Sonata 1 in F minor, Op. 65 – Finale. Allegro assai vivace

by Max Derrickson

Felix Mendelssohn
(Born in Hamburg, Germany in 1809; died in Leipzig, Germany in 1847)

Sonata 1 in F minor, Op. 65
– Finale. Allegro assai vivace (in F Major)

By the early 19th Century, the organ had become one of the most sophisticated machines on earth, becoming more facile, and containing more registers than ever before.  Enticed by its capabilities, composers wrote great works for it during the Romantic period, including Mendelssohn.

Among his many talents, Mendelssohn was one of the early admirers and scholars of “early” music.  Indeed, were it not for Mendelssohn’s (and some of his friends, such as Schumann and Brahms) efforts, some of Bach’s great works may have been lost to the ages.  The musical craft of those great masters who came before him clearly informed Mendelssohn’s work – although certainly capable of Romantic bombast, Mendelssohn preferred the intellectual styles of Mozart and Bach.  A splendid organist and renowned as an early music scholar, Mendelssohn was commissioned in 1844 to write a series of Voluntaries (such as we heard earlier from English composer John Stanley).  Mendelssohn, instead, wrote six full multi-movement organ sonatas.

The sonatas are no small feats as compositions – rich in melody and grace, and demanding for the soloist.  The Finale of Sonata No. 1 is a wonderful moment of Romantic Mendelssohn meets the Baroque: […] a whirlwind of beauty that is soothing and filled with charm.