Page:A Dictionary of Music and Musicians vol 2.djvu/313

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MENDELSSOHN.

I Concerto for Violin and Orchestra ; 2 do. for Pianoforte, and 3 shorter works for P. F. and Orchestra.

1 Octet for Strings, 2 Quintets and 7 Quartets for do., with fragments of an 8th ; 3 Quartets for P.F. and strings, 2 Trios for the same, a Sonata for the Violin and P. F. ; 2 Sonatas and a set of Variations for Cello and P. F.

2 pieces for Piano, four hands ; 3 Sonatas for Piano solo, I Fantasia for do. ('Scotch Sonata'), 16 Scherzos, Capriccios, etc. ; 8 books of Songs without Words, 6 in each, and 2 separate similar pieces ; 7 Characteristic pieces ; 6 pieces for children ; 7 Preludes and Fugues ; and 3 sets of Variation?.

For the organ, 6 Sonatas, and 3 Preludes and Fugues.

2 Oratorios and fragments of a third.

I Hymn (Lauda Sion), 2 ditto for Solo, Chorus, and Orchestra.

3 Motets for Female voices and Organ ; 3 Church pieces for Solos, Chorus, and Organ.

5 Motets, Jubilate, Nunc Dimittis, Magnificat, and i Kyriea for voices only ; 2 ditto Men's voices only ; 2 ditto Chorus and Orchestra.

8 Psalms for Solos, Chorus and Orchestra ; 6 ' Spriiche ' for 8 voices.

1 Opera, and portions of a second ; i Operetta ; the Walpurgisnight.

Music to Midsummer Night's Dream, Athalie, Antigone, and ffidipus.

2 Festival Cantatas ; I Concert-aria ; 10 Duets and 8 2 Songs for solo voice, with P.F. ; 28 Part Songs for mixed voices, and 1 7 for men's voices.

Of these a complete collected edition, edited by Julius llietz, has been published by Messrs. Breitkopf & Hiirtel. The prospectus was issued in July 1876, and the publication began with 1877- The various separate editions are too nu- merous to be given here, but we may mention that while these sheets are passing through the press, a complete collection of the P.F. works (solo and with orchestra) has been issued by Messrs. Novello in one vol. of 5 1 8 pages.

Two editions of the Thematic Catalogue have been published by Messrs. Breitkopf, the 1st in two parts, 1846 and 1853, the 2nd in 1873. A third edition is very desirable, on the model of the admirable catalogues of Beethoven and Schubert, edited by Mr. Nottebohm. The English publishers, and the dates, should in every case be given, since their editions were often published simultane- ously with those of the German publishers, and indeed in some cases are the original issues.

The few of Mendelssohn's very early works which he published himself, or which have been issued since his death, show in certain points the traces of his predecessors of Bach, Mozart, Bee- thoven, and Weber. But this is only saying what can be said of the early works of all composers, including Beethoven himself. Mendelssohn is not more but less amenable to this law of nature than most of his compeers. The traces of Bach are the most permanent, and they linger on in the vocal works even as late as St. Paul. Indeed, Bach may be tracked still later in the solid con-

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��slruction and architectonic arrangement of the choruses, even of the Lobgesang, the grand Psalms, the Walpurgisnight, and Elijah, works in all respects emphatically Mendelssohn's own, not less than in the religious feeling, the union of noble sentiment with tender expression, and the utter absence of commonness or vulgarity which pervade all his music alike.

In the instrumental works, however, the year 1826 broke the spell of all external influence, and the Octet, the Quintet in A, and above all the M.N.D. Overture, launched him upon the world at 17 as a thoroughly original composer. The Concert-overtures, the 2 great Symphonies, the two P. F. Concertos, and the Violin Con- certo, fully maintain this orginality, and in thought, style, phrase, and clearness of expression, no less than in their symmetrical structure and exquisite orchestration, are eminently independent and individual works. The advance between the Symphony in C minor (1824), which we call ' No. I,' though it is really ' No XIII,' and the Italian Symphony (Rome, 1831) is immense. The former is laid out quite on the Mozart plan, and the working throughout recalls the old world. But the latter has no model. The melodies and the treatment are Mendelssohn's alone, and while in gaiety and freshness it is quite unrivalled, it is not too much to say that the slow movement is as great a novelty as that of Beethoven's Concerto in G major. The Scotch Symphony is as original as the Italian, and on a much larger and grander scale. The opening Andante, the Scherzo, and the Finale are es- pecially splendid and individual. The Concert- overtures are in all essential respects as original as if Beethoven had not preceded them by writing Coriolan as true a representative of his genius as the Hebrides is of Mendelssohn's. That to the Midsummer Night's Dream, which brought the fairies into the orchestra and fixed them there, and which will always remain a monument of the fresh feeling of youth ; the Hebrides with its intensely sombre and melancholy sentiment, and the Melusina with its passionate pathos, have no predecessors in sentiment, treatment, or orches- tration. Euy Bias is as brilliant and as full of fire as the others are of sentiment, and does nofc fall a step behind them for individuality.

In these works there is little attempt at any modification of the established forms. Innova- tion was not Mendelssohn's habit of mind, and he rarely attempts it. The Scotch Symphony is directed to be played through without pause, and it has an extra movement in form of a long Coda, which appears to be a novelty in pieces in this class. There are unimportant variations in the form of the concertos, chiefly in the direc- tion of compression. But with Mendelssohn, no more than with Schubert, do these things force themselves on the attention. He has so much to say, and says it so well, the music is so good and so agreeable, that it never occurs to the hearer to enquire if he has altered the external proportions of his discourse.

His Scherzos are still more peculiarly his own

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