Sunday Concert: Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy (1809-1847): Violin Concerto in E Minor Op 64 — Frank-Michel Erben, Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra

"I should like to write a violin concerto for you next winter. One in E minor runs through my head, the beginning of which gives me no peace."

In 1835 Mendelssohn was appointed principal conductor of the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra and named childhood friend and musical collaborator the violinist Ferdinand David as the orchestra’s concertmaster. The Violin Concerto in E Minor Op 64 springs from this musical and personal friendship that was so important to Mendelssohn, on July 30th 1838 he wrote to David saying that he had an idea for a violin concerto in E Minor that would give him no peace. But it was six years before it was completed. Many factors contributed to this delay not least Mendelssohn’s self-doubt, his third symphony and his unhappy sojourn in Berlin following a request from King Frederick William IV of Prussia. Throughout the years of its composition Mendelssohn kept up a regular correspondence with David seeking his technical and compositional advice. It was finally completed on September 16th 1844, and was first performed in Leipzig on March 13th 1845 with David as soloist his friend the Danish composer Niels Gade as conductor. (Mendelssohn was to ill to be able to conduct). It was a great success, it’s Mendelssohn’s last orchestral work, and it’s a dynamic and elemtal piece of music that’s a fitting finale to a career that included such masterpieces as the Italian and Scottish symphonies, the Octet, and the Overture to A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

I’ve picked this particular performance because while there are several excellent performances of it on YouTube such as the one by given by Maxim Vengerov and the  Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra  or the performance given by Janine Jansenand the BBC Symphony Orchestra at the proms, in this performance by Frank-Michel Erben and the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra Erben obeys Mendelssohn’s to play Allegro molto appassionato a passion which shines throughout the entire performance. Enjoy :-).


Video Source: MENDELSSOHN Violin Concerto in E Minor Op 64 Bartholdy – YouTube Uploaded on 8 Jul 2011

4 thoughts on “Sunday Concert: Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy (1809-1847): Violin Concerto in E Minor Op 64 — Frank-Michel Erben, Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra

    • There are plenty of good performances, even excellent performances, but this one is one my favourites because it seems to me that it’s being played as Mendelssohn wanted it to be played. Glad you liked it.


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