MAKE MUSIC PART OF YOUR LIFE SERIES: Felix Mendelssohn Symphony No 5 D major minor ‘Reformation’ S. Baudo OSI

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Felix Mendelssohn Symphony No 5 D major minor ‘Reformation’ S. Baudo OSI

 
watercolour portrait against blank background of a young man with dark, curly hair, facing the spectator: dressed in fashionable clothes of the 1830s, dark jacket with velvet collar, black silk cravat, high collar, white waistcoat

Portrait of Mendelssohn by James Warren Childe, 1839

The Symphony No. 5 in D major/D minor, Op. 107, known as the Reformation, was composed by Felix Mendelssohn in 1830 in honor of the 300th anniversary of the Presentation of the Augsburg Confession. The Confession is a key document of Lutheranism and its Presentation to Emperor Charles V in June 1530 was a momentous event of the Protestant Reformation. This symphony was written for a full orchestra and was Mendelssohn’s second extended symphony. It was not published until 1868, 21 years after the composer’s death – hence its numbering as ‘5’. Although the symphony is not very frequently performed, it is better known today than it was during Mendelssohn’s lifetime.

Key

The key of the symphony is stated as D major on the title page of Mendelssohn’s autograph score. However, only the slow introduction is written in D Major, whereas the main theme and the cadence setting of the first movement are in D minor. The composer himself referred to the symphony on at least one occasion as in D minor.[5]

Instrumentation

The symphony is scored for 2 flutes, 2 oboes, 2 clarinets, 2 bassoons, “serpente” (possibly a serpent[6]) and contrabassoon (fourth movement only, now usually played on the contrabassoon alone), 2 horns, 2 trumpets, 3 trombones, timpani and strings.

Form

The symphony is in four movements:

  1. Andante — Allegro con fuoco
  2. Allegro vivace
  3. Andante
  4. Andante con moto — Allegro maestoso
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2 responses to “MAKE MUSIC PART OF YOUR LIFE SERIES: Felix Mendelssohn Symphony No 5 D major minor ‘Reformation’ S. Baudo OSI

  1. Pingback: Felix Mendelssohn: Symphony No.3 – Blomstedt/RCO(2008Live): Great compositions/performances | euzicasa

  2. Pingback: Mendelssohn / String Symphony No. 2 in D major: make music part of your life series | euzicasa

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