As a fan of classical music, Tunde Folawiyo is doubtless familiar with the work of Felix Mendelssohn. Of all the musical prodigies of the 19th century, Mendelssohn was the only one whose talent and reputation could rival Mozart’s. Born in Hamburg in 1908, he was a precocious child, with an obvious gift for music. Whilst his parents supported his and his sister’s talents, by giving them violin and piano lessons, they were not eager to push them into the limelight during their younger years.
However, Mendelssohn’s talent was such that it could not be ignored, and he ended up giving his first public performance at the age of nine. The following year, he was enrolled in the Berlin Singakademie, and it was at this point that his compositional skills began to flourish. At the age of 12, he wrote a male quartet piece, a small opera, a cantata, several songs, two sonatas for the piano, and one for the violin. In 1826, he produced what would be one of his greatest works, ‘Overture to a Midsummer Night’s Dream’; this is a piece which all music lovers, including Tunde Folawiyo, have probably heard of.
Mendelssohn had also been trained in conducting at Singakademie, and so, in addition to composing, he also worked in this profession. His conducting of ‘St Matthew’s Passion’ in 1829 was an enormous success, which led to Mendelssohn receiving many new opportunities, one of which was a chance to serve as a conductor to London Philharmonic Society.
He then spent a number of years travelling internationally, working as a touring pianist. He returned to his homeland in 1833, to accept a position in Dusseldorf as a music director. In this role, he prepared music for use in local church services, and conducted the orchestral and choral orchestras. He remained here for two years, before going on to serve as the director of the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra. At the age of 33, he was introduced to Prince Albert and Queen Victoria; this encounter left such a positive impression on Mendelssohn that he chose to dedicate the ‘Scottish’ symphony to Her Majesty.
After his sister died in the spring of 1947, Mendelssohn’s health began to deteriorate; he had been very close to his sibling, and was devastated by the loss. A few months later, after suffering a small stroke, he passed away.
Classical music is one of Folawiyo’s favourite genres. To learn more about his musical tastes, follow Tunde Folawiyo on Google Plus.