Back in 2009, I did an internet search one day to see if there were any fellow composers living near me. To my surprise the top search result was a brief article on Felix Mendelssohn’s visit to North Wales, UK! In all the years that I had known of Mendelssohn and his music, I had never heard of him coming to North Wales, especially as he stayed for ten days in the little village of Rhydymwyn which is a mere seven miles away from my house! My excitement was further heightened when I read in the article, that as well as working on several of his famed compositions during his stay, he also wrote three piano pieces specifically for the daughters of his host as a farewell present! As a pianist and composer myself, I impatiently waited for these compositions to arrive in the post so that I could find out what this great nineteenth century musical legend had written in my very own community! More information was contained in the music book’s Preface which intrigued me further and set me on a fascinating journey of research into a little known area of music history, even amongst locals!
Let me share with you a little of what I’ve discovered so far on my adventure…
First of Ten Visits to Britain, 21st April – 28th November, 1829
In 1829, the famous German composer Mendelssohn visited Britain for the first time. He was just 20 years old and having completed his education, his wealthy banking father offered to fund a three year tour of Europe to help him “find himself as a man and as an artist.” After several months soaking up the rich music scene in London, Mendelssohn journeyed up to Scotland with his travelling companion Karl Klingemann and there found inspiration for what would later become his ‘Scottish’ Symphony No. 3 in A minor (op. 56) and his Hebrides Overture ‘Fingal’s Cave’ (op. 26). After departing from Glasgow and journeying through the Lake District on the top of the Mail Coach at the impressive speed of