Mendelssohn in Scotland

J W Childe’s portrait of Mendelssohn (1829)
J W Childe’s portrait of Mendelssohn (1829)

Mendelssohn's Scottish Journey

In the summer of 1829, the 20-year-old Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy made a three-week visit to Scotland which was to result in the writing of two of his best-loved works: the Overture – The Hebrides, and the Symphony No 3 in A minor (Scottish).

Lovers of Mendelssohn’s music will be familiar with these two works, but they may be less familiar with the details of Mendelssohn’s Scottish journey which provided the inspiration for them. This website gives an account of Mendelssohn’s Scottish tour, tracing his steps day-by-day, and showing the same spectacular scenes that he experienced nearly 200 years ago.

Click on the links to follow the Mendelssohn trail and if you are attracted by what you see, and want to experience it for yourself, take a look at the “Mendelssohn in Scotland” holiday and join like-minded people who love Mendelssohn’s music and are captivated by the beauty of Scotland on a 10-day holiday in October 2024.

Begin by looking at the three pages “Why Scotland”, “Mendelssohn the Artist” and “In London before the Scottish journey” to set the scene and give you some background, and then follow his journey north and the detailed itinerary from Edinburgh, down to Melrose and Abbotsford (the home of Sir Walter Scott), around the Highlands and over to the western Isles of Mull, Staffa (and Fingal’s Cave) and Iona, and back to Glasgow and Loch Lomond and the Trossachs. This journey will come vividly to life from the sketches that Mendelssohn made during his travels, shown alongside recent photos and videos of those same views which are virtually unchanged since 1829.

If you want to know more about the music that Mendelssohn wrote following his Scottish journey, go to Mendelssohn Symphony No 3 (Scottish) or Mendelssohn Overture – The Hebrides to see a detailed description of these works.

And if you have any comments on this website, please get in touch - we would be pleased to hear from you.

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