'To all extents and purposes, Germany is the land of artists,' wrote Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy in 1831 while on his travels in Italy; but Italy, he added, 'is the land of art.' Indeed, everywhere he went in Italy, the 22-year-old composer found impulses for his symphony ('I have to save the work until I have seen Naples'). But although the country fired his inspiration ('It will be the merriest piece that I have ever written'), he did not actually write the 'Italian' Symphony there. This did not occur until early 1833, when Mendelssohn obtained a commission from London, where he then conducted the first performance in May 1833. Begun the following year, his revision of the piece remained fragmentary, and the composer no longer performed the work himself. The familiar 'London version' thus represents the only closed form of the work which the composer presented to the public. This is the version of the 'Italian' Symphony that is now appearing in the 'Breitkopf Urtext' collection as a pre-print from the Complete Edition.