Tune of the Day: On Wings of Song
This is probably the best known of Mendelssohn's 100 or so songs. Mendelssohn wrote the piece a couple of months after moving to Leipzig to become director of the Gewandhaus Orchestra and Singakademie. He had just spent a frustrating two years in Düsseldorf trying to conduct somewhat amateur musicians and performing for unappreciative audiences. He found that everything in cosmopolitan, cultured Leipzig was to his liking; his contentment is reflected in this song.
With this song Mendelssohn set to music a German romantic poem by Heinrich Heine. The text tells of melody's power to transport lovers to the most beautiful night garden, with bright and fragrant flowers, gazelles, a murmuring stream, and a palm tree, under which they can dream.