward to all my life as the greatest happiness is now begun and I am basking in it". "The air is warm and the sky cloudless; everything is lovely and glorious" he described Florence. From Rome, Felix wrote to his family on 20 December 1830: "After the new year I intend to resume instrumental music, and write several things for the piano, and probably a symphony of some kind, for two have been haunting my brain". The two were the ones known as the "Scottish" and the "Italian" symphonies. The first one was a reaction to his visit to Scotland the year before, while the "Italian" Symphony grew out of his new experiences in Rome and Naples. By February 1831, he wrote to his beloved ca. 30 mins. Allegro vivace Andante con moto Con moto moderato Saltarello: Presto