The programme includes:
Six Sonatas for Organ, Op.65
Felix Mendelssohn was a German pianist, organist, conductor and composer. He was born in a Jewish family which converted to Protestantism. The wonderful education he received in his youth made him one of the most enlightened people of the age. He knew many foreign languages, was an excellent artist and was a passionate follower of philosophy. A pupil of Zelter and Henning, he also became one of the greatest German pianists, starting to compose his own works at the age of twelve.
His frequent travels to Great Britain (from 1829 to 1847), France (1816, 1825 and 1830) and Italy (1830) brought Mendelssohn international acclaim as a composer.
Having settled in Berlin, he promoted and performed Johann Sebastian Bach’s St Matthew Passion (1829). Later Mendelssohn was appointed Director of Music in Düsseldorf (1833) and he transformed Leipzig into one of Germany’s greatest music centres, directing the Gewandhaus and founding a conservatoire there.
The composer himself was a concert organist. His works for organ formed part of the powerful spectrum of the unbroken German organ tradition. His music was particularly well received in Great Britain, and he gave concerts at St Paul’s Cathedral in London, Christ Church, Westminster Abbey and in Birmingham.
Having absorbed the baroque organ tradition, Mendelssohn gave his works the “spice” of the romantic era, and he may therefore justly be seen as the founding father of a new genre – the romantic organ sonata. Mendelssohn composed six of them (Op. 65). He worked on them with great enthusiasm from 1839-1844. In 1945 they were published by Breitkopf & Härtel in Leipzig, Riсordi in Milan and М. Schlesinger in Paris. Interestingly, the English publication was the first publication of organ music to include tempo instructions for a metronome. The organ sonata gave the composer the opportunity to experiment, freely combining baroque and romantic genre imagery. In his cycles we can find preludes and fugues, a choral partita, a fugue set to a chorale and fantastical forms of different kinds.