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Felix Mendelssohn: Calm Sea and Prosperous Voyage

Here’s a hint: smooth sailing and a successful travels...

Felix Mendelssohn’s programmatic concert overtures are among his most popular works.

Written in 1828, when the precocious composer was only nineteen, this overture followed the even earlier Midsummer Night’s Dream Overture, and was followed by the similarly sea-inspired Hebrides Overture.

The sources of the program were two poems by German philosophical luminary and all-around man-of-letters Johann Wolfgang von Goethe.

While it may seem that the dovetailing of subjects of the two poems might be a natural conclusion, Mendelssohn may also have been inspired by an earlier treatment of the same two poems by Ludwig van Beethoven.

While Beethoven set the text of the poems in a short cantata for chorus and orchestra, Mendelssohn’s entirely orchestral work leaves the image-making entirely to the effective music.

Music Heard On This Episode

Felix Mendelssohn (1809-1847): Calm Sea and Prosperous Voyage
Anton Nanaut/Ljubljana Symphony Orchestra — Mendelssohn: Symphony No. 4; Calm Sea and Prosperous Voyage Overture; Bizet: Symphony in C (Atlantic UK, 1992)
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album cover
Felix Mendelssohn (1809-1847): Calm Sea and Prosperous Voyage
Anton Nanaut/Ljubljana Symphony Orchestra — Mendelssohn: Symphony No. 4; Calm Sea and Prosperous Voyage Overture; Bizet: Symphony in C (Atlantic UK, 1992)
Buy from Amazon »
album cover

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