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Felix Mendelssohn


Op.67, No.6 - Cradle Song

Songs without Words No.36

Emir Gamsız, piano


This piece is in the album:

"Classical Lullabies"

Read about the album: Click here.

Read about the composer: Click here.

Read about the pianist: Click here.

Listen to the preview:


All compositions in Op.67 - Songs Without Words, including this Lullaby, are dedicated to Sophie Rosen. Sophie Rosen was the wife of Karl Klingemann, one of Mendelssohn's closest friends, and she and her friend had been with them since they met. It was not Mendelssohn, but the broadcasters who nicknamed his Song No.6 "Cradle Song". We can attribute the fact that this Songs Without Words  which is a cradle song has a slightly more cheerful pace than the other lullabies in the Classical Lullabies album, probably due to the cheerful character of Mendelssohn's name (Felix).

Songs Without Words (Lieder ohne Worte) is a short series of lyrical piano songs written by romantic composer Felix Mendelssohn between 1829 and 1845. His sister Fanny Mendelssohn and other composers also wrote works of the same genre, following Felix Mendelssohn.

Felix Mendelssohn's biography is the story of a successful man; he was happy that his first name made him an entrepreneur, rich, famous, devoted son, husband, and father, but at the end of his life he collapsed after the death of his favorite friend, his sister Fanny. Felix was unable to attend her funeral, but his later visit to her grave in Berlin drove him in such a sad state that it triggered the rapid decline that brought his own demise in less than two months. Brother and sister maintained a close relationship, almost like two halves of a single being. Together they conceived the idea of ​​composing what appeared to be a paradox on paper: "Songs Without Words". Since the piano is a natural instrument for both, they must have written songs without text to each other throughout their childhood as a game or riddle on the keyboard. In the letter that Fanny wrote years later on September 7, 1838, he reminded Felix of their joke like pieces that they only wrote to have fun as children. He says that these jokes are now used by great artists and for publicity. For them, stripped of everything superfluous, reduced to original, simple but not insignificant pieces were now distorted in the hustle and bustle of this "upside down [verkehrte] world" (Fanny's expression in the same letter).

As Felix wrote to his publisher Simrock a few months later, "a lot of piano music of this kind is currently being composed," and unless one had the ability to "find a different vein", he would not have taken over the market with it. But, according to Mendelssohn, the apparent paradox of the new piano genre did not really exist, as he implicitly believed in the power of textless music to convey concrete emotions, as he explained in a letter to his former student Marc-André Souchay on October 15. In 1842, he wrote: "They [words] too seem to me so ambiguous, so vague, so equivocal in comparison with real music, which fills one’s soul with a thousand things better than words do. For me, a piece of music that I love does not express thoughts too indefinite to be expressed in words, but, on the contrary, too definite. . . . because only the melody [Lied] can say the same thing, awaken the same feeling, in one person as in another – though that feeling may not be expressed in the same words".