Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy by James Warren Childe
Mendelssohn first visited London in April 1829 and both his star quality performances and music captured the imagination of the concert going public. Mendelssohn made a number of visits to Britain in his short life, and in 1837 he wrote to his mother that… ‘I must tell you…that I never had such a brilliant success …The applause and the shouts at the least glimpse of me were incessant, and sometimes really made me laugh….’
Mendelssohn became a favourite with Queen Victoria and Prince Albert – she made him play for her some of his Songs Without Words and drink tea. Mendelssohn enjoyed his visits to London, playing at the Philharmonic concerts, to which he brought new music such as The Hebrides and the concert going public were ‘crazy with delight’ for his performances. He wrote in a latter ‘That smokey place [London] is fated to be now and ever my favourite residence; my heart glows when I even think of it’ .
The busy schedule of travelling, conducting, reheasing, composing and performing all came to a sudden end, in November 1847, when Mendelssohn suffered a series of strokes and died. ‘It is with deep regret that we announce the death of this distinguished mucisian and composer, as having taken place at Drissig, on Thursday night last, Nov.4, after a short illness….It is needless to say how he was, year by year, more and more looked to and waited for as the one man in Europe – let us not have to say, the last of the great German muscians. Young in years but old in honours; rich in fame and rich in friends …his decease leaves a void it is hard to imagine filled.’ Daily News (London, England), Wednesday, November 10, 1847; Issue 453
If you would like to learn more about Felix Mendelssohn and his music, please see the links below…