Musical Remains of the Ancient Church of England

J. Powell Metcalfe
1873 The Musical Times and Singing Class Circular  
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more » ... . AUGUST I, I873. THE WIUSICAL TIMES. AUGUST I, I873. I73 I73 good people (to the wicked it rlever comes) its sweet effect is never wholly lost. \Mhatever trials follow whatever pains of sickness or shades of death, the glory precedent still shines through, cheering the keen anguish, and tinging the deep cloud." We may at least hope that a remembrance of the sunnv, peaceful days of Mendelssohn's life (and they were not a few) cheered him when, seven years later than the time of wllich we write, he entered the " valley of the shadow of death." In I84I, we flnd Mendelssohn deprecating certain English comparisons between Spohr and himself. " These things are unaccountable," he wrote to Moscheles, '; and I heartily deplore themb in truth, not the slightest idea of such a competition or comparison has everentered mymind. * * * I rtever can or should like to be pitted as an opponent to a master of Spohr's standing." Mendelssohn's sineerity in this matter is proved by his besetting habit of undervaluing many of his works and perwistently keeping them from the world. During his xTisit to London in I844, Moscheles reasoned with him on this matter, and "endeavoured to impress Felix with the necessity of dealing fairly by himself, instead of undervaluing writings the sterling svorth of which was everywhere acknowledged." I'hat the reasoning did not succeed everybody knows. Mendelssohn could never get over the barrier which diffidence on the one hand, and artistic pride on the ' hossr, for example, the Oratorio was rellearsed at Moscheles's house in Chester Place, and at the Hanover Square Roomsand how the lady singers, as their habit is, " gave Mendelssohn some trouble * one finds fault with the song, and insists upon its being transposed Mendelssohn resists with studied politeness," &c. The actual performance was thus recorded by Moscheles in his diary: "August 26. Mendelssohn achieved his most brilliant triumph in this day's performance of his ' Elijah.' In my opinion this work has more wividness and more dramatic variety than ' St. Paul,' and yet it is written in the purest Oratorio styIe, and pIaces him yet another step his,her." This reads like the veriest truism now, and we turn kom it to an interesting anecdote illustrative of NIendelssohn's readiness of action. " The orchestral parts of a short recitative (by Beethoven or Spohr) xvere not forthcoming; we were all in a difliculty, but Mendelssohn came to the rescue. He quietly betook himself to an adjoining room, and there he composed the recitative, scored it, and copied the parts, and these were adrnirably played at Erst sight by the band the public knowing nothing of xvhat had happened. That's the way a Mendelssohn manages." At the close of the Festival, Moscheles broke up his English home, and joined Mendelssohn at Leipsic, much to the delight of the younger master, to whose heart the Conservatoire was so near that alot even when composing " Elijah," did he neglect the pupils for a day. The two families appear to have lived in perfect union, for Mrs. Moscheles xvrote to a friend at the time, " We are truly happy in our intercourse with the Mendelssohns e e * +hat a happy household it is. The abundant means at his command are never s(luandered upon outward
doi:10.2307/3352284 fatcat:e6xhwy2ginfmxbisp656ihrk6e