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Meet Felix Mendelssohn, Composer Of The Original Song Of The Summer

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An illustrated scene from Shakespeare's <em>A Midsummer Night's Dream</em>, the play Mendelssohn celebrates in his expansive, beautiful Overture in E major, Op. 21.
Hulton Archive, Getty Images
An illustrated scene from Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream, the play Mendelssohn celebrates in his expansive, beautiful Overture in E major, Op. 21.

It's now officially summer, which means it's time to kick back, pour out a glass of rosé and listen to the ever-timeless Overture to A Midsummer Night's Dream, by composer Felix Mendelssohn. The German composer wrote the Overture (Op. 21) when he was only 17, but by then he was a seasoned composer with numerous operas and string symphonies under his belt. So while the Overture might be, as musicologist George Grove called it, "the greatest marvel of early maturity that the world has ever seen in music," it was par for the course for Mendelssohn.

At the audio link, hear classical-music commentator Miles Hoffman give NPR's Rachel Martin a primer on Mendelssohn and his expansive and beautiful Overture to A Midsummer Night's Dream.

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