Mendelssohn, F :: Six Christmas Pieces Op. 72

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  • Composer
    Mendelssohn, F
  • Instrumentation
    Flute & 3 Strings
  • Publisher
    International Music Company (IMC) []
  • Editor
    Bastable, Graham
  • Orchestration
    fl, vn, va, vc
  • Includes CD or Audio Download
    No
  • Classification
    Not Applicable
  • Genre
    Undefined
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Six Christmas Pieces Op. 72
Mendelssohn, F

International Music Company presents Felix Mendelssohn's Six Christmas Pieces Op. 72 transcribed and edited for flute, violin, viola, and cello by Graham Bastable.

'Felix Mendelssohn's Opus 72, a set of six piano pieces composed while staying with his wife's relatives in England during the summer of 1842 (the same visit during which the Scottish Symphony was first heard in England), was first published shortly after the composer died in 1847. The pieces were, as far as we can tell, not meant to convey any specially yuletide character, but they are nevertheless called Six Christmas Pieces, Op. 72, in the original English edition. Significantly, the German edition published by Breitkopf & Hartel in Leipzig (also in 1847) selected the more generic name Kinderstucke, or Children's Pieces -- wholly appropriate, as Mendelssohn composed these half-dozen trinkets for members of his host family.

The Six Pieces are each two or, at most, three pages long. They are not programmatic, and they bear no descriptive titles; still, they are at heart character pieces in something of the same vein as Mendelssohn's famous Seven Character Pieces for piano, Op. 7, of 1827.

Op. 72, No. 1 is marked Allegro non troppo and moves along in a 3/4 time G major whose every downbeat (or nearly every downbeat) carries a dotted rhythm; the piece is a little three-part form. The second piece is an Andante sostenuto filled with silken strands of sixteenth notes in the left hand and a neverending cantabile tune in the right.

The quiet staccati of No. 3 (Allegretto) make it sparkle jovially, while the gentle hemiolas and, toward the end, syncopation of No. 4 (Andante con moto) make its D major sound smooth and warm.

No. 5 (Allegro assai), is the first and only minor-mode piece of the set (G minor), while the snappy offbeat-filled final number (Vivace) is the longest of the set.

The latter ends, as Mendelssohn's pieces so often do, not with a bang but with an elfin whisper that tinkles its way into the upper reaches of the keyboard.'

- Blair Johnston

  • Composer
    Mendelssohn, F
  • Instrumentation
    Flute & 3 Strings
  • Publisher
    International Music Company (IMC) []
  • Editor
    Bastable, Graham
  • Orchestration
    fl, vn, va, vc
  • Includes CD or Audio Download
    No
  • Classification
    Not Applicable
  • Genre
    Undefined
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