Celebrating the music of Mendelssohn

Across three consecutive weeks in November and December, the Orchestra and Chorus celebrate the glorious music of Felix Mendelssohn - an influential German composer who blended Classical and Romantic styles in pioneering style, creating music that remains as popular and exciting as ever today. 

Tales of Mendelssohn I: A Midsummer Night’s Dream
29 - 30 November 

Laurence Equilbey

MENDELSSOHN A Midsummer Night’s Dream: Incidental Music
MENDELSSOHN Die erste Walpurgisnacht with SCO Chorus

Our first Mendelssohn concert sees the SCO debut of French conductor Laurence Equilbey, known especially for her critically-acclaimed performance of choral repertoire. Mendelssohn’s enchanting music for A Midsummer Nights Dream is one of the most famous Shakespearean scores of all time, capturing the magic and frivolity of the ethereal world Shakespeare created. 

But it is when the Chorus join the Orchestra for Mendelssohn’s Die erste Walpurgisnacht that the real action begins. What exactly does this German title refer to?

Let the singers and orchestra take you on an experience of Walpurgis Night - think Halloween crossed with the Pagan festival, Beltane! In parts of Christendom, particuarly Northern Germany, people continue to light bonfires on Saint Walpurga's Eve in order to ward off evil spirits and witches. Mendelssohn sets Goethe’s tale of ancient Druids outwitting the intolerant local Christians who want to ban their pagan rituals, and quite simply has a lot of choral fun with it. From the cracking overture to the big triumphant close, the pace never lets up. 

Did you know..? German’s great literary figure Goethe reckoned that Mendelssohn was the most amazing child prodigy in musical history. “What about Mozart?” you may ask. According to Goethe, who heard the child Mozart in 1763 and the child Mendelssohn almost sixty years later, Mendelssohn bore “the same relation to the little Mozart that the perfect speech of a grown man does to the prattle of a child.” Ouch…

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Judge Mendelssohn’s talent for yourself! Hear SCO Chorus perform Die erste Walpurgisnacht in Edinburgh (29 Nov) or Glasgow (30 Nov) - TICKETS

Tales of Mendelssohn II: Mendelssohn Symphony No 1
6 - 7 December

Daniele Rustiono

ROSSINI Overture, L’Italiana in Algeri
RESPIGHI Ancient Airs & Dances: Suite I
MENDELSSOHN Two Concert Pieces, Opp 113, 114
MENDELSSOHN Symphony No 1 in C minor

Meet the brilliant Italian conductor Daniele Rustioni. At 34, he has already made starry debuts at opera houses and orchestras in the USA and Europe to huge acclaim. He brings great tunes, life and good humour.

The concert he directs in December is one of pure entertainment. Respighi’s suite is a chocolate box of miniature masterpieces inspired by bestselling Renaissance songs and dances. Mendelssohn’s First Symphony - composed at the age of 15 - was encored so much at its London premiere that the evening went on and on. 

Perhaps the best entertainment comes as SCO’s own fine clarinettists - Maximiliano Martín and William Stafford - step into the spotlight to complete the evening with a brace of duos guaranteed to bring a smile. 

Did you know…? Mendelssohn originally composed his ‘musical party pieces’ for the German virtuoso clarinettist Heinrich Bärmann, generally considered as one of the most outstanding performers of the 1800s and highly influential in the creation of several important composers' works for his instrument, including Carl Maria Von Weber’s two clarinet concertos and concertino. 

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Maximilliano and William perform Mendelssohn's scintillating showpiece in Edinburgh (6 Dec) and Glasgow (7 Dec) - TICKETS

Tales of Mendelssohn II: Mendelssohn and Bach 
13 - 14 December

Karina Canelakkis

MENDELSSOHN Calm Sea and Prosperous Voyage
BACH Violin Concerto in E
BACH (arr WEBERN) Ricercare from A Musical Offering
MENDELSSOHN Symphony No 5 in D ‘Reformation’ 

In the last of three Mendelssohn concerts, American conductor Karina Canellakis pairs Mendelssohn with his idol, the man whose music he described as "The greatest music in the world”: JS Bach. It’s a rare opportunity to hear our Leader Benjamin Gilmore demonstrate his incredible virtuosity and passion as soloist in Bach’s Violin Concerto in E! 

Mendelssohn’s exhilarating and celebratory Symphony No 5 brings a climax to the evening. Written to mark the 300th anniversary of a key date in The Reformation, nonetheless it is the inspiration of Bach that you hear throughout. 

Did you know…? In her 2017 SCO debut, Karina Canellakis "threw herself into the conducting with gutsy, determined gestures" - with exhilarating results! Since then her conducting career has taken off, with a recent appointment as Chief Conductor of the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra.

It has been a remarkable journey for the young New York City born conductor. It was a last-minute conducting triumph with the Dallas Symphony Orchestra that pricked up the music world’s ears! Without even one rehearsal, Karina stepped in and “rose spectacularly to the challenge” (Dallas Morning News) of leading Shostakovich’s formidable Eighth Symphony. We can't wait to welcome Karina back to the SCO to celebrate the music of Mendelssohn and Bach.

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Hear Benjamin’s Bach under the direction of Karina Canellakis in Edinburgh (13) and Glasgow (14 Dec) – TICKETS