Music Composers

Felix Mendelssohn-Bartoldy--Part 9

A noble feature in Mendelssohn was his treatment of other artists, particularly those whose gifts differed widely from his own. Liszt was heartily welcomed by him at his first appearance in Leipsic in 1840. Another instance of Mendelssohn's magnanimity occurred in 1843, when Hector Berlioz came from Weimar, to Leipsic. Berlioz knew that his won musical ideas diverged fundamentally from those of Mendelssohn, and he feared that his reception by the latter would be rather cool. He wrote to Mendelssohn, and his answer was as follows: "Everything I can do to make your stay in Leipsic agreeable to you I shall make it equally my duty and my pleasure to do. I can assure you that you will be happy here and be satisfied with the artists and the public. I shall rejoice to give you my hand and to bid you welcome to Germany."

Mendelssohn as a Pianist

A contemporary thus describes his skill as a virtuoso: "The characteristic features on Mendelssohn's playing were a very elastic touch, a wonderful trill, elegance, roundness, firmness, perfect articulation, strength and tenderness at call in its needed place." His chief excellence lay, as Goethe said, in his giving every piece from the Bach epoch down its own distinctive character, and yet, with all his loyalty to the old masters, he knew just how to conceal their obsolete forms by adding new modern graces of his own. Especially beautiful was his playing of Beethoven's compositions, and the adagios most of all, which he rendered with unspeakable tenderness and depth of feeling.

Two monuments were erected to him, the one on the terrace of Crystal Palace in London and the other in Leipsic before the Concert Auditorium.

The Etude Magazine April 1920





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