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Mendelssohn-Bartholdy, Felix, 1809-1847



  • Existence: February 3, 1809 - November 4, 1847


This autograph would have been written shortly after Mendelssohn’s return to London on August 18th of the same year. On August 22nd Mendelssohn completed and delivered his score for On Lena’s Gloomy Heath to the Bass Henry Phillips. This commission was issued by Phillips around the time of the English premiere of the Scottish Symphony. What Phillips wanted was a new piece for Bass and String Orchestra. For his texts, Phillips chose Macpherson’s Fingal, In order to capture the dark imagery of these texts, Mendelssohn decided to return to an earlier type of writing in which he captured the brooding nature of the Scottish countryside, namely the compositional styles employed in his Hebrides Overture, and the Scottish Symphony. On August 26th Mendelssohn attended the premier of his oratorio Elijah at the Birmingham Music Festival. The eight bars scrolled on this note are not from On Lena’s Gloomy Heath , or Elijah; however, they are in both in the same key, and composed in the same style as his Hebrides overture, the piece that he had been revisiting that year.