Felix Mendelssohn’s Nocturno/Overture, Opus 24: A Study in Context, Composition and Performance

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Kevin Geraldi, Associate Director of Bands and Director of Orchestral Activities (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site: http://library.uncg.edu/

Abstract: In 1824, when the popularity of the Harmonie ensemble as a vehicle for court music was waning, the fifteen-year-old Felix Mendelssohn composed what would become an enigmatic staple of the wind band repertoire. Mendelssohn's work, originally composed for the 11-member Harmonie heard at the spa at Bad Doberan but rescored by the composer in 1838 for military band, has been modified to fit modern band instrumentation numerous times, with each subsequent version presenting different performance anomalies. In 2005, urtext performing editions were produced under the expert editorship of Christopher Hogwood and published by Bärenreiter. How can a conductor reconcile these very different editions? Is there a deeper, more meaningful background to this work and what is the significance of its place in Mendelssohn's output? How might some of the challenges of performing this work be solved? In investigating the answers to these questions, this author sought the guidance of two of the world's foremost Mendelssohn scholars, R. Larry Todd and Christopher Hogwood, and he remains indebted to them for their invaluable contributions to this project. Versions of Mendelssohn's composition have always been an important part of chamber wind, wind ensemble, and concert band repertoire as an example of a work for wind instruments by one of history's most respected composers and a representative of early 19th century compositional style. The following study seeks to broaden the contextual frame of this youthful example of Mendelssohn's gifted style in an attempt to help present informed performances that are free of unnecessary complications.

Additional Information

The Journal of Band Research. Vol. 44, No. 2, Spring 2009
Language: English
Date: 2009
Felix Mendelssohn, Wind instruments, Composition, Performance

Email this document to