Five essential works by Mendelssohn

We choose the best pieces by the ultimate child prodigy

Five essential works by Mendelssohn


Did he really write this at just 16 years old? An astonishingly accomplished work – written for two string quartets – that established the teenage Mendelssohn as one of the leading composers of his day.

Recommended recording:
Kodaly Quartet, Auer Quartet
Naxos 8.557270




As a champion of JS Bach, it is fitting that Mendelssohn should have written the most important oratorio of the 19th century. Biblical in subject matter and scale, it combines intense drama with sublime choral writing. 

Recommended recording:
Soloists; London Symphony Orchestra & Chorus/Richard Hickox
Chandos CHAN8774





Violin Concerto in E minor

By far the better known of Mendelssohn’s two violin concertos (the other is in D) begins with a searingly beautiful melody and ends with a display of virtuosity.

Recommended recording:
Anne-Sophie Mutter (violin); Gewandhausorchester Leipzig/Kurt Masur
DG 477 8001



Symphony No. 4, ‘Italian’

Mendelssohn opens the shutters, takes a large, contented breath and lets the Italian sunshine flood in in this, the most joyously uplifting of his five symphonies. 

Recommended recording:
London Symphony Orchestra/Abbado
Decca 475 8677



Piano Trio No. 2

Beautifully crafted interplay between piano, violin and cello is rounded off by a chorale that leaves the listener with the sense that all is well with the world.

Recommended recording:
Trio Wanderer
Harmonia Mundi HMC901961




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