Jun 23, 2022
How does a composer capture the spirit of a country, especially if it's not his native land? Mendelssohn, in his Italian Symphony, gives us one of the best examples of someone doing just that, giving us a tightly integrated, yet highly independent set of 4 snapshots from his travels all over Italy. And yet, despite the piece being called the Italian Symphony and being indelibly associated with the country, the symphony remains a relatively traditional 4 movement German classical symphony. What we hear then is a brilliant amalgamation of a symphony and a tone poem that is among the first of its kind. The symphony tells no story, has no narrative, and yet, when we finish the breathless Tarantella that ends the piece, we feel like we’ve been flicking through a photo album of Felix’s vacation, smiling (mostly) all along the way. Today we’ll talk all about how Mendelssohn builds this symphony and how each movement captures such a distinctive character, while remaining Mendelssohnian to its core - kind, warm-hearted, and full of bubbling energy. Join us!