Sinfonia No.9 (String Symphony) in C Major
For 4 Violins, 2 Violas, Cello & Bass
Felix Mendelssohn's String Symphony No.9 dates from 1823 at which time he was 14 years old. Although it was, like the others, an assignment in counterpoint from his composition teacher Carl Zelter, it is nonetheless a finished work. It is perhaps the best known of the 13 so called string symphonies because publishers gave it the name "Swiss Symphony" as it was written just after the Mendelssohn family had vacationed in Switzerland. Zelter's gods of composition were Johann Sebastian Bach, Mozart and Haydn and it was these three composers who served as the young Mendelssohn's models for his string symphonies. For example, whenever he uses a fugue, the style is clearly that of Bach. There is no better example of this stylistic (not melodic) borrowing than the beautiful Andante of this symphony, which is directly out of Bach's Art of the Fugue. The work begins with a slow, Grave introduction in c minor which leads to the lively main section of the first movement Allegro in C Major. The gorgeous Andante which comes next is perhaps the most memorable of all of the early symphonies. In the outer sections only the violins play while in the middle section only the violas, cello and bass. A short buoyant Scherzo with trio follows before an vibrant Allegro vivace concludes the work.
It is ironic that while none of these early sinfonia as he called them were intended to be played by the massed string section of a modern symphony orchestra or even the size of today's chamber orchestra, that is the only way these works seem to be heard. But Mendelssohn intended this work for eight players not more. These lovely pieces were meant for home use and for musical soirees. Long out of print, we are pleased to reintroduce a work which makes a fine selection for octet or small string orchestra.
Parts & Score: $53.95