I.Q. of Famous People

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Jakob Ludwig Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy

Born: 1809
Died: 1847
Nationality: Germany
Description: Composer
IQ: 165
Jakob Ludwig Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy is an orchestra leader and German composer, born in Hamburg on February 3, 1809 and died in Leipzig on November 4, 1847. He is the great-son of the philosopher Moses Mendelssohn.

The son of a wealthy Berlin banker, whose family, who had converted to Christianity, had become an intellectual and artistic reputation that attend, inter alia Hegel and his first master of music, Zelter, he was pointed out very early for his precocity, in particular by Goethe. He runs, at fifteen his first opera. His teacher, the composer Ignaz Moscheles, admits not having much to teach him as he is very talented. At sixteen, he has already made up his twelve symphonies for string orchestra, his first symphony, a string octet, and five concertos for violin or piano. He plays with his older sister Fanny Mendelssohn, also piano virtuoso, with who he remained very close throughout his life.

Musical director of the Leipzig Gewandhaus since 1835, he is asked in Berlin by the Prussian King Frederick William IV in order to reorganize the musical life of the city. He then becomes the European most famous composer of his day, especially in England. At Leipzig, in the years 1840, he befriended the composer Robert Schumann who sees him as the "Mozart of the nineteenth century." He also encourages other composers such as Joseph Joachim Raff or Niels Wilhelm Gade.

Among his most famous works are: Midsummer night’s dream, the Violin Concerto in E minor, Op. 64, symphonies No. 1, No. 3 called The Scottish (actually the 5th in order of composition), and No. 4 The Italian (3rd in order of composition), and some of his 64 romances without lyrics for piano. Unfortunately the knowledge of Mendelssohn’s work is often limited to these, although he has composed many other masterpieces, or at least works of great beauty. Among these are the serious variations for piano op. 54, a real masterpiece of the piano composition of the nineteenth century and in which you can read all the genius of the expression of Mendelssohn. Other master works of Mendelssohn are the two piano trios op. 49 in D minor op. 66 in C minor. If the reputation of the first trio is more than proved, the second trio, however remains fairly unknown to the general public, although it is as beautiful, if not more than Opus 49, with its first movement of great dramatic intensity, its wild typically mendelssohnian scherzo, and its final including a choir, like the 5th symphony, the Reformation.
Finally, one can also cite the octet string op. 20, a work he composed at the age of sixteen, which already reflects a very maturity, seven string quartets, and more particularly the beautiful quartet op. 44 (three quartets) and op. 80, the two concertos for piano and orchestra op. 25 and Op. 40, sonatas for violin and cello…

Mendelssohn was considered during his lifetime as the greatest European composer, and his great friend Robert Schumann had a boundless admiration for him. He is undoubtedly one of the greatest geniuses in music, both as a composer, a pianist (he was a wonderful child prodigy, the equal of Mozart and Saint-Saens) and orchestra leader of the nineteenth century.

The musical style of Mendelssohn, both lyrical and very worked on a formal level (with the frequent use of ostinato), later using dissonances and incisive contrasts, makes him one of the essential composers of the nineteenth century. His orchestral sounds are always very colourful and refined, and he became the master of the scherzo, always very lively (octet, quartets, trios, Midsummer night’s dream, final concertos…).

He has rediscovered the passion of St. Matthew by Johann Sebastian Bach, Georg Friedrich Handel and the 9th symphony of Franz Schubert La Grande of which he led the first representation at the Leipzig Gewandhaus in 1839. His detractors accuse him of writing a perfectly correct and civilized music, aimed above all to remain in the field of suitable, avoiding risk-taking.
Jakob Ludwig Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy is an orchestra leader and German composer, born in Hamburg on February 3, 1809 and died in Leipzig on November 4, 1847. He is the great-son of the philosopher Moses Mendelssohn.

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