Composers Datebook®

with host John Birge

Thursday, October 17

Mendelssohn at Starbucks?

Synopsis

On this date in 1831, the 21-year old Felix Mendelssohn conducted a concert in Munich consisting entirely of his own works – a concert that included the premiere of his Piano Concerto in G Minor, with its composer as the soloist.

Mendelssohn was in high spirits and wrote these lines to family:

“It is a glorious feeling to waken in the morning and to know that you are going to write the score of a grand allegro with all sorts of instruments . . . while bright weather promises a cheering, long walk in the afternoon. On the evening of the October 17th at half-past six, think of me, for then I will dash off with thirty violins and two sets of wind instruments [for] my new concerto in G minor. Every morning I have to write, correct and score till one o’clock, when I go to Scheidel’s coffee house in Kaufinger Gasse, where I know each face by heart and find the same people every day in the same position: two playing chess, three looking on, five reading the newspapers, six eating their dinner — with me making up the seventh.”

Unfortunately for posterity, Mendelssohn never said if he recognized any of that coffeehouse crowd sitting in the audience for the performance of his new concerto!

Music Played in Today's Program

Felix Mendelssohn (1809-1847) Piano Concerto No. 1, Op. 25 Cyprien Katsaris, piano; Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra; Kurt Masur, cond Teldec 8.43681

Additional Information

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