By Clive Brown
For the reason that his demise in 1847, Felix Mendelssohn's song and character were either in demand and denigrated to notable levels. during this research Clive Brown weaves jointly a wealthy array of records - letters, diaries, memoirs, experiences, information reviews and extra - with the purpose of featuring 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 actually an cutting edge and hugely cerebral composer who exerted a strong impression on musical proposal into the twentieth century. Brown discusses Mendelssohn's relations historical past and schooling; the position of faith and race in his lifestyles and popularity; his reviews as sensible musician (pianist, organist, string participant, conductor) and as instructor and composer; the serious reception of his works; and the vicissitudes of his posthumous popularity. The textual content additionally encompasses a diversity of hitherto unpublished sketches made through Mendelssohn. the result's a portrayal of the fellow and his achievements as seen via his personal phrases and people of his contemporaries.
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Additional resources for A Portrait of Mendelssohn
He would also get out Jean Paul sometimes, and revel in his humour; one evening he read aloud to me out of Siebenka¨s for at least an hour. But sleep was always his best resource. Several times I found him lying on the sofa before dinner, ready dressed, having been asleep for hours, after which he would awake with a capital appetite. A quarter of an hour after he would say with the air of a spoiled child, “I am still quite tired;” would lie down again, saying how delicious it was, stretch himself out, and in a few minutes be fast asleep again.
He was fundamentally of a refined nature, he was only interested in the finest, only the noblest came up to his expectations. He was testily closed to all that lay outside the bounds of his individuality. Passionately irritated by all that was alien to him, every dissonance that did not belong in his harmony was inimical to him. As if he knew that his stay would not be long, he was jealous of the short span of life, every moment had to serve him and the high seriousness of his profession, and yet in this conscientious seriousness of his nature there lay at the same time so much playful harmlessness, in this strong wilfulness so much love, friendliness and feeling of happiness.
Devrient, for instance, focused particularly on these characteristics in an unsentimental assessment of his friend’s character: The leading feature of his outward and inner nature was an extraordinary sensitiveness. Excitement stimulated him to the verge of frenzy, from which he was restored only by his sound, death-like sleep. 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.
A Portrait of Mendelssohn by Clive Brown