A Portrait of Mendelssohn by Clive Brown

By Clive Brown

Seeing that his dying in 1847, Felix Mendelssohn's tune and character were either trendy and denigrated to notable levels. during this learn Clive Brown weaves jointly a wealthy array of records - letters, diaries, memoirs, stories, information studies and extra - with the purpose of providing a balanced photo of the composer and his paintings. Rejecting the acquired view of Mendelssohn as a facile, light-weight musician, Brown demonstrates that he used to be in reality an leading edge and hugely cerebral composer who exerted a robust impact on musical idea into the twentieth century. Brown discusses Mendelssohn's kin historical past and schooling; the position of faith and race in his lifestyles and attractiveness; his stories as useful musician (pianist, organist, string participant, conductor) and as instructor and composer; the severe reception of his works; and the vicissitudes of his posthumous acceptance. The textual content additionally incorporates a diversity of hitherto unpublished sketches made via Mendelssohn. the result's a portrayal of the guy and his achievements as considered via his personal phrases and people of his contemporaries.

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After moving to Dessau as a pastor he remained in contact with FMB. His letters to him cover the period 1830 to 1847. Many of the letters exchanged between Schubring and FMB concern the texts of St Paul and Elijah. Schumann, Robert (1810–1856). German composer and critic. In his manuscript recollections of Mendelssohn Schumann wrote: “1835 first meeting in the hall of the Gewandhaus. ’ I said to him that I knew all his compositions well; he answered this with something very modest. ” Although they never used the familiar “Du,” they evidently had a very cordial relationship; its nature is Biographical Notes ⅐ xxxi indicated by Schumann’s account of a meeting on 14 March 1837, where they discussed FMB’s interpretation of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony: “When we had finished with the symphony he seized my hand: [‘] Schumann don’t take it the wrong way now; I feel so comfortable with you; but I have had such sad experiences particularly with those who have something to do with a public journal, that it has left me with an aversion even against those whom he [sic] well knew it was not necessary to fear.

This restorative he had always had at hand; he assured me that he had but to find himself alone and unoccupied in a room where there was a sofa, to go straightway to sleep. His brain had from childhood been taxed excessively, by the university course, study of modern languages, drawing, and much else, and to these were added the study of music in its profoundest sense. The rapidity with which he mastered a score; his perfect understanding of the requirements of new compositions, the construction and complications of which were at once transparent to him; his marvellous memory, which placed under his hand the entire range of great works; these wondrous gifts filled me with frequent doubts as to whether his nervous power could possibly sustain him through the length of an ordinary life.

His features, of the Oriental type, were handsome; a high, thoughtful forehead, much depressed at the temples; large, expressive dark eyes, with drooping lids, and a peculiar veiled glance through the lashes; this, however, sometimes flashed distrust or anger, sometimes happy dreaming and expectancy. His nose was arched and of delicate form, still more so the mouth, with its The Man ⅐ 4 short upper and full under lip, which was slightly protruded and hid his teeth, when, with a slight lisp, he pronounced the hissing consonants.

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