Felix Mendelssohn Hebrides Overture (Fingal’s Cave): February 1809 – 4 November 1847
Mendelssohn was born in Hamburg, Germany and was a composer, pianist, organist and conductor of the early romantic period. This work, though labelled as a concert overture, is intended to stand as a complete work. It does not tell a specific story and is not “about” anything; instead, the piece depicts a mood and “sets a scene”, making it an early example of such musical tone poems. Composed in 1830, it was inspired by one of Mendelssohn’s trips to the British Isles, specifically an 1829 excursion to the Scottish island of Staffa, with its basalt sea cave known as Fingal’s Cave.
He at first called the work To the Lonely Island but then settled on The Hebrides. He was so impressed that he scribbled the opening theme of the overture on the spot, including it in a letter he wrote home the same evening. However, in 1834, the year after the first publication, Breitkopf & Härtel issued an edition with the name Fingalshöhle (Fingal’s Cave) and this title stuck.
At the age of 38, Mendelssohn died in Leipzig after a series of strokes.
Fun Fact: Mendelssohn was an enthusiastic visual artist who worked in pencil and watercolor, a skill which he enjoyed throughout his life.
Our Winter Concert: Romantic Riches
To watch and listen to Mendelssohn’s piece live, join us February 25, 2018 for our second concert of the 2017/2018 season as we travel back in time for an evening with Mendelssohn, Brahms and Dvorak at the La Mirada Theatre for the Performing Arts.
Guest Performers: Sorah Myung, Violin and Greg Adamson, Cello
Mendelssohn – Hebrides Overture (Fingal’s Cave)
Brahms – Concerto for Violin and Cello
Dvorak – Symphony No. 6