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I dont know much in detail about Mendelssohn. I guess it could be put this way: while Schubert was the classic Romantic, Mendelssohn was the Romantic Classicist. His orchestration and melodic styles/technique is generally Romantic, but he rarely steps too far out of the mold of Classical form, porportionality, and 'symmetry'. If you like fairly well balanced composers that are easy to listen to but also keep your interest, Mendelssohn is a good one. Although all composers have their own style, to me he is like a combination of Weber and Schubert, a 'masculine' style composer and a 'feminine' one, respectively.
 
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I would say Mendelssohn is the gentle giant of the Romantic era. He is powerful yet still retains a sense of gentleness and calm about him. A great example of this would have to be his Hebrides Overture, which I performed a few years back...
 

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Mendelssohn: The Gentle Giant

I would say Mendelssohn is the gentle giant of the Romantic era. He is powerful yet still retains a sense of gentleness and calm about him. A great example of this would have to be his Hebrides Overture, which I performed a few years back...
Yes Amy. Your words ring true. He was the Gentle Giant of Romanticism - A Classical Purist!
Two overtures of his prove your point -
1. Calm Sea and Prosperous Voyage and
2. Hebrides - The Fingal's Cave.

The latter is one of the most haunting overtures ever written. Give me details when you say "performed few years back..."
I am an amateur conductor. I don't get much opportunity in Bombay and Secunderabad. I would love to perform the Hebrides and the Scotch Symphony of Mendelssohn. They always bring a flush of red to my cheeks.
Few days back, I was listening to a reading of both the Scottish Symphony and the Hebrides Overture on 78 RPMs by Sir Thomas Beecham and the London Philharmonic done in 1939. What a reading! It was superb even on the vintage.
 

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Probably the most consistent composer in history, because his style didn't change much at all. I agree, his music radiates calm and contentment, probably because he had very few troubles in life. He was recognised by the public and nobility (Queen Victoria's favourite composer) & was apparently suspicious of newer trends in music, such as those espoused by Liszt and Berlioz. I agree his Hebrides & Midsummer Nights Dream are magical and evocative but his symphonies don't reach the depts of, say, Beethoven or Schubert (or even Mozart's late ones).
 

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Mendelssohn was an early period Romantic composer who still favored much of the sensibilities from the Classical era. Nothing wrong with this of course, but his music does have some power behind it, but it is much lighter and bright than say Schumann or Wagner, but it's no less interesting.

Check out his symphonies 3 & 4, also called the "Scottish" and "Italian" symphonies respectively, to get a glimpse of his composing style. As mentioned, check out "Fingal's Cave" for a more introspective view of his work.
 
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i believe the people posting have been very accurate on their historical info about Mendelssohn, however, his artisitc style had more balance between light, calm and dark, aggressive...

two examples are his rondo capricioso

edit: no youtube embeds allowed :(

the other would be 'horr mein bitten' which i think shsherm is talking about
his venetian gondola songs are fairly close to this as well
 
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