Music Composers

Felix Mendelssohn-Bartoldy--Part 6

The wish of his friends to have him appointed as a conductor ofthe famous Berlin "sindakedemie" was not ignored, though the place was given to Rungenhagen, an assistant of Zelter. Mendelssohn was, later, fully compensated by his nomination as director of the Gewandhaus concerts in Leipzig, an event which resulted in Leipsic becoming soon the musical center of Germany.

The death of his father in 1835 matured Mendelssohn's decision to marry. Cecile Heanrenaud, daughter of a pastor in Frankfort, a beauty of the most delicate type, then seventeen years old, won his heart, but when Felix became fully aware of his passion he did not hasten to declare himself, as other more impulsive lovers would have done, but he left Frankfort in order to submit the state of his affections to a cool, unprejudiced scrutiny. He went to Scheveningen, Holland, where he spent a month passing judgment on his own heart. This exceptional self-control would alone suffice to explain the absence of impetuous dramatic outbursts in his music. Cecile was first distressed at the apparent coolness, but Mendelssohn was only acting after the wise Italian proverb, "Chi va piano va sano, chi va forte va alla morte" (He who goes quietly goes safely; he who goes swiftly goes to death.) In a letter to his mother he writes: "I would gladly send Holland, sea baths, bathing machines, Kursaal and visitors to the end of the world just to be back in Frankfort. When I have seen this charming girl again, I hope the suspense soon will be over and I shall know whether we are to be anything - or, rather, everything - to each other or not." In September his suspense was over, and his engagement to Cecile was formally announced. Subsequently, his marriage took place in her father's former church. The amiability and beauty of his bride made a universally favorable impression. It was some time after the wedding before Mendelssohn's sister Fanny saw Cecile for the first time, and when, at last, she did meet her, this fond sister of Felix, who naturally would be most critical, was warmly enthusiastic over her.

The Etude Magazine April 1920





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