Mendelssohn - Piano Music

Felix Mendelssohn

Mendelssohn's style combines the graceful formal balance of classicism with the inspirations of a romantic fantasy. He rarely expresses tearing passions or emotional turmoil, which has left him open to accusations of being shallow, dull or artificial. But his contemporaries were of another opinion altogether. The public were drawn to his lyricism and vitality, Schumann called him 'a god among men'; and to Liszt, Mendelssohn was 'Bach reborn'.

Top Pieces:

Venetian Boat Song, Op. 30 No. 6 (from Songs Without Words)

During his visit to Venice Mendelssohn was fascinated by the by the experience of travelling in a boat late at night through the famous city, lights reflected in the water.

Spring Song, Op. 62 No. 6
(from Songs Without Words)

Light-hearted, tender and graceful, this song was composed when Mendelssohn visited friends in London. The unconventional accompaniment pattern is said to have been improvised on the spot when the playful children of the house tried to drag his hands from the piano.

Andante con moto, Op. 19 No. 1 (from Songs Without Words)

Mendelssohn channels his inner Bach in this piece, which seems to hark back lovingly to the first prelude of the "Well-Tempered Klavier." The piece rolls along in a charming fashion, a simple melody over arpeggios.

Rondo Capriccioso in E Major, Op. 14

This popular concert piece combines two of Mendelssohn's specialties: the first section is a short, lyrical "song without words", and the second part is a light and sparkling scherzo.

Variations Sérieuses in D Minor, Op. 54

Mendelssohn's most important and forward-looking work; the title was deliberately chosen to distinguish it from the frequent, superficial "Variations brillantes" of the time.


As a child, Felix Mendelssohn (1809—1847) was the sort of musical prodigy whose stature could rival that of Mozart fifty years earlier. Growing up in a distinguished Berlin family of intellectuals and bankers, he spent some time at the University of Berlin, but most of his education was received through family travel and through eminent visitors to the parents’ salon: early influences included the poetry of Goethe, whom he knew from 1821, and the Schlegel translations of Shakespeare. His musical style, fully developed before he was 20, drew upon a variety of influences, including the complex chromatic counterpoint of Bach, the clarity and gracefulness of Mozart and the dramatic power of Beethoven. Mendelssohn was one of the foremost champions of Bach’s music in th 19th century: his 1829 performance of the St. Matthew Passion at the Berlin Singakademie became legendary.

After holding the position as music director in Düsseldorf for two years, Mendelssohn moved to Leipzig in 1835, where he became music director of the Gewandhaus Orchestra, a post that he held until his death. His marriage to Cécile Jeanrenaud in 1838 seems to have been very happy and calm to a degree that one would not expect from a romantic composer. Throughout the rest of his life he stood at the forefront of German music, in great demand as a conductor, pianist, organist and composer. He was intermittently employed by the king as a composer and choirmaster in Berlin, and internationally sought after as a festival organiser. In Leipzig he established a new conservatory, which still bears his name. Mendelssohn suffered from bad health in the final years of his life, and he was greatly distressed by the death in May 1847 of his sister Fanny. His own death later that same year after a series of strokes, was announced in The Musical World as the "eclipse of music."

Quotes by Mendelssohn

"People often complain that music is too ambiguous, that what they should think when they hear it is so unclear, whereas everyone understands words. With me, it is exactly the opposite, and not only with regard to an entire speech but also with individual words. These, too, seem to me so ambiguous, so vague, so easily misunderstood in comparison to genuine music, which fills the soul with a thousand things better than words. The thoughts which are expressed to me by music that I love are not too indefinite to be put into words, but on the contrary, too definite."

Quotes about Mendelssohn

"He is the Mozart of the nineteenth century, the brightest musician who most clearly fathoms, and then reconciles the contradictions of our time -- classicism and romanticism." (Schumann)

"There is one god – Bach – and Mendelssohn is his prophet." (Berlioz)

Mendelssohn Piano Sheet Music

for digital devices or to download & print

Total pieces by Mendelssohn: 106

TitleKey YearLevel

Most popular pieces:

Allegretto tranquillo (Venetian Boat Song) Op. 30 No. 6F-sharp Minor 18346
Allegretto grazioso (Spring Song) Op. 62 No. 6A Major 18447
Andante con moto Op. 19 No. 1E Major 18346
Rondo Capriccioso Op. 14E Major 18248+
Variations Sérieuses Op. 54D Minor 18418+

All pieces:

Songs Without Words

Andante con moto Op. 19 No. 1E Major 18346
Andante espressivo (Regrets) Op. 19 No. 2A Minor 18346
Molto allegro e vivace (Hunting Song) Op. 19 No. 3A Major 18347
Moderato (Confidence) Op. 19 No. 4A Major 18346
Piano agitato (Restlessness) Op. 19 No. 5F-sharp Minor 18348
Andante sostenuto (Venetian Boat Song) Op. 19 No. 6G Minor 18346
Andante espressivo (Contemplation) Op. 30 No. 1E-flat Major 18347
Allegro di molto (Unrest) Op. 30 No. 2B-flat Minor 18347
Adagio non troppo (Consolation) Op. 30 No. 3E Major 18346
Agitato e con fuoco (The Wanderer) Op. 30 No. 4B-flat Minor 18348
Andante grazioso (The Brook) Op. 30 No. 5D Major 18348
Allegretto tranquillo (Venetian Boat Song) Op. 30 No. 6F-sharp Minor 18346
Con moto (The Evening Star) Op. 38 No. 1E-flat Major 18378
Allegro non troppo (Lost Happiness) Op. 38 No. 2C Minor 18378
Presto e molto vivace (The Poet's Harp) Op. 38 No. 3E Major 18378
Andante (Hope) Op. 38 No. 4A Major 18377
Agitato (Passion) Op. 38 No. 5A Minor 18378
Andante con moto (Duet) Op. 38 No. 6A-flat Major 18378
Andante con moto (On the Seashore) Op. 53 No. 1A-flat Major 18417
Allegro non troppo (The fleecy Clouds) Op. 53 No. 2E-flat Major 18416
Presto agitato (Agitation) Op. 53 No. 3G Minor 18416
Adagio (Sadness of Soul) Op. 53 No. 4F Major 18416
Allegro con fuoco (Folksong) Op. 53 No. 5A Minor 18416
Molto allegro, vivace (The Flight) Op. 53 No. 6A Major 18417
Andante espressivo (May Breezes) Op. 62 No. 1G Major 18446
Allegro con fuoco (The Departure) Op. 62 No. 2B-flat Major 18446
Andante maestoso (Funeral March) Op. 62 No. 3E Minor 18446
Allegro con anima (Morning Song) Op. 62 No. 4G Major 18446
Andante con moto (Venetian Boat Song) Op. 62 No. 5A Minor 18447
Allegretto grazioso (Spring Song) Op. 62 No. 6A Major 18447
Andante (Meditation) Op. 67 No. 1E-flat Major 18457
Allegro leggiero (Lost Illusions) Op. 67 No. 2F-sharp Minor 18457
Andante tranquillo (Song of the Pilgrim) Op. 67 No. 3B-flat Major 18456
Presto (Spinning Song) Op. 67 No. 4C Major 18458
Moderato (The Shepherd's Complaint) Op. 67 No. 5B Minor 18458
Allegretto non troppo (Lullaby) Op. 67 No. 6E Major 18456
Andante espressivo (Reverie) Op. 85 No. 1F Major 18456
Allegro agitato (The Adieu) Op. 85 No. 2A Minor 18456
Presto (Delirium) Op. 85 No. 3E Major 18457
Andante sostenuto (Elegie) Op. 85 No. 4D Major 18457
Allegretto (The Return) Op. 85 No. 5A Major 18456
Allegretto con moto (Song of the Traveller) Op. 85 No. 6B-flat Major 18457
Andante, un poco agitato (Homeless) Op. 102 No. 1E Minor 18457
Adagio (Retrospection) Op. 102 No. 2E Minor 18457
Presto (Tarantella) Op. 102 No. 3C Major 18457
Un poco agitato, ma andante (The Sighing Wind) Op. 102 No. 4G Minor 18457
Allegro vivace (The Joyous Peasant) Op. 102 No. 5A Major 18457
Andante (Faith) Op. 102 No. 6C Major 18456


Piano Concerto 1 Op. 25G Minor 18318+
Piano Concerto 2 Op. 40D Minor 18378+
Concerto - for two pianos and orchestra MWV O 5E Major 18238+
Concerto - for two pianos and orchestra MWV O 6A-flat Major 18248+


Sonata 1 Op. 6E Major 18268+
Sonata 2 Op. 105G Minor 18218+
Sonata 3 Op. 106B-flat Major 18278+


Variations Sérieuses Op. 54D Minor 18418+
Variations Op. 82E-flat Major 18418+
Variations Op. 83B-flat Major 18418+
Andante and Variations - for four hands Op. 83 aB-flat Major 18508+

Seven Characteristic Pieces Op. 7

1. Quietly, with Feeling E Minor 18278
2. With Violent Motion B Minor 18277
3. With Strength and Fire D Major 18278
4. Fast and Lively A Major 18278
5. Fugue: Serious, with Increasing Vivacity A Major 18277
6. With Longing E Minor 18277
7. Light and Airy E Major 18278+

Three Fantasies or Caprices Op. 16

1. Andante con moto A Minor 18297
2. Scherzo: Presto E Minor 18298+
3. Andante E Major 18298

Three Caprices Op. 33

1. Caprice A Minor 18358+
2. Caprice E Major 18358
3. Caprice B-flat Minor 18358+

Six Preludes and Fugues Op. 35

1. Prelude & Fugue E Minor 18378+
2. Prelude & Fugue D Major 18378+
3. Prelude & Fugue B Minor 18377
4. Prelude & Fugue A-flat Major 18377
5. Prelude & Fugue F Minor 18377
6. Prelude & Fugue B-flat Major 18378

Six Pieces for Children Op. 72

1. Allegro no troppo G Major 18425
2. Andante sostenuto E-flat Major 18426
3. Allegretto G Major 18425
4. Andante con moto D Major 18426
5. Allegro assai G Minor 18425
6. Vivace F Major 18425

Six Pieces Op. 104

1. Prelude 1 B-flat Major 18367
4. Etude 1 B-flat Minor 18388+
2. Prelude 2 B Minor 18368+
5. Etude 2 F Major 18388+
3. Prelude 3 D Major 18368+
6. Etude 3 A Minor 18388

Two Pieces

Andante cantabile WoO 19 No. 1B-flat Major 18335
Presto agitato WoO 19 No. 2G Minor 18337

Miscellaneous pieces

Scherzo B Minor -8+
Scherzo a Capriccio F-sharp Minor -8+
Etude F Minor 18368+
Gondola Song A Major 18377
Andante cantabile e Presto agitato B Major 18388+
Prelude & Fugue E Minor 18417
Capriccio Op. 5F-sharp Minor 18258+
Rondo Capriccioso Op. 14E Major 18248+
Fantasy - on The last Rose of Summer Op. 15E Major -7
Fantasy Op. 28F-sharp Minor 18338+
Allegro brillant - for four hands Op. 92 A Major 18418+
Album Leaf Op. 117E Minor -7
Capriccio Op. 118E Major 18378
Perpetuum Mobile Op. 119C Major 18378+

Forum posts about Felix Mendelssohn

Does anyone else notice that early-era pianists played much faster? by cuberdrift
Why is it that old recordings usually have classical music played much faster than how musicians play today? I think over time as the audie...

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