Page:A Dictionary of Music and Musicians vol 2.djvu/287

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MENDELSSOHN.

The next few years were given chiefly to Leipzig. He devoted all his heart and soul to the Gewandhaus Concerts, and was well repaid by the increasing excellence of the perform- ance and the enthusiasm of the audiences. The principal feature of the series 1837-8 was the appearance of Clara Novello for the first time in Germany a fruit of his English experiences. She sang first at the concert of Nov. 2, and re- mained till the middle of January, creating an extraordinary excitement. But the programmes had other features to recommend them. In Feb. and March, 1838, there were four historical con- certs (i . Bach, Handel, Gluck, Viotti ; 2. Haydn, Oimarosa, Naumann, Righini ; 3. Mozart, Salieri, MeTiul, Romberg; 4. Vogler, Beethoven, Weber), which excited great interest. Mendelssohn and David played the solo pieces, and it is easy to imagine what a treat they must have been. In the programmes of other concerts we find Beetho- ven's ' Glorreiche Augenblick,' and Mendelssohn's own 42nd Psalm. His Serenade and Allegro gio- joso (op. 43) like his Ruy Bias Overture, a veritable 'impromptu was produced on April 2, and his String Quartet in Eb (op. 44, no. 3) on the following day.

His domestic life during the spring of 1838 was not without anxiety. On Feb. 7 his first son was born, afterwards named Carl Wolfgang Paul, and his wife had a very dangerous 2 illness. This year he conducted the Festival at Cologne (June 3-6). He had induced the committee to include a 'Cantata of Bach's, then an entire novelty, in the programme, which also contained a selection from Handel's Joshua. A silver cup (Pokal) was presented to him at the 4 close.

The summer was spent at Berlin, in the lovely garden of the Leipziger Strasse, and was his wife's first introduction to her husband's 5 family. To Felix it was a time of great enjoyment and much productiveness. Even in the early part of the year he had not allowed the work of the concerts to keep him from composition. The String Quartet in Eb, just mentioned, the Cello Sonata in Bb (op. 45), the 95th Psalm, and the Serenade and Allegro giojoso are all dated during the hard work of the first four months of 1838. The actual result of the summer was another String Quartet (in D ; op. 44, no. i), dated 'July 34, 38, and the Andante Cantabile and Presto Agitato in B (Berlin, June 32, 1838). The intended result is a symphony in Bb, which occupied him much, which he mentions more than 7 once as complete in his head, but of which no trace on paper has yet been found. He alludes to it in a letter to the Philharmonic Society (Jan. 19, 1839) answer- ing their request for a symphony as 'begun last year,' though it is doubtful if has occupations will allow him to finish it in time for the 1839 season. So near were we to the possession of an

i Conceived and composed In two days for Mme. Botgorschek's concert. See Letter, April 2, 1888. H. 115.

Letter to J. A. Novello, in G. * M. 192. For Aseension Day. A.M.Z. 1838, 439. i F.M. il. 57, 63.

Autograph In possession of the Sterndale-Bennetts. I L. July 30, 1838; June 18, 1839; H. 126.

��MENDELSSOHN.

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��additional companion to the Italian and Scotch Symphonies ! The Violin Concerto was also begun in this 8 holiday, and he speaks of a 9 Psalm (pro- bably the noble one for 8 voices, ' When Israel'), a Sonata for P.F. and Violin (in 10 F, still in MS.), and other things. He was now, too, in the midst of the tiresome " correspondence with Mr. Planche", on the subject of the opera which that gentleman had agreed to write, but which, like Mendelssohn's other negotiations on the subject of operas, came to nothing ; and there is the usual large number of long and care- fully written letters. He returned to Leipzig in September, but was again attacked with 13 measles, on the eve of a performance of St. Paul, on Sept. 15. The attack was sufficient to prevent his conducting the first of the Ge- wandhaus Concerts (Sept. 30) at which David was his substitute. On Oct. 7 he was again at his ^post. The star of this series was Mrs. Alfred Shaw, whose singing had pleased him very much when last in England ; its one remarkable novelty was Schubert's great Symphony in C, which had been brought from Vienna by Schu- mann, and was first played in MS. on March 22, 1839, at the last concert of the series. It was during this autumn that he received from Erard the Grand piano which became so well known to his friends and pupils, and the prospect of which he celebrates in a remarkable letter now in possession of that Firm.

Elijah is now fairly under way. After dis- cussing with his friends Bauer and Schubring the subject of " St. Peter, in terms which show how completely the requirements of an oratorio book were within his grasp, and another subject not very clearly indicated, but apparently ap- proaching that which he afterwards began to treat as 15 Christus he was led to the contemplation of that most picturesque and startling of the pro- phets of the Old Testament, who, strange to say, does not appear to have been previously treated by any known composer. Hiller tells 16 us that the subject was suggested by the "passage (i Kings xix. n), 'Behold, the Lord passed by.' We may accept the fact more certainly than the date (1840) at which Hiller places it. Such a thing could not but fix itself in the memory, though the date might easily be confused. We have already seen that he was at work on the subject in the summer of 1837, and a letter to Schubring, dated Nov. 2, 38, shows that much consultation had already taken place upon it between Mendelssohn and himself, and that considerable progress had been made in the con- struction of the book of the oratorio. Mendels- sohn had drawn up a number of passages and scenes in order, and had given them to Schu- bring for consideration. His ideas are dramatic enough for the stage ! A month later 18 the matter

L. Jnly SO, 1838. H. 126. l ' Berlin. June 13, 1838.'

11 For the whole of this see Mr. Planches ' Becol I ectlous and Reflec- tions,' 1872, chap. xxi. Mr. Planchd's caustic deductions may well ba pardoned him even by those who most clearly see their want of force.

12 A.M.Z. 1838, 642. M Ibid. 696.

M L. July 14, 1837. M I- Jan. 12, 1835. M H. 171.

17 He liked a central point for his work. In St. Peter It would hart

been the Gift of Tongues ; see L. July 14, 1837. ls L. Dec. 6, 1833.

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