||Felix Mendelssohn (1809-47) was one of the most important composers in the early Romantic period. He composed in many different genres of music. His art songs, compared with other types of his musical works, are numerous but not well known. This large production of art songs was due to his personal interest and his taste in literature and the arts, which were cultivated in the family environment as he grew up. Mendelssohn’s art songs have all the characteristics of a typical art song of that time, such as simple strophic form, sweet melody, beautiful harmony, and close relationship between piano and voice.|
Mendelssohn has composed approximately 130-140 art songs, among which twelve pieces are duets. These duets were composed during the years of 1836-47, which is considered the mature period of Mendelssohn. These duet songs are collected in Op.63, Op.77, and WoO.11; however, they are all independent from each other. They share the many desirable qualities with the solo art songs. They have elegant lyrics, lovely fresh melodies and tasteful harmony, and clear and compact form. For the purpose of a choral educator, they can be treated as two-part choral songs to good advantage.
This thesis is organized as follows. The first chapter is an introduction. The second chapter provides background information on Mendelssohn’s life along with his art song style. The third chapter is the musical analysis of these twelve duet songs. Chapter Four, the main focus of this thesis, discusses the applicability of these duets to the choral performance. It includes four sections—German diction, voice training, music interpretation, and conducting suggestions. The fifth chapter draws a conclusion for the thesis. An appendix is prepared for the lyric translation and pronunciation guide of these twelve duets, which is expected to assist Taiwanese choral educators to easily realize the meaning of the lyrics and their standard German pronunciation.