Another Child Prodigy

Jul 13, 2017

You would be hard-pressed to find a person with any knowledge of music who didn’t know of Mozart’s history as a child prodigy. But far fewer know that another young and well-known musician was also a genius. His name was Felix Mendelssohn.

Portrait of Mendelssohn by the English miniaturist James Warren Childe

Mendelssohn’s musical talent blossomed at an early age. He began taking piano lessons from his mother when he was six, and at seven was tutored by Marie Bigot in Paris. The great writer Goethe may have been the first to compare Mendelssohn to Mozart when speaking with Mendelssohn’s other teacher, Zelter:

"Musical prodigies ... are probably no longer so rare; but what this little man can do in extemporizing and playing at sight borders the miraculous, and I could not have believed it possible at so early an age." "And yet you heard Mozart in his seventh year at Frankfurt?" said Zelter. "Yes", answered Goethe, "... but what your pupil already accomplishes, bears the same relation to the Mozart of that time…”

This week’s Symphonies of Iowa features works by both prodigies. Mendelssohn’s impressions of the Italian landscape inspired his popular Symphony No. 4. Orchestra Iowa’s principal French horn, Charles “Andy” Harris, as soloist performs Mozart’s complex and endearing Horn Concerto No. 4. Also making an appearance is Beethoven’s Symphony No. 6, Pastorale, inspired by bird calls, calming streams, and country life. Please tune in on Monday, July 17th at 7 p.m. for this Symphonies of Iowa broadcast!


MENDELSSOHN           Symphony No. 4, The Italian

MOZART                        Horn Concerto No. 4 in E-flat Major, K.495

BEETHOVEN                 Symphony No. 6, Pastoral


Charles “Andy” Harris, horn

Timothy Hankewich, Music Director & Conductor

(Concert recorded Oct. 14-15, 2016)