Browse by Title
A B C D E F G
H I J K L M N
O P Q R S T U
V W X Y Z #  




Fingal's Cave

by

Felix Mendelssohn



Songfacts®:  You can leave comments about the song at the bottom of the page.

"The Hebrides Overture" also known as "Fingal's Cave," is a concert overture composed by Felix Mendelssohn. Written in 1830, the piece was inspired by the German composer's trip to Scotland in 1829. Fingal's Cave itself is a cavern on Staffa, an island in the Hebrides archipelago located off the coast of Scotland. The opening bars of the famous theme were actually written the day before the composer visited the cave.
The music, though labelled as an overture, is intended to stand as a complete work. The piece was completed on December 16, 1830 and was originally entitled "The Lonely Island." However, Mendelssohn later revised the score completing it by June 20, 1832 and re-titling the music "The Hebrides." The overture was premiered on May 14, 1832 in London.
Mendelssohn was enchanted by Scotland and the Staffa scenery in particular. However, it appears that the journey to the tiny Hebridian island was not so enjoyable. He wrote from the comfort of dry land some days later, "How much has happened since my last letter and this! The most fearful sickness, Staffa, scenery, travels and people."
Naturalist Sir Joseph Banks discovered the cave in 1772 while on a natural history expedition to Iceland. It was named after Fingal, the hero of an epic poem by 18th-century Scots poet-historian James Macpherson. Mendelssohn's overture popularized the cave as a tourist destination and during Victorian times paddle steamers landed 300 people a day on the island.
The opening few minutes of the overture are played in the 1943 movie The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp while Roger Livesey's character Clive Candy visits his German friend in a Prisoner of War camp.
Felix Mendelssohn
More Felix Mendelssohn songs
More songs inspired by places
More songs with places in the title
More Classical music compositions
More instrumental songs

Comments (1):

Although born and known in the West as Felix Mendelssohn, he adopted the name "Jakob Ludwig Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy" when he was Christened. In some countries he is called "Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy" See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Felix_Mendelssohn
- Michael, Bradford, England
You have to to post comments.
Charles FoxCharles Fox
After studying in Paris with a famous composition teacher, Charles became the most successful writer of TV theme songs.
Michael Sweet of StryperMichael Sweet of Stryper
Find out how God and Glam Metal go together from the Stryper frontman.
They Might Be GiantsThey Might Be Giants
Who writes a song about a name they found in a phone book? That's just one of the everyday things these guys find to sing about. Anything in their field of vision or general scope of knowledge is fair game. If you cross paths with them, so are you.
Charlie Benante of AnthraxCharlie Benante of Anthrax
The drummer for Anthrax is also a key songwriter. He explains how the group puts their songs together and tells the stories behind some of their classics.