218 Symphony No.4 ('Italian')
Down 7 for this, the 2nd of Mendelssohn's 5 entries. Lowest position since 2002.
While the nicknames of many musical works were added after their creation (and often not even by the composers themselves), in the case of Mendelssohn the subtitles given to particular pieces of music were both wholly intentional and immediately revealing. Two of his earlier works — the Scottish Symphony and the Hebrides Overture — were both directly inspired by scenes north of the border, and his Symphony No.4 is a musical postcard home from Italy.
On one level, however, the Italian Symphony is not particularly Italian. Not for Mendelssohn the continuous use of local folk songs or musical traditions; instead, the work is much more an expression of how Italy made him feel. Indeed, it's not until the final movement — some twenty minutes into the symphony — that we first hear a genuinely Italian music motif, in this case the sound of a national peasant dance.
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- Find out more about Mendelssohn on Classic FM
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