Mendelssohn's Instrumental Music
Structure and Style
What is it that makes Mendelssohn's music recognizably unique? This study hopes to make a contribution to the answer through an analysis of an extensive sample of Mendelssohn's instrumental music. I...
What is it that makes Mendelssohn's music recognizably unique? This study hopes to make a contribution to the answer through an analysis of an extensive sample of Mendelssohn's instrumental music. I identify a compositional practice which I believe to be a hallmark of his style: the smoothing over of formal junctures of various types. By and large, Mendelssohn's dynamic treatment of formal junctures reflects a general concern with enhancing continuity andmomentum in longer forms, a compositional issue that has always presented a challenge to composers in the Western music tradition. The main purpose of our investigation, then, is to delineate the specific techniques that Mendelssohn used in his characteristic effort to bridge over formal divisions. Numerous of Mendelssohn's works reveal a clear (and evidently deliberate) propensity to create larger continuities by means of bridging over divisions, regardless of the formal prototype or level of structure. At the same time, an almost Mozartian clarity of form often is preserved. This might at first seem contradictory, but Mendelssohn, as I shall attempt to demonstrate, was able tofind ingenious ways of having his his cake and eating it, too.