Scottish Symphony

Hello all,

This week’s music is the fourth movement of Mendelssohn’s Symphony No. 3, nicknamed the “Scottish” Symphony.

Over the course of his life, Mendelssohn developed a deep attachment to Scotland. He spent the academic year in Leipzig but escaped to Scotland for the summers. Many of his greatest compositions were inspired by his adventures in Scotland, including both the “Fingal’s Cave” Overture and the “Hebrides” Overture. During the summer of 1829, Mendelssohn departed on a walking tour of Scotland with his friend Karl Klingemann. He was inspired by a visit to historic Holyrood Chapel in northern Scotland to write the “Scottish” symphony you’ll enjoy today.

You will hear the fourth and final movement of the symphony. (Those of you who have been with us for a while will remember that symphonies almost always have four movements). Listen for the elements of Scottish folk music – almost bagpipe-like – that Mendelssohn incorporates into this movement. (A good example is at 7:28).