This week you will be listening to the music of Felix Mendelssohn, a German composer who lived from 1809-1847 living only thirty-eight short years. He demonstrated exceptional talent as a child, which some compare to Mozart, but unlike Mozart, his talent was not exploited by his parents. Mendelssohn pursued his interest in and study of music even though his father tried to persuade him otherwise, and eventually was recognized and well established as a musician in Europe during his lifetime. In addition to composition, Mendelssohn also established the Leipzig Conservatory which is still in operation today, and he was also responsible for reviving interest in the music of Johann Sebastion Bach, whose music had been nearly forgotten for one hundred years.
The Andante and Rondo Capriccioso is a well-known and beloved piece in the piano literature. Listen for the change of mood and tempo between the Andante and the Rondo sections. The Andante presents a beautiful and dignified melody accompanied by rich chords. It seems unhurried and unchangeable. But within a blink we are carried to a completely different landscape. In the Rondo section we are tossed about with the quick motive and staccato touch of the rondo theme. Capriccioso has the same root as our word “capricious” which means quick to change, flighty, and sometimes of a humorous character. Can you hear those qualities in the rondo part of this composition? Also listen for Mendelssohn’s use of scale passages, arpeggios, and octaves. Can you hear any key changes in the rondo movement or changes of tonality?
Andante Rondo Capriccioso Op. 14 played by Enzo Oliva