A Midsummer Night's Dream Op.61 - Nocturne

By: Felix Mendelssohn
For: String quartet
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Composer
Felix Mendelssohn
Year of composition
1842
Arranger
Difficulty
Moderate (Grades 4-6)
Duration
5 minutes
Genre
Classical music
License details
For anything not permitted by the above licence then you should contact the publisher first to obtain permission.

Mendelssohn's incidental music for A Midsummer Night's Dream, Op. 61, was completed 16 years after he wrote the Overture, Op. 21. The consistency of style and musical unity between them belie the disparate dates of composition. The overture was by an incredibly musically gifted youth of 17, and the incidental music was by the music director of Prussia's King Friedrich Wilhelm IV's Academy of the Arts and the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra.

A Midsummer Night's Dream had always been a favorite of Felix and his sister, Fanny. The commission for the remaining music came from the King, for a Potsdam production of the play, one of several commissions for theatrical music Mendelssohn received while in this post. The producer of the play was Ludwig Tieck, one of the translators of the definitive German version of the play, the same version that the Mendelssohns had enjoyed and absorbed thoroughly as their own.

The incidental music consists of 14 sections, including the overture. There are vocal sections and instrumental movements. The vocal selections include the song "Ye spotted snakes" and the melodramas "Over hill, over dale," "The Spells," "What hempen homespuns," and "The Removal of the Spells." The melodramas served to enhance Shakespeare's text. The remaining sections are primarily cues. The music combines the traditional forms and structures of Classical music with the feeling and expression of the Romantic era. Throughout the sections, Mendelssohn sprinkles themes and motives pulled from the earlier overture to create coherence.

The instrumental movements, Scherzo, Intermezzo, Notturno, and the "Wedding March," are usually excerpted with the overture for orchestral concert performance. A German Romantic horn melody is the theme of the Notturno. The music evokes the dreams of the couples as Puck puts right his previous mischief.

Although some consider Mendelssohn's work to be lightweight and uninspired, the entirety of A Midsummer Night's Dream proves otherwise in its inventiveness in reviving his older material and in its expression.

This arrangement is for string quartet, with an optional bass part for a quintet or string orchestra performance.

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Holberg Suite - 5. Rigaudon, Holberg Suite - 4. Air, Holberg Suite - 2. Sarabande, Lullaby, Concerto for Two Violins "L'estro armonico" Op.3 No.8 - Movement 3, Swan Lake - Dance of the Cygnets, Concerto for Two Violins "L'estro armonico" Op.3 No.8 - Movement 1, Morning Has Broken, Brook Green Suite - 3. Dance, Brook Green Suite - 2. Air, St. Paul's Suite - 4. Finale (The Dargason), Brandenburg Concerto No.5 - 1. Allegro, Brandenburg Concerto No.5 - 3. Allegro, Serenade No.10 "Gran Partita" - 6. Theme and variations, Anvil Chorus, from "Il Trovatore", The Merry Wives of Windsor - Overture, Serenade No.10 "Gran Partita" - 3. Adagio, Un bel di vedremo, from "Madama Butterfly", Habanera from "Carmen", Souvenir d'un lieu cher, Op.42 - No.3 Melodie, Sextet: Chi mi frena, from "Lucia di Lammermoor", O soave fanciulla, from "La boheme", Si. Mi chiamano Mimi, from "La boheme", Duet: Sous le dome epais, from "Lakme", Au fond du temple saint, from "The Pearl Fishers", Largo al factotum, from "The Barber of Seville", Mon coeur s'ouvre a ta voix, from "Samson et Dalila", Vissa d'arte, from "Tosca", Song to the Moon, from "Rusalka", Song Without Words No.30 - Spring Song Op.62 No.6, Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring, Water Music Suite No.3 in G, Sonata in A, KV 331 - 2. Menuetto and Trio, Sonata "Pathetique" Op.13 - 2. Adagio cantabile, Sonata "Pathetique" Op.13 - 1. Grave - Allegro, Sonata in A, KV 331 - 1. Andante grazioso (Theme and variations), Chanson de Matin, Lullay My Liking, In The Bleak Mid-Winter, Anvil Chorus, from "Il Trovatore", Bethena - A Concert Waltz, A Cyclone in Darktown, Trio No.3, Trio No.2, Trio No.1, Once in Royal David's City, Unto Us A Child Is Born, Christians, Awake!, Little Jesus, Sweetly Sleep, In Dulci Jubilo, Advance Australia Fair, Gradual, L'Estate ("Summer") - 3. Presto, L'Estate ("Summer") - 2. Adagio, Presto, L'Estate ("Summer") - 1. Allegro non molto, Espana - 2. Tango, Orchestral Suite No.2 - 7. Badinerie, Orchestral Suite No.2 - 5. Polonaise and Double, Orchestral Suite No.2 - 4. Bourree I and II, Orchestral Suite No.2 - 3. Sarabande, Orchestral Suite No.2 - 1. Overture, A Thousand And One Nights, Roses From The South, The Cannon Ball Rag, The Washington Post March, The Stars And Stripes Forever, Semper Fidelis, The Manhattan Beach March, The Liberty Bell March, King Cotton, The High School Cadets, The Gladiator March, El Capitan, I Saw Three Ships, Jingle Bells, O Little Town Of Bethlehem (2), We Wish You A Merry Christmas, Joy To The World, While Shepherds Watched Their Flocks, Silent Night, Hark! The Herald Angels Sing, Good King Wenceslas, The First Noel, Angels From The Realms of Glory, Symphony No.29 - 4. Allegro con spirito, Of The Father's Love Begotten, Symphony No.29 - 3. Menuetto, Symphony No.25 - 4. Allegro, Who Let The Cows Out? - For Sax Quartet (AATB), L'Autunno ("Autumn") - 3. Allegro, L'Autunno ("Autumn") - 1. Allegro, String Serenade - 2. Waltz, Piano Sonata No.14 "Moonlight" - 2. Allegretto, Carmen - Act 1: Prelude, The Amazon Rag, Sleepy Sidney, I Got The Blues, Who Let The Cows Out?, Key-Stone Rag, Orchestral Suite No.3 - 4. Bourree, L'Inverno ("Winter") - 3. Allegro, L'Inverno ("Winter") - 2. Largo, L'Inverno ("Winter") - 1. Allegro non molto, God Save The Queen, Symphonie Fantastique - 2. Un Bal, Pavane, Op.50, Maple Leaf Rag, La Marseillaise, Slavonic Dance, Op.46 No.8, Slavonic Dance, Op.46 No.7, Ode To Joy, Brandenburg Concerto No.3 - 2. Adagio - Allegro, Brandenburg Concerto No.3 - 1. Allegro, Capriol Suite, The Barber of Seville - Overture, Babes in Toyland - March of the Toys, It Came Upon The Midnight Clear, A Midsummer Night's Dream Op.61 - Scherzo, Le Coucou, Trumpet Tune, Brandenburg Concerto No.2 - 1. Allegro, The Blue Danube Waltzes, Lohengrin - The Bridal Chorus, Solomon - Act III, Sinfonia "Arrival of the Queen of Sheba", A Midsummer Night's Dream Op.61 "The Wedding March", Children's Corner, No.6 The Golliwog's Cake-Walk, Brandenburg Concerto No.6 - 2. Adagio ma non tanto, Concerto in D minor for 2 Violins - 3. Allegro, Angels We Have Heard On High, String Sonata No.1 - 2. Andante, Symphony No.40 - 3. Menuetto, Symphony No.40 - 2. Andante, Ave Maria, Op.52 No.6, The Nutcracker - Overture, Preludes, Book 1 No.8 - The Girl With The Flaxen Hair, A Midsummer Night's Dream Op.61 "The Wedding March", Radetzky March, Op.228, Song Without Words No.27 "Funeral March" Op.62 No.3, Jerusalem (And Did Those Feet In Ancient Time), Children's Corner, No.6 The Golliwog's Cake-Walk, Chanson Triste, Op.40 No.2, Minute Waltz, Op.64 No.1, Canon in D, The Blue Danube Waltzes, Wine, Women and Song, Humoresque, Op.101 No.7, Kinderszenen, Op.15 No.11 Furchtenmachen (Frightening), Kinderszenen, Op.15 No.7 Traumerei (Dreaming), Song Without Words No.45 - Scherzo Op.102 No.3, La Damnation de Faust - Rakoczy March, Pictures at an Exhibition - Promenade, Birthday Minuet and 1812 Overture

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