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A Portrait of Mendelssohn (Englisch) Gebundene Ausgabe – Mai 2003

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"This fascinating book presents a rich selection of documents concerning Mendelssohn's life and music, including some important new material." R. Larry Todd, Duke University


Since his death in 1847, Felix Mendelssohn's music and personality have been both admired and denigrated to extraordinary degrees. In this study Clive Brown weaves together a rich array of documents - letters, diaries, memoirs, reviews, news reports and more - with the aim of presenting a balanced picture of the composer and his work. Rejecting the received view of Mendelssohn as a facile, lightweight musician, Brown demonstrates that he was in fact an innovative and highly cerebral composer who exerted a powerful influence on musical thought into the 20th century. Brown discusses Mendelssohn's family background and education; the role of religion and race in his life and reputation; his experiences as practical musician (pianist, organist, string player, conductor) and as teacher and composer; the critical reception of his works; and the vicissitudes of his posthumous reputation. The text also includes a range of hitherto unpublished sketches made by Mendelssohn. The result is a portrayal of the man and his achievements as viewed through his own words and those of his contemporaries.

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A thematic approach to Mendelssohn's life and music. 3. September 2009
Von R. Persson - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe
Two hundred years after his birth, Mendelssohn appears to be undergoing a welcome reappraisal. Brown's book is a worthy addition to the many scholarly books and essays on this multi-talented and fascinating man, dispelling many of the myths perpetuated after his tragically early death. What sets this work apart from other biographies is its thematic arrangement of the many aspects of the composer's life and career, including his family, relations with women, religion, philosophy, his career as a conductor, composer, performer, as well as critical reception of the composer's work both during his lifetime and posthumously. A separate chapter discusses Wagner's essay on Judaism in music and its pernicious effect on Mendelssohn's (and Meyerbeer's) musical reputation. Mendelssohn's impressive accomplishments as visual artist are also discussed and some of his sketches and watercolors reproduced, although I would have enjoyed seeing some of them in color.

A deeply spiritual man and an idealist at heart, Mendelssohn believed that art and life should be one and the same. It is therefore a supreme irony that a composer who strove for depth of feeling and honesty in his work has too often been dismissed as superficial. Brown's book provides a welcome corrective to the life and legacy of this often misunderstood genius.
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