Violin Concerto in E minor, Op. 64
is his last large orchestral work. It forms an important part of the
repertoire and is one of the most popular and most frequently performed
of all time. A typical performance lasts just under half an hour. Mendelssohn originally proposed the idea of the violin concerto to
, a close friend and then
Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra
. Although conceived in 1838, the work took another six years to complete and was not
until 1845. During this time, Mendelssohn maintained a regular correspondence with David, seeking his advice with the concerto. The work itself was one of the first violin concertos of the
era and was influential to the compositions of many other composers.
Wilhelm Richard Wagner (; German pronunciation:
[ˈʁi.çaʁt ˈvaɡ.nɐ]; 22 May 1813,
Germany – 13 February 1883,
Italy) was a
conductor, theatre director and
essayist, primarily known for his
operas (or "
music dramas", as they were later called). Unlike most other great opera composers, Wagner wrote both the
libretto for his works.
Richard Wagner was born at no. 3 ('the House of the Red and White Lions'), the
Leipzig, on 22 May 1813, the ninth child of Carl Friedrich Wagner, who was a clerk in the Leipzig police service. Wagner's father died of
typhus six months after Richard's birth, following which Wagner's mother, Johanna Rosine Wagner, began living with the actor and playwright
Ludwig Geyer, who had been a friend of Richard's father. In August 1814 Johanna Rosine married Geyer, and moved with her family to his residence in
Dresden. For the first 14 years of his life, Wagner was known as Wilhelm Richard Geyer. Wagner may later have suspected that Geyer was in fact his biological father, and furthermore speculated incorrectly that Geyer was Jewish.
Geyer's love of the theatre was shared by his stepson, and Wagner took part in his performances. In his autobiography, Wagner recalled once playing the part of an angel. The boy Wagner was also hugely impressed by the Gothic elements of
Der Freischütz. In late 1820, Wagner was enrolled at Pastor Wetzel's school at Possendorf, near Dresden, where he received some piano instruction from his Latin teacher. He could not manage a proper scale but preferred playing theatre overtures by ear. Geyer died in 1821, when Richard was eight. Consequently, Wagner was sent to the Kreuz Grammar School in Dresden, paid for by Geyer's brother. The young Wagner entertained ambitions as a playwright, his first creative effort (listed as '
WWV 1') being a tragedy, Leubald begun at school in 1826, which was strongly influenced by
Goethe. Wagner was determined to set it to music; he persuaded his family to allow him music lessons.