AccessMyLibrary provides FREE access to millions of articles from top publications available through your library.
By Roger Nichols. pp. xxi + 258. (Faber & Faber, London & Boston, 1997, [pounds]12.99. ISBN 0-571-17861-8.)
In his brief introduction to Mendelssohn Remembered, a medley of reflections on the composer by acquaintances, colleagues, friends and relatives, Roger Nichols includes among his goals the presentation of sufficient evidence to demonstrate Mendelssohn's 'extraordinary standing among his contemporaries' (p. x). The sheer wealth of available material makes the task at once straightforward and challenging, and it is to Nichols's credit that the portrait - or rather, mosaic - which emerges here is such a finely nuanced one. The volume's twelve chapters combine elements of chronological and topical organization. Nestled between opening and closing sections dealing with Mendelssohn's early and late years, respectively, is a central series of chapters devoted to accounts of Mendelssohn as conductor, teacher and performer, views of the composer through the eyes of Berlioz, the Schumanns and other artists, excerpts relating to his British tours between 1829 and 1844, and lively passages concerning his musical tastes, personal manners and family life.
Nichols draws liberally on a number of standard items in the Mendelssohn bibliography, such as the biographical and in some cases autobiographical writings of Julius Benedict, Eduard Devrient, Sebastian Hensel, Ferdinand Hiller, Wilhelm Lampadius, Felix Moscheles and William Rockstro, but in addition he has ferreted out a wide variety of revealing excerpts from the nineteenth-century periodical literature. An amusing passage from an unsigned article in the Musical Times (1897) relates Mendelssohn's querying Sabilla Novello, with the slight lisp that was one of the trademarks of his …