1823: Mendelssohn: String Symphony No. 11 in F Minor, age 14

Mr. Peabody Says:

For each composer there is a moment when we can hear maturity, a time when the music sounds unique and original. This is one of these times. Everything about this is experimental, fresh and different. I would say this was one of those times when a young composer started to find his own voice.

This time there are five movements, and a Schweizerlied, which seems to have been his thing around this time, and now there is some percussion. Now he is writing for two violas, so for five instruments. The music is longer, now running to over 38 minutes. So the young composer here is more original.

Lev Markiz/Nieuw Sinfonietta Amsterdam

I prefer this for sound.

  1. Adagio – Allegro molto – Adagio – Allegro molto – F major – F minor – F major
  2. Scherzo comodo. Schweizerlied – D minor
    triangle and timpani
  3. Adagio – Eb major
  4. Menuetto: Allegro moderato – F minor – Trio – F major
  5. Allegro molto – F minor

Nicholas Ward/Northern Chamber Orchestra

This is great for looking at the score.

Interesting circle of 5ths:

In the 2nd movement the key is Eb major, but at one moment he is in C major, and to get back to Eb major he takes a little trip, using the circle. He does it HERE, by A7, D7 , G7, C7, F7, Bb7, B, Bmaj7, B7, Bb and back to Eb. But he uses sus chords before each 7, like Dsus7 to D7.


Just what did Mendelssohn have in mind in the 2nd movement? Most likely he was copying young Beethoven, who had a similar idea HERE.

Leave a Comment

Scroll to Top