Mendelssohn and His World

Through the 1830s and 1840s the remarkably flexible composer-pianist-organist-conductor Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy stood on the vanguard of German and English musical existence. Bringing jointly formerly unpublished essays via historians and musicologists, reflections on Mendelssohn written through his contemporaries, the composer's personal letters, and early serious experiences of his tune, this quantity explores numerous features of Mendelssohn's tune, his social and highbrow circles, and his occupation. The essays partially I disguise the character of a Jewish id in Mendelssohn's track (Leon Botstein); his dating to the Berlin Singakademie (William A. Little); the position of his sister Fanny Hensel, herself a baby prodigy and entire composer (Nancy Reich); Mendelssohn's compositional craft within the Italian Symphony and chosen live performance overtures (Claudio Spies); his oratorio Elijah (Martin Staehelin); his incidental song to Sophocles' Antigone (Michael P. Steinberg); his anthem "Why, O Lord, hold up forever?" (David Brodbeck); and an unfinished piano sonata (R. Larry Todd). half II offers little-known memoirs through such contemporaries as J. C. Lobe, A. B. Marx, Julius Schubring, C. E. Horsley, Max Mller, and Betty Pistor. Mendelssohn's letters are represented partly III via his correspondence with Wilhelm von Boguslawski and Aloys Fuchs, right here translated for the 1st time. half IV includes overdue nineteenth-century severe studies by way of Heinrich Heine, Franz Brendel, Friedrich Niecks, Otto Jahn, and Hans von Blow.

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A n alliance between liberalism and nationalism—which Mendelssohn himself hoped for in the late 1830s and early 1840s—was never realized. T o the new generation it seemed clear that the mission of art was to arouse the imminent possibilities for national and social regeneration evident in the "shifting" times of the 1830s and 1840s. In Wagner's view, no Jew could undertake such a task. No doubt he suspected that Mendelssohn had little use for the new nationalism. In the midst of growing antipathy between French and Germans in 1840, Mendelssohn, hardly a Francophile, refused to set patriotic verses to music: "I do not feel in the least disposed to this kind of 'patriotism,' " he wrote to Fanny.

Historicist neoclassicism in the musical aesthetics of romanticism paralleled the belief in the essential humanistic link between Judaism and Christianity. Mendelssohn's persistent dissatisfaction with the operatic librettos he asked for and was sent was not merely the result of perceived inadequacies in diction and the musicality of subject and language. -" In order to do that the true musical subject had to reflect not subjective individuality but generalizable truths whose ethical and aesthetic meaning was coincident with universal applicability.

T o the new generation it seemed clear that the mission of art was to arouse the imminent possibilities for national and social regeneration evident in the "shifting" times of the 1830s and 1840s. In Wagner's view, no Jew could undertake such a task. No doubt he suspected that Mendelssohn had little use for the new nationalism. In the midst of growing antipathy between French and Germans in 1840, Mendelssohn, hardly a Francophile, refused to set patriotic verses to music: "I do not feel in the least disposed to this kind of 'patriotism,' " he wrote to Fanny.

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