Symphony no. 4 in A 'Italian', Op. 90

The Symphony No. 4 in A major, Op. 90, commonly known as the Italian, is an orchestral symphony by Felix Mendelssohn. The Italian Symphony was finished in Berlin, 13 March 1833, in response to an invitation for a symphony from the London (now Royal) Philharmonic Society; he conducted the first performance himself in London on 13 May 1833, at a London Philharmonic Society concert. The symphony's success, and Mendelssohn's popularity, influenced the course of British music for the rest of the century. However, Mendelssohn remained unsatisfied with the composition, which cost him, he said, some of the bitterest moments of his career; he revised it in 1834 and even planned to write alternate versions of the second, third, and fourth movements. He never published the symphony, and it appeared in print only in 1851; thus it is numbered as his no. 4, although it was in fact the third in order of composition. The piece is scored for 2 flutes, 2 oboes, 2 clarinets, 2 bassoons, 2 horns, 2 trumpets, timpani and strings. It is in four movements. It is among the first large multi-movement works to begin in a major key and end in the tonic minor, another example being Brahms's first piano trio. A typical performance lasts about half an hour.

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