When Mendelssohn learned from his publisher Nikolaus Simrock that he was to receive an additional honorarium for a part of his “Lieder ohne Worte”, he effusively thanked him for this gift. However, the gift that Mendelssohn, in his turn, made to posterity with these Songs Without Words could probably not have been foreseen even by him at the time. These “Original Melodies”, “Romanzen” or “Clavierstücke”, which only later gained the title “Lieder ohne Worte”, enjoyed great success during the composer’s lifetime, and should be included amongst the most rewarding pieces of 19th-century piano literature. Our volume contains the complete “Lieder ohne Worte” published during his lifetime and posthumously.
- Level of difficulty (Explanation)
- Other titles with this level of difficulty
- Songs without Words op. 19
About the composer
Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy
A German composer, conductor, pianist, and organist who already numbered among the most important composers in Europe during his lifetime. While still young he found a unique tonal language. Reflected in his oeuvre, which spans all genres, are the contradictory tendencies of the age – Classicism and Romanticism. His endeavors over the course his life to perform the works of Johann Sebastian Bach led to a “rediscovery” of that composer which continues unabated. His intensive engagement with Bach and his counterpoint influenced his own compositional technique.
|1809||Born into a wealthy banker’s family in Hamburg on February 3. Escape to Berlin with his parents in 1811. First musical instruction from his mother.|
|1819||He becomes a pupil of Carl Friedrich Zelter.|
|1820||Joins the Sing-Akademie in Berlin.|
|1821–23||Twelve sinfonias for strings.|
|1825||String Octet in E-flat major, Op. 20.|
|1826||Overture to “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” Op. 21|
|1827||Begins studies at the University of Berlin.|
|1829||Revival of Bach’s St. Matthew Passion in Berlin on March 11 and 21. Travels to England and Scotland.|
|1829–30||“Reformation” Symphony in D minor, [Op. 107], with inclusion of the choral “Ein feste Burg“ (A Mighty Fortress Is Our God.)|
|1830–32||Extended travels, including to Italy and France. Piano Concerto in G minor, Op. 25; Overture in B minor, Op. 26, “The Hebrides, or Fingal’s Cave” (1829–30).|
|1833||Music director in Düsseldorf. “Italian” Symphony in A major, Op. 90 (1830–33).|
|1835||Director of the Gewandhaus concerts in Leipzig.|
|1836||Premiere in Düsseldorf of his oratorio “St. Paul: Oratorio on Words of the Holy Bible,” Op. 36.|
|1838-44||Violin Concerto in E minor, Op. 64.|
|1840||Composition of “Hymn of Praise, a Symphony-Cantata on Words of the Holy Bible,” Op. 52.|
|1841||Berlin, in the service of the Prussian king. “Variations sérieuses” in D minor, Op. 54, for piano.|
|1842||Completion of Symphony No. 3 (“Scottish”) in A minor, Op. 56, with a songlike opening.|
|1843||Incidental music to Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” Op. 61. Director of the newly founded Leipzig Conservatory.|
|1846||Premiere of his oratorio “Elijah,” Op. 70, in Birmingham.|
|1847||String Quartet in F minor, [Op. 80]. Death in Leipzig on November 4.|
About the authors
Trotz des kleinen Formats bleibt die bei Henle gewohnte Qualität erhalten: der Notendruck ist durchgängig sehr gut lesbar und übersichtlich, ein Vorwort (auf Deutsch, Englisch und Französisch) informiert über Werkentstehung und Veröffentlichungen und ein Kritischer Bericht gibt im Anhang Auskunft über die verschiedenen Quellen und Lesarten.
La succession de ces 48 pièces lyriques libres (plus le Reiterlied) offre au lecteur un champ d'exploration très vaste dans l'imaginaire harmonique et formel inépuisable de Mendelssohn. Tout étudiant en musique ou en musicologie se doit de les avoir étudiées et les Editions Henle leur offrent la possibilité de le faire en toutes circonstances dans un format facilement transportable.