Mendelssohn – 5 Songs Without Words

Composer: Felix Mendelssohn (1809-1847)
Duration: 11 minutes
Price: £30
Grade: 5-8
Instrumentation: Brass Quintet

Trumpet 1 and 2 in Bb
French Horn

Mendelssohn wrote 8 volumes of Songs Without Words in the romantic tradition of short lyrical pieces for piano. This collection of 5 songs showcases some stunning melodies, beautiful harmonies, and soloistic writing arranged in a sensitive way for the Quintet.

The first movement is a lively major Tarantelle, with a cheeky and lilting staccato to begin the collection with vibrancy. (See performance YouTube below!)

The second, nicknamed ‘Sadness of Soul’ is a hauntingly aching melody with solo trumpet lines and undulating 9/8 quaver movement.

The middle movement is a bouncing jaunt with a 2 feel, constant semiquavers running throughout and a teasing chromatic melody. There is some fantastic shape to the melodies and dynamics here.

Another slow movement, the fourth Song nicknamed ‘Consolation’ is a simple and beautiful major melody with long phrases and nicely harmonised lines.

The final movement is another Tarantelle style compound meter which finishes with a flourish and pop!

A wonderful substitute for the usual Ewald quintets, this Romantic-era collection can be played in full order, or nicely as a selection. There are definitely movements accessible for younger or training ensembles too.

Quarantine Brass perform No. 1 ‘Tarantella’

Quarantine Brass Perform No. 3 ‘Allegretto con Moto’


Sample Score: