Lieder ohne Worte, Op. 30, No. 6: Allegretto tranquillo: Venetianisches Gondellied

I first heard today’s selection nearly 40 years ago. I recall sitting with one of my brothers and his friend, and they were helping me learn to identify classical music pieces playing on the friend’s stereo. I was hopeless at guessing as I didn’t know enough about the periods, styles, and characteristics of each composer’s music. I know more now, and I still have a lot to learn.

One piece playing that night truly mesmerized me. It was a piano work by the German early Romantic composer, pianist, organist and conductor Felix Mendelssohn (1809-1847) from his Lieder ohne Worte (Songs without Words); what I came to know later was a series of eight books each with six short piano pieces composed between 1829 and 1845. The piece played was from Book 2 (written 1833-1834, when Mendelssohn was only in his 20s!), Opus 30, No. 6, the Allegretto tranquillo: Venetianisches Gondellied (“Venetian Boat Song”). A passage from it that completely captured me starts at 1:32 in the video I chose for today’s post. Years ago, my brother referred to that part as a “terribly hot trill.” It repeats a few times in this sublime but occasionally dramatic and highly technical piece. I can imagine sitting in a gondola, floating along the canals of Venice as this music plays.

This is an extraordinary, soulful piece of music. I found a few versions on YouTube, and the one below was the most beautifully played, partly because of the slower, highly-controlled tempo in the pianist’s excellent interpretation of the work.

Now you know a little about why this is my Song of the Day for Today. Thank you for joining me here.

Here is the video of Italian pianist Roberto Giordano (b. 1981) performing in the Chiesa di San Giorgio, Salerno, Italy, from his YouTube channel:

With warm wishes,


PS: As I mention in yesterday’s post, I’m pushing “pause” on the blog for a few weeks to take care of some other priorities. But… you didn’t think I was just going to step away and leave with nothing to listen to, did you?

Here in no particular order are some favourite songs from my 750 posts so far on Song of the Day for Today. I invite you to listen to one a day, or all at once, or pick and choose! (You may notice that, over time, there are some formatting differences among the posts, as I changed layout elements, added full lyrics, included the album names/years issued for the songs, and signed my posts…)

  1. The Psychedelic Furs: Heaven
    The song that ignited my calling to publish a daily music blog
  2. 801 Live: Tomorrow Never Knows /2020/03/31/tomorrow-never-knows/
    A Brian Eno project’s brilliant cover of a Beatles song, with fantastic instrumentation
  3. Matt Kanelos: Peacock Dance /2023/03/04/peacock-dance/
    A beautifully sensual love song
  4. Kieran West: Grenadier
    An incredibly powerful song about war and my dad by his grandson, my son
  5. Boston: More Than a Feeling
    From one of my first record purchases, a memoried song about love
  6. Roxy Music: Oh Yeah
    A melancholy song of love and loss, masterfully played
  7. Johann Johansson: Flight from the City
    A lovely classical crossover piece accompanied by a captivatingly beautiful video
  8. Annie Lennox: Stay by Me
    A mystically gorgeous, sensual, soulful song about love and longing
  9. Nanci Griffith: Late Night Grande Hotel
    By one of my sweety’s and my favourite singers, a kitchen-dance song from our wedding CD
  10. Buffy Sainte-Marie: Goodnight
    A poignant ballad by one of the most remarkable artists ever
  11. This Mortal Coil: Song to the Siren
    An ethereal cover of a Tim Buckley piece, sung by Elizabeth Fraser of Cocteau Twins
  12. David Sylvian: Orpheus
    The matured voice of former glam rock band Japan’s singer absolutely shines
  13. Van Morrison: Into the Mystic
    A classic hit that is just so dreamy and attractive it had to be on this list
  14. Ludwig van Beethoven (arr. Badzura): Moonlight
    A stunning violin arrangement played by the incredible Mari Samuelsen
  15. Heart: Barracuda
    One of my favourite hard rock songs, ever, by one of my favourite bands
  16. Peter Gabriel: Heroes
    David Bowie’s famous hit, arranged for orchestra and sung beautifully by Gabriel
  17. Simple Minds: Speed Your Love to Me
    Raw energy and production style, and those drums, wow!
  18. Peter Gabriel: The Power of the Heart
    An extraordinarily lovely song that would have been part of our wedding had it been released a year earlier
  19. Hayden and Jason Collet: Lonely Is as Lonely Does
    A musician’s soulful exploration of loneliness on tour
  20. Ben Wytinck: ‘Bel
    One of our all-time favourite songs, a poignant piece by a local singer-songwriter
  21. Schubert: Symphony No. 8 in B Minor, D. 759 – “Unfinished,” I: Allegro Moderato
    A dramatic, mercurial and timeless piece of classical music

I’ll see you again in a few weeks!

5 thoughts on “Lieder ohne Worte, Op. 30, No. 6: Allegretto tranquillo: Venetianisches Gondellied

  1. Steve, Thank you! What you do is so generous. You have a glorious gift and to our great good luck, you share it. That takes courage.
    This music created a feeling of immense gratitude for the gift of life, for the unending beauty of life. It is so beautiful!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m starting to really enjoy classical music thanks to your Sunday posts. Have a good break and I’ll try to keep myself busy by listening to the songs on your list!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s so great! Thanks for sharing, Pooja, I’m glad to pass along some of the wonderful classical music I’ve learned about over the years. As for the list I think there should be a lot of posts/songs from before you followed my blog so maybe there will be something new and of interest to you. Take care!

      Liked by 1 person

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