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Program Notes

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MENDELSSOHN: Fingal’s Cave Overture, Opus 26

Fingal’s Cave occupies the southern coast of the little island of Staffa, seven miles off the Scottish coast, and visitors of a Romantic disposition were drawn to the purple-black rock columns massed at its entrance. Given that Felix Mendelssohn (1809-47) sketched the Overture’s opening before he set eyes on Fingal’s Cave, we might conclude that the work was not quite so directly inspired by that curious bit of geology as is often suggested. Instead, it seems to have been born more from a general impression of the Hebrides islands and from Mendelssohn’s vivid romanticizing of his journey to the Scottish coast in summer 1829.

(July 2019)