A brilliant score in the hands of a titan like Jordi Savall
“So, good night unto you all.
Give me your hands,
If we be friends,
and Robin shall restore amends.”
William Shakespeare (1564-1616), A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Act V - Final Monologue - Puck)
When Felix Mendelssohn was a teenager, Shakespeare’s plays became very popular in Germany in the translations of a relative of the Mendelssohn family. In the summer of 1826, when he was seventeen, he and his sister Fanny spent many afternoons in the garden of their Berlin home reading Shakespeare aloud and sometimes acting out the various roles. They were especially captivated by A Midsummer Night’s Dream, a fairy tale of enormous poetic beauty.
In July and August, the 17-year-old composer wrote a brilliant piece that is a perfect reflection of these qualities: A Midsummer Night’s Dream Overture. In its first version it was a duet for piano four hands. In December, he orchestrated it and, in February, the work premiered in a symphony concert.
Years later, in 1843, King Friedrich Wilhelm IV of Prussia asked Mendelssohn to write incidental music to be played during a full theatrical performance of the work for his new palace theatre. The composer provided 13 new numbers; he was 34 years old and had created a masterpiece. However, he did follow the play closely, indicating the situations from the drama itself and creating a delightful portrait of all its characters: fairies, Oberon, Titania, Puck...
The night, that surreal space in which reality and fiction are confused and create a dreamlike world, and defined limits are confused in the senses. New perspectives that require the creation of new sounds. A dreamscape that Mendelssohn knew how to take advantage of by seeking originality with subtlety, genius, imagination and infinite ideas.
A brilliant score in the hands of a titan like Jordi Savall, who continues to expand his repertoire; not in vain does he take on Mendelssohn, the composer who organised the first hearing of the St Matthew Passion in Leipzig in 1829, almost 80 years after Bach’s death.
With the support of the Culture Department of the Generalitat de Catalunya.
Co-financed by the European Union.
With the generous support of Aline Foriel-Destezet.
With the financial support of the Direction Régionale des Affaires Culturelles Occitanie.
With the support of:
- Approximate running time 2h
Symphony No 4 in A major, Op. 90 “Italian”
A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Op. 21, Op. 61