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Title: Letters of Felix Mendelssohn to Ignaz and Charlotte Moscheles
Author: Mendelssohn-Bartholdy, Felix
Language: English
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produced from images available at The Internet Archive)



                      FELIX MENDELSSOHN’S LETTERS

[Illustration: 1. Mendelssohn’s Study. From a Water-Color made by Felix
           Moscheles a few days after the composer’s death.]



                                LETTERS

                                  OF

                           FELIX MENDELSSOHN

                                  TO

                     IGNAZ AND CHARLOTTE MOSCHELES

                 TRANSLATED FROM THE ORIGINALS IN HIS
                        POSSESSION, AND EDITED

                          BY FELIX MOSCHELES

                              ILLUSTRATED

                            [Illustration]

                                BOSTON
                          TICKNOR AND COMPANY
                          211 Tremont Street
                                 1888

                          _Copyright, 1888_,
                      BY CHARLES SCRIBNER’S SONS
                       AND TICKNOR AND COMPANY.

                        _All rights reserved._

                           University Press:
                JOHN WILSON AND SON, CAMBRIDGE, U.S.A.

                               Dedicated

                                  TO

                   SIR GEORGE GROVE, D.C.L., LL.D.,

                      THE TRUEST FRIEND TO MUSIC

                            AND MUSICIANS.

I am indebted to Mr. ISAAC HENDERSON, of New York, for his kind
assistance in the selections made for publication.

Messrs. LITTLETON, of the firm of Novello, I have to thank for some
interesting details in reference to Mendelssohn’s business transactions
with them.

The letters as published in “Scribner’s Magazine,” by arrangement, were
selections from my manuscript translations. The portraits of Mendelssohn
and of the Mendelssohn family were, however, not contributed by me, with
the exception of the reproduction of the bust by Rietschel, and of the
medallion by Knauer.

FELIX MOSCHELES.



PREFACE.


The letters addressed by Felix Mendelssohn to my father came into my
possession in 1870. After Mendelssohn’s death, my father had carefully
arranged them in a special manuscript book, and had supplemented them
with an index of the contents and a table showing the dates of the
principal events in the life of his departed friend.

If I have abstained from giving publicity to these letters for so long a
time, it is because I thought such delay was in accordance with the
wishes of both writers. Many passages occur in which prominent musicians
of those days are unreservedly criticised,--passages which I felt as
little authorized to suppress as to publish during the lifetime of those
alluded to. I trust they will be none the less interesting now that time
has judged between the critics and those criticised. Nor did I feel
justified in omitting passages that may prove of less interest to the
general public than to a smaller circle; for they truly depict the warm
friendship which, in the course of years, ripened between Mendelssohn
and Moscheles, and they are thoroughly characteristic of the bright and
genial way in which Mendelssohn would express his personal feelings.

For a copy of my father’s letters to Mendelssohn, I am indebted to Prof.
Carl Mendelssohn, of Freiburg, the eldest son of the composer. From
these I have made extracts, or embodied their substance in a commentary,
where it seemed necessary to explain what Mendelssohn had written. To
give them in full I deemed undesirable, so much of similar
subject-matter from the pen of my father having already been made
public, notably in the “Life of Moscheles,” edited by my mother. This
biography is chiefly compiled from diaries extending over a period of
nearly sixty years, and faithfully reflecting his impressions on the
manifold incidents of his artistic career.

The letters addressed by Mendelssohn to my mother could, however, not be
omitted, although an English version of most of these appeared in print
some years ago. They accompany the letters to my father in chronological
order, and bear testimony to the warm regard which Mendelssohn
entertained for her, and which she so fully reciprocated. Although only
five years his senior, she was well fitted to be his guide and Mentor on
his entrance into London society; and he, on his side, was always ready
to take advice and friendly hints from his “grandmother,” as she would
call herself. Since that time half a century has gone by. She has become
a grandmother and a great-grandmother, surrounded by a bevy of
great-grandchildren; and now, in her eighty-third year, she is still
with us, active in mind and body, and, while cherishing the memories of
the past, ever ready to share in the joys and to join in the aspirations
of the present. And when she looks back on the long list of departed
friends, no figure stands out more brightly in her memory than that of
Mendelssohn; and we all, young or old, love to listen when she talks of
him.

I too have my recollections of him,--juvenile impressions, to be sure,
for I was not fifteen when he died; but none the less firmly are they
imprinted on my mind. Nor could it be otherwise. From earliest
childhood, I looked upon him as my parents’ dearest friend and my own
specially dear godfather, whose attention I had a right to monopolize,
whenever I thought my turn had come. I recollect waiting for that turn
more than once, while he was sitting at the piano with my father. When
it came, I had every reason to enjoy it. He really was a rare
playfellow, a delightful companion, not likely to be forgotten. A
certain race across the Regent’s Park; the tennis ball thrown into
immeasurable space; that pitched battle of snowballs, which appeared to
me second to none in the annals of warfare; his improvisation of a
funeral march, to which I enacted the part and exemplified the throes of
the dying hero,--all seem but things of yesterday. And then the drawing
of that troublesome hatchet!--to this day I am grateful to him for
helping me with that curve I could not get right. In fact, whether it
was play or lessons, my drawing or my Latin, he always took the most
lively interest in everything concerning me and my first steps along the
path of life,--the thorny path, I might add; for such it was on those
occasions when it led me away from the drawing-room in which he was the
ever-attractive centre,--when the hour struck which, according to cruel
practice, gave the signal for my discreet retirement. It is, however,
gratifying to me to remember that I occasionally proved refractory. One
evening, in particular, I successfully resisted, when Mendelssohn and my
father were just sitting down to the piano to improvise as only they
could, playing together or alternately, and pouring forth a
never-failing stream of musical ideas. A subject once started, it was
caught up as if it were a shuttlecock; now one of the players would seem
to toss it up on high, or to keep it balanced in mid-octaves with
delicate touch. Then the other would take it in hand, start it on
classical lines, and develop it with profound erudition, until, perhaps,
the two, joining together in new and brilliant forms, would triumphantly
carry it off to other spheres of sound. Four hands there might be, but
only one soul, so it seemed, as they would catch with lightning speed at
each other’s ideas, each trying to introduce subjects from the works of
the other. It was exciting to watch how the amicable contest would wax
hot, culminating occasionally in an outburst of merriment when some
conflicting harmonies met in terrible collision. I see Mendelssohn’s
sparkling eye, his air of triumph, on that evening when he had succeeded
in twisting a subject from a composition of his own into a Moscheles
theme, while Moscheles was obliged to second him in the bass. But not
for long. “Stop a minute!” said the next few chords that Moscheles
struck. “There I have you; this time you have taken the bait.” Soon they
would seem to be again fraternizing in perfect harmonies, gradually
leading up to the brilliant finale, that sounded as if it had been so
written, revised, and corrected, and were now being interpreted from the
score by two masters.

Bright and enjoyable as were such performances, they were by no means
the only ones that impressed me. In my father’s house there used to be a
great deal of music-making. “To make music” (_Musikmachen_) is a German
expression that covers a vast area of artistic ground. I should say it
meant: “To perform music, for the love of music.” That is certainly how
it was understood by the select little circle of musicians which
gathered round the piano in London, and later on in the Leipzig home.
Their motto was that which stood inscribed over the orchestra in the
Gewandhaus: “Res severa est verum gaudium.” High art to them was truly a
source of eternal joy. As I write now, I know full well that I was born
under a happy constellation; it was a happy name that Mendelssohn had
given me, and Berlioz was not wrong when, quoting the line of Horace, he
wrote in my album: “Donec eris _Felix_, multos numerabis amicos” (As
long as you are _Felix_, you will number many friends). But in those
days the fact that I was enjoying special privileges scarcely dawned
upon me. It was all a matter of course; to be sure, Mendelssohn or
Liszt, the Schumanns or Joachim, would come in and make music, and I
would listen devoutly enough many a time; but then, again, I could not
always follow my inclinations. There were my Latin and Greek exercises
to be done by to-morrow; and when such was the case, I might or might
not listen to what was going on in the next room, even if it happened
that Mendelssohn was playing and singing some new numbers just composed
for the “Elijah.”

The mention of my exercises reminds me of an incident truly
characteristic of Mendelssohn. It was on the evening of the 8th of
October, 1847, memorable to me as being the last I passed in his house.
He, Rietz, David, and my father had been playing much classical music.
In the course of an animated conversation which followed, some knotty
art-question arose and led to a lively discussion. Each of the
authorities present was warmly defending his own opinion, and there
seemed little prospect of an immediate agreement, when Mendelssohn,
suddenly interrupting himself in the middle of a sentence, turned on his
heel and startled me with the unexpected question: “What is the
_aoristus primus_ of τὑπτω, Felix?” Quickly recovering from my surprise,
I gave the answer. “Good!” said he; and off we went to supper, the
knotty point being thereby promptly settled.

But the sounds of mirth, as the chords of harmony, were soon to be
silenced. On the following day, the 9th of October, Mendelssohn was
struck down by the illness that proved fatal. He died on the 4th of
November.

Shortly afterwards I spent many an hour in the house that had been his.
Cécile Mendelssohn, his widow, carried her heavy burden with dignity and
resignation. The door of his study she kept locked. “Not a pen, not a
paper,” she says, in a letter to my father, “could I bring myself to
move from its place; and daily I admire in him that love of order which,
during his lifetime, you have so often noticed. That room must remain,
for a short time, my sanctuary,--those things, that music, my secret
treasure.”

It was with feelings of deep emotion that I entered that sanctuary, when
shortly afterwards Cécile Mendelssohn opened its door for me. I
possessed already much love for the study of painting; and now I had
asked and obtained permission to make a water-color drawing of that
room, while all yet stood as the master and friend had left it. There,
on the right, was the little old-fashioned piano, on which he had
composed so many of his great works; near the window was the
writing-desk he used to stand at. On the walls hung water-colors by his
own hand,--Swiss landscapes and others; to the left, on the bookcases
containing his valuable musical library, stood the busts of Goethe and
Bach; on the writing-table, the pen which but the other day was wet,
along with this or that object which I had so recently seen in his hand.
And as I sat working, doubts and misgivings arose in my mind. Was it not
profanation, I thought, to intrude with my petty attempt at painting,
where all was hushed in the silence of death? But I worked on, and my
thoughts were lost in my first great sorrow. Cécile Mendelssohn came and
went. Not a sigh, not a murmur, escaped her lips.

But enough. I close this hasty sketch, although yet many a color and
form arise in my memory to complete it. Sufficient has been said in
these pages, if between the lines there stands to read, that in editing
and translating the following correspondence I have been performing a
pleasant duty and a labor of love, and that I feel happy to share with a
larger circle of Mendelssohn’s friends and admirers the possession of
those letters which have so long been dear to me.


LONDON, _May, 1888_.



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS.


                                                                    PAGE

1. MENDELSSOHN’S STUDY. From a Water-Color Drawing
made by Felix Moscheles a few days after the composer’s
death        _Frontispiece_

2. IGNAZ MOSCHELES. From a Fainting by Felix Moscheles                 1

3. Mendelssohn’s Congratulations to Moscheles on the
Latter’s Birthday                                                     20

4. Fac-simile of Mendelssohn’s Dedication to Moscheles
upon the Fly-leaf of Beethoven’s Musical Sketch-Book                  49

5. Fac-simile of the Drawing in Mendelssohn’s Letter of
Feb. 27, 1833                                                         55

6. The well-known “Cradle Song,” composed for his Godson.
The words are by Klingemann                                           62

7. First Page of the Original Draft of Mendelssohn’s “Melodies”
(Songs without Words). The original in the
possession of Felix Moscheles                                         64

8. Fac-simile of Assignment to Mr. Novello                            67

9. Fac-simile of Note from the Zoölogical Gardens                     71

10. Fac-simile of Humorous Note, “At the Residence”                   75

11. Fac-simile of Card of Invitation filled in by Mendelssohn         79

12. First Page of the Original Score of Mendelssohn’s Overture
to the “Isles of Fingal,” given by him to Moscheles.
On perusing it fifty years later, Gounod
made the note appended                                                83

13. The House in which the Moscheleses lived, No. 3 Chester
Place, Regent’s Park. Mr. Moscheles is supposed to
be looking out of the window of his dressing-room.
From a Sketch made by Mendelssohn in an autograph
album given by him to his godchild                                    90

14. Regent’s Park, near the Moscheles House. From a
Sketch made by Mendelssohn in an autograph album
presented by him to his godchild                                      94

15. “Mailied,” in Letter of May 15, 1834, to Mrs. Moscheles
(Fac-simile)                                                         105

16. THE BRIDGE OF SIGHS. From a Water-Color Drawing
by Mendelssohn                                                       122

17. On March 20, 1836, the University of Leipzig presented
Mendelssohn with the diploma which we reproduce.
It is worded, “Ob insignia in artem musicam merita,”--“In
recognition of his signal services to the art of
music”                                                               146

18. “Im Kahn” (words by H. Heine), on last page of Letter,
Dec. 12, 1837 (Fac-simile)                                           161

19. Fac-simile from Letter of Feb. 27, 1839                          183

20. “Des Hirten Winterlied.” In Letter of Nov. 18, 1840,
to Mrs. Moscheles                                                    199

21. BIRMINGHAM. From a Pen and Ink Drawing by Mendelssohn            208

22. Fac-simile of an Album Sketch by Mendelssohn                     211

23. Mendelssohn left England with Moscheles and Chorley,
on the 3d of October. The Sketch is taken from a
joint letter which they wrote on their arrival at Ostend.

    “Bid me not speak, bid me be mute.”--_Goethe._

    “There are moments in the life of man.”--_Schiller._

    “Here the ship gave a lurch, and he grew seasick.”--_Byron._

    “However, we are all three sitting comfortably round
    the fire in Moscheles’s room, and our thoughts are with
    you.

F. M. B.”                                                            215

24. Although, or perhaps because, he had no “special duties” to perform
as “Kapellmeister” in Berlin, the time he spent there was productive of
great work. Amongst other things he composed the music to Sophocles’s
Antigone, in the surprisingly short time of eleven days. It was
performed on the 28th of October, 1841, at the King’s Palace in Potsdam,
a select audience being invited on that occasion.

In the Sketch taken from Mrs. Moscheles’s album, Mendelssohn gives the
stage arrangements, as made for the performance at the Berlin theatre:--

  _a b._ Curtain and line of Proscenium.
  _c d._ Scene representing Palace.
  _x._ Altar to Bacchus.
  _a e b._ Orchestra 5’ above the floor.
  _a b._ 5’ above the orchestra.
  _f g_, _h i_. Steps leading to the stage.
  _k l_, _m n_. Steps leading to the orchestra.
  _y z._ The usual limit between the orchestra and the
  first row of stalls.
  _y o p z._ Space for the instrumentalists.

“This, however, is not from ‘Antigone,’ but in remembrance of many a
happy gathering, of all the happy days of last spring, and of

“Yours gratefully,

F. M. B.”                                                            222

25. Fac-simile from a Letter written in July, 1842                   225

26. MENDELSSOHN. From the Bust modelled by Professor
Rietschel                                                            228

27. Fac-simile of a Second Page of Congratulations to
Moscheles, drawn May 30, 1844. (See also Illustration
No. 4)                                                               244

28. Fac-simile of Drawing.--Incidents of a Concert at
Frankfurt                                                            249

29. From a Cast of Mendelssohn’s Hand                                266

30. Medallion modelled by Knauer, of Leipzig, shortly after
Mendelssohn’s death, and presented by him to the
Directors of the Gewandhaus. It was placed in the
concert-room at the back of the orchestra. We are
indebted to Messrs. Novello for the reduced copy of
the medallion                                                        276

[Illustration: 2. IGNAZ MOSCHELES

FROM A PAINTING BY FELIX MOSCHELES]



LETTERS
OF
FELIX MENDELSSOHN.


In 1824 Moscheles was engaged on a professional tour, giving concerts in
the principal cities of Germany. During his short stay in Berlin, and in
response to the two following notes from Mendelssohn’s mother, he gave
some instruction to Felix, then in his fifteenth year. How fully he,
even at this early period of their acquaintance, recognized the genius
of the young composer, is shown by an entry in his diary. He says: “I am
quite aware that I am sitting next to a master, not a pupil.”

       *       *       *       *       *

BERLIN, Nov. 18, 1824.

We much regretted not to see you at dinner to-day; pray let us have the
pleasure of your company, if not earlier, at least next Sunday. Have you
kindly thought over our request concerning lessons? You would sincerely
oblige us by consenting, if you could do so without interfering with
the arrangements you have made for your stay in this place. Please do
not set down these repeated requests to indiscretion, but attribute them
solely to the wish that our children should be enabled to profit by the
presence of the “prince des pianistes.”

With sincere regards, yours,

L. MENDELSSOHN BARTHOLDY.

       *       *       *       *       *

BERLIN, Nov. 23, 1824.

Being uncertain whether my son will find you at home, I write this line
to ask if you feel inclined to visit the Sing-Akademie. Felix will at
any rate call for you, as his way lies in that direction. If you are
disengaged, will you join our family dinner at three o’clock, or, should
that be impossible, will you accompany Felix, after the “Akademie” (it
lasts from five to seven o’clock), and be one of our small circle at
tea?

If I may be allowed to renew my request that you will give lessons to my
two eldest children, be good enough to let me know your terms. I should
like them to begin at once, that they may profit as much as possible
during the time of your stay here.

With sincere regard and esteem, yours,

L. MENDELSSOHN BARTHOLDY.

       *       *       *       *       *

The relative positions of teacher and pupil were soon to be exchanged
for friendship of a lasting character,--Moscheles, on the one hand,
greeting with the most cordial sympathy the great promises of the
youthful genius; Mendelssohn, on the other, appreciating with all the
warmth of his artistic nature what had been achieved by the maturer
artist, his senior by sixteen years.

In the autumn of 1826 Moscheles, then again on a concert tour through
Germany, made a short stay in Berlin, and spent many happy hours with
his friends the Mendelssohns. Felix had just completed his Overture to
“A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” and played it, arranged for two performers,
with his sister Fanny. Amongst other compositions that mark these early
days of his musical career, were the Sonata in E major and an Overture
in C. Moscheles in his diary expresses his warm appreciation of those
works, and comments at the same time on the fact that “this young genius
is so far scarcely recognized beyond the small circle of his teachers
and personal friends. One more prophet,” he adds, “who will have to lay
the foundation of fame in another country.”

On the eve of Moscheles’s departure from Berlin, Mendelssohn sent him
his E major Sonata with the following lines:--

       *       *       *       *       *

BERLIN, Nov. 28, 1826.

You kindly expressed a wish, dear Mr. Moscheles, to have my Sonata, and
I therefore take the liberty of presenting it to you. Should you
occasionally come across it, let it remind you of one who will always
esteem and respect you.

Once more a thousand heartfelt thanks for the happy hours I owe to your
“Studies;” they will long find an echo in my mind. I am sure they are
the most valuable of your works,--that is, until you write another.

My best wishes accompany you on what I trust will be a happy and
pleasant journey.

Please remember me most kindly to Mrs. Moscheles, and believe me

Ever yours,

F. MENDELSSOHN BARTHOLDY.

       *       *       *       *       *

During the next two years Mendelssohn was cultivating and developing his
natural gifts in every direction. He attended the lectures of Hegel,
Ritter, and others at the Berlin University, was in frequent contact
with some of the most prominent men of the day, and already took the
highest position both as a composer and as a pianist. Amongst the
friends who formed the select circle at his father’s house, and who
remained attached to him through life, were Eduard Devrient, the
distinguished actor and writer on Dramatic Art, and Carl Klingemann, who
lived many years in England as Attaché to the Hanoverian Embassy. The
latter was highly gifted as a poet, and many of Mendelssohn’s most
popular songs were inspired by his verses.

       *       *       *       *       *

BERLIN, Dec. 12, 1828.

MY DEAR SIR AND ESTEEMED FRIEND,--My son, in whom you take so kind an
interest, is about to leave his home in a few months, and to go forth
into the world. He is a musician, and a musician he means to remain; and
in furtherance of his musical education he proposes to make some stay in
Italy, France, England, and Germany, with a view to becoming acquainted
with the great works of art, the prominent artists and art institutions
of these countries, and of seeing for himself what Music aspires to, and
what it has achieved.

What a comfort it is to us to know that in that vast metropolis, so
strange and so new to my son, he is to be welcomed by such true and warm
friends as yourself and Carl Klingemann!

To him please remember me most kindly when you see him, and do not fail
to present my kindest regards to Mrs. Moscheles.

Yours most truly,

A. MENDELSSOHN BARTHOLDY.

       *       *       *       *       *

BERLIN, Jan. 10, 1829.

DEAR SIR,--Let me begin by apologizing for troubling you with this
letter.

The kindness and friendship you have so often shown me will not, I know,
fail me on this occasion; more especially as I come to you for advice on
a subject of which I know you to be the most competent judge. The
matter on which I want your kind opinion is this:--

I intend to start at the beginning of this year, and to devote three
years to travelling; my chief object being to make a long stay in Italy
and France. As it is desirable, for several reasons, that I should spend
a few days in Berlin about the middle of next December, before leaving
for Rome, I intend to devote the eight and a half months of the present
year, during which I can absent myself, to visiting first those cities
of Germany I am not acquainted with, such as Vienna and Munich, and
then, if possible, I would extend my journey to London.

The object I have in view is, not to appear in public, but rather to be
musically benefited by my tour, to compare the various views and
opinions of others, and thus to consolidate my own taste. As I only care
to see what is most remarkable in these two cities, and to become
acquainted with those eminent in the world of Art,--not, as I said
before, to be heard myself or to appear in public,--I trust the time I
can devote to my travels will not prove too short. Now, the question
which I want you to decide is this: whether it will be better to begin
or to end with London. In the one case I should be in Vienna early in
April, remaining there till about the middle of July, and go first to
Munich _viâ_ the Tyrol, and then down the Rhine to London, where I could
stay till December, and return by way of Hamburg to Berlin. In the
other case I should take London first in April, remain till July, then
go up the Rhine to Munich, and through the Tyrol to Vienna, and thence
back to Berlin. Evidently the former of these tours would be the more
agreeable, and as such I would willingly select it; but in following the
latter, should I not have a better chance of seeing the two capitals to
the fullest advantage,--the season in Vienna coming to an end, as I am
given to understand, in May, whereas in London it extends all through
June and even beyond?

You, who have so long lived in both cities, and are so well acquainted
with musical men and matters in both, will best be able to solve my
doubts and to answer a question of so much importance to me. You have
given me such constant proofs of your kindness and readiness to oblige,
that I feel confident you will not discontinue your friendly assistance,
but once more give me the benefit of your advice.

I have yet to thank you for the second book of your splendid “Studies.”
They are the finest pieces of music I have become acquainted with for a
long time,--as instructive and useful to the player as they are
gratifying to the hearer. Might you not feel disposed to publish a third
book? You know what service you would be rendering all lovers of music.
With best regards to Mrs. Moscheles, I have the honor to remain,

Yours most respectfully and truly,

F. MENDELSSOHN BARTHOLDY.

       *       *       *       *       *

In answer to this and the preceding letter from Mendelssohn’s father,
Moscheles advises Felix to begin his projected tour with a visit to
London.

       *       *       *       *       *

BERLIN, March 26, 1829.

DEAR SIR,--I sincerely thank you for your kind letter of the 23d of last
month, which has quite settled my plans. I shall follow your advice and
go to London first. Do not take it amiss if I now recall your kind
offers and take you at your word. If I am indiscreet, you have but your
own kindness and friendliness to blame; and so I trust you will make
allowances for my boldness, and will moreover grant my requests. Your
description of London is so attractive, and the way you meet my wishes
so friendly, that it is no wonder I made up my mind at once.

According to your advice, I have made inquiries about the boats between
Hamburg and London. The first sails on the 4th of April, and after that,
one every week. It will be impossible for me to leave by the first or
second, as I have hitherto not been able to make any preparations.

I have been very busy lately conducting, for the benefit of a charitable
institution, two performances of Sebastian Bach’s Passion according to
Saint Matthew, with the aid of the Sing-Akademie and the Royal Band; and
now the public is loud in its demands for a third performance, which,
however, is quite out of the question.

The whole thing has so interfered with the completion of some of my own
compositions, and with various business, that I shall require at least a
fortnight to prepare for my departure; then I want to stay a few days in
Hamburg, so I shall leave only by the third steamer, on the 18th of
April, due in London on the 20th. If all goes well, I leave Berlin on
the 10th of April, arrive in Hamburg on the 12th, and shall call upon
you at your house on the 20th. You cannot fancy how delighted I am at
the prospect of seeing you in the midst of your own happy surroundings
and in the brilliant position you occupy, and how anxious I am too to
hear your latest compositions, especially the new symphony you speak of.

Paganini is here; he gives his last concert on Saturday, and then goes
direct to London, where I believe he will meet with immense success, for
his never-erring execution is beyond conception. You ask too much if you
expect me to give a description of his playing. It would take up the
whole letter; for he is so original, so unique, that it would require an
exhaustive analysis to convey an impression of his style.

Now, to my great requests; I put them, trusting to your kind indulgence.
Can you really take rooms for me, as you suggest in your letter?
Anything would be welcome, however small, if in your neighborhood. If
so, please let Klingemann know; he would have time to send me the
address to Berlin. Secondly, I want your advice as to whether I should
really bring the scores of some of my compositions, and if so, which
would be the best to select? I was thinking of my Overture to “A
Midsummer Night’s Dream;” do you think that suitable? And if I pack
manuscripts in my portmanteau, shall I be able to pass the custom-house
without difficulty? In that case I would bring several of my
compositions, and submit them to your judgment previous to making a
selection.

I by no means expect you to answer all my questions yourself, for I know
how precious every single moment of your time in London is; but if you
will give Klingemann the desired information and your decisions on the
above, you will again oblige me, and add one more claim to my sincere
gratitude.

Please give my best compliments to Mrs. Moscheles, and believe me

Yours most sincerely,

FELIX MENDELSSOHN BARTHOLDY.

       *       *       *       *       *

Moscheles writes to say that he has secured rooms for Mendelssohn at No.
203 Great Portland Street, Oxford Street. He urges him to bring with him
for performance in London some of his compositions, more especially his
Overture to “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” and his sixteen-part Cantata,
“Hora est,” and adds that he will encounter no difficulty at the
custom-house.

On the 21st of April Mendelssohn arrived in London; on the 23d Moscheles
notes in his diary, “I took him a round of calls to introduce him to
Chappell, Cramer, Collard, etc.;” and then follow daily memoranda,
recording pleasant hours spent in and out of Moscheles’s house. The
following note refers to Mendelssohn’s offers of assistance in copying
out a Fantasia for pianoforte and orchestra, “Strains of the Scottish
Bards,” which Moscheles had just written and dedicated to Sir Walter
Scott (Op. 80),--a composition which had been put on the programme of
Moscheles’s concert announced for the 7th of May.

       *       *       *       *       *

LONDON, April 25, 1829.

Might I request you, dear Mr. Moscheles, to send me by bearer the
promised part of your Fantasia to copy? I hope to have some time to
spare to-day and to-morrow morning, and will endeavor to distinguish
myself to the best of my ability by putting large heads to my notes and
being generally correct, so that I may frequently be allowed to assist
you; and if you are satisfied with my copying, I trust you will prove it
by giving me further orders. I only beg you will send me some sheets of
music paper, as I do not know your size and have none by me.

I regret that Professor Rosen,[1] who has just called on me, has
reckoned on my coming to dinner to-day, and I must therefore request you
to apologize for my absence to Mrs. Moscheles. At any rate, I shall be
with you on Saturday at about eight o’clock, as you have allowed me to
do so.

Your respectfully devoted

F. MENDELSSOHN BARTHOLDY.

       *       *       *       *       *

THURSDAY.

DEAR MRS. MOSCHELES,--I regret that I am engaged for dinner and evening,
and see no possibility of getting off, however much I should like it.
But I trust you will let me call as soon as I have moved into my
Portland Street quarters (I am doing so to-day), and ask when I may come
instead. I am much obliged to Mr. Moscheles for desiring to see some of
my new things; and if he will promise to let me know when he has had
enough of them, I will one of these days bring a cab-full of manuscript
and play you all to sleep.

Excuse this hasty line of

Your migrating

FELIX MENDELSSOHN BARTHOLDY.

       *       *       *       *       *

During the following months they spent many pleasant hours together.
Mendelssohn brought the “cab-full;” and amongst other compositions it
contained his sacred Cantata on a Chorale in A minor, a Chorus in
sixteen parts (“Hora est”), and a stringed Quartet in A minor; and
Moscheles finds in the works of the young composer “a solid substratum
of study, and the rarest and most promising of natural gifts.” He soon
became a favorite in all circles of London society, always welcome as an
artist and as a genial companion. His Overture to “A Midsummer Night’s
Dream” was performed, and met with an enthusiastic reception.

What he writes of his Double Concerto is so bright that we quote his own
words:--

       *       *       *       *       *

“Yesterday Moscheles and I had a first trial of my Double Concerto in E
in Clementi’s piano-manufactory. Mrs. Moscheles and Mr. Collard were our
audience. It was great fun; no one has an idea how Moscheles and I
coquetted together on the piano,--how the one constantly imitated the
other, and how sweet we were. Moscheles plays the last movement with
wonderful brilliancy; the runs drop from his fingers like magic. When it
was over, all said it was a pity that we had made no cadenza; so I at
once hit upon a passage in the first part of the last _tutti_ where the
orchestra has a pause, and Moscheles had _nolens volens_ to comply and
compose a grand cadenza. We now deliberated, amid a thousand jokes,
whether the small last solo should remain in its place, since of course
the people would applaud the cadenza. ‘We must have a bit of _tutti_
between the cadenza and the solo,’ said I. ‘How long are they to clap
their hands?’ asked Moscheles. ‘Ten minutes, I dare say,’ said I.
Moscheles beat me down to five. I promised to supply a _tutti_; and so
we took the measure, embroidered, turned, and padded, put in sleeves _à
la_ Mameluke, and at last with our mutual tailoring produced a brilliant
concerto. We shall have another rehearsal to-day; it will be quite a
picnic, for Moscheles brings the cadenza, and I the _tutti_.”[2]

       *       *       *       *       *

In the summer of this year Moscheles made a concert tour through
Denmark, whilst Mendelssohn took a trip to Scotland with Klingemann.
There, after the multifarious duties and pleasures of a London season,
he sought fresh strength and energy; there, also, he conceived the germs
of two great works, subsequently to be matured, the Scotch Symphony and
the Overture to “The Isles of Fingal.” Towards the end of November he
returned to Berlin, in time for the celebration of his parents’ silver
wedding.

       *       *       *       *       *

JAN. 6, 1830.

DEAR MADAM,--I hardly know how to ask your pardon for my sins, for I
have a load of them on my conscience; yet were I to trouble you with a
string of excuses, you might think that a new sin. To be sure, my
writing thus late is unpardonable, considering all the kindness and
friendliness you showed me in the spring; but it is true also that these
last few days have been the only quiet ones since we parted. First,
there was our Highland tour in anything but favorable weather, with bad
roads, worse conveyances, still worse inns and landlords, and the
richest and most picturesque scenery,--all of which so entirely
engrossed us that we could not collect our thoughts for even a single
day. Then I returned to London; and just as I was finishing some work,
and getting through all manner of business before starting for the
Netherlands to meet my father, I had the misfortune to be thrown out of
a gig, and was obliged to be six weeks in bed and two months in my room.
At last I was able to travel home; but my injured foot, which was very
weak, made the journey both painful and dangerous, and I felt so
prostrate when I did reach home, that I was condemned to another
imprisonment of several weeks. A few days ago we celebrated the silver
wedding of my parents, for which I was obliged to finish some work;[3]
so you see I had a most busy and varied time of it, the happiest and the
most disagreeable days of my life following each other in rapid
succession. Of course I feel rather upset by all this. Witness this
careless, confused letter; yet I would not put off writing lest I should
add to my sins.

And now I do not know how to thank you and Mr. Moscheles, for words
cannot sufficiently express my gratitude. You know what it is to visit a
foreign land for the first time, and to be a stranger among strangers.
This feeling, perhaps the most terrible of all others, I have been
spared through your kindness, and it is you who have lessened the
painful weight of my first separation from my family. If England has
made a favorable impression upon me, it is to you I chiefly owe it; and
now that I have got over the most difficult part of my tour, I augur
favorably for the remainder. I am not going to thank you for each
individual act of kindness, or for all the trouble you took about
me,--if I did, there would be no end of it; but I may say to you and to
Mr. Moscheles that I appreciate from my heart your friendly feelings
towards me, and the kindness with which you received me, making all
things easy that were difficult to a foreigner. As long as I remember my
first entrance into the wide world, so long shall I also remember your
goodness. I do not know when I may be so fortunate as to say all this to
you instead of writing it down in these formal and cold characters, but
I do hope for the pleasure of another meeting before long, and for the
continuance of those friendly feelings, for which I shall ever remain

Yours gratefully,

FELIX MENDELSSOHN BARTHOLDY.

       *       *       *       *       *

Three days later he writes:--

       *       *       *       *       *

BERLIN, Jan. 9, 1830.

DEAR MR. MOSCHELES,--I have written to Mrs. Moscheles and asked
forgiveness for my long silence. Allow me to refer to that letter, and
to hope that the reasons therein detailed may plead for me with you; at
the same time I cannot refrain from assuring you personally how truly I
feel myself indebted to you, and how grateful I am for all the kindness
you have shown me. You received me in London in a way I could never have
expected, and gave me proofs of confidence and friendship which I shall
never cease to be proud of. If hitherto I had looked up to you with
admiration, how much more so now, when on closer acquaintance I had the
happiness to find in you an example fit, in every respect, to be
followed by any artist! You know best yourself the value of a kind
reception in a strange country, and the immense advantage of an
introduction through you, especially in England. If that country made a
most favorable and lasting impression on me, since, for the first time
far away from home and friends, I could spend such happy hours, it is
you I have to thank, to you I shall always be grateful. Might I but have
some opportunity of proving how deeply I feel my obligation! I hope I
may soon meet you again in some corner of the world, and find such
glorious new pieces of music as I have this time. The Symphony is quite
present to my mind, and I can play some of it by heart, especially the
first and third movements; but that is very insufficient, and I look
forward with impatience to the publication of this masterpiece. Will you
not soon give it to the public? You must yourself know how surely you
can reckon on a brilliant success and on the admiration and warmest
sympathy of every musician. For my part, I should be truly happy to see
the score published, and I am convinced that in this feeling I should be
joined by all who love music. Will you not soon let a second one follow?
Maybe you are at work on one already; it would be truly delightful if
you gave us more pieces in the same spirit, imbued with such earnestness
and depth; all real lovers of music here would hail them with pleasure.

I mean to leave for Italy as soon as my foot will permit me to travel,
and request your permission to write to you occasionally on music and
musicians; should your time allow of your sending me a few words, you
know how much pleasure it would give me.

With best wishes for your welfare and happiness, and trusting you will
preserve a kind remembrance of me, I remain

Yours most sincerely,

F. MENDELSSOHN BARTHOLDY.

       *       *       *       *       *

In the spring of 1830 Mendelssohn started on his continental tour. His
first station was Weimar, where, at the urgent request of Goethe, he
spent a memorable fortnight in the house of that “Pole-star of poets,”
as Mendelssohn had described him, when, as a boy of thirteen, he first
was privileged to be a guest at his house.

Leaving Weimar, he proceeded to Munich and Vienna, and from there to
Italy. On his return he visited Switzerland and several of the German
musical centres; and after a short stay in Paris, he once more crossed
the Channel, arriving in London in April, 1832. His visit was marked by
the most kindly intercourse with his old friends. Speaking of these, he
says in a letter to his parents:[4]--

       *       *       *       *       *

“I wish I could describe how happy I am to find myself here again, where
everything is so congenial to my taste, and how glad to meet with so
much kindness from my old friends. With Klingemann, Rosen, and Moscheles
I feel as much at home as if we had never been separated. They are the
centre to which I am constantly gravitating. We meet every day, and I
feel thoroughly happy to be with such good and earnest people and such
true friends, in whose company I can show myself just as I am, without
reserve. The kindness of Moscheles and his wife to me is really
touching, and I value it in proportion to my warm and ever-growing
attachment to them both.”

       *       *       *       *       *

During this stay in London he played for the first time his G minor
Concerto at the Philharmonic. In Moscheles’s concert he conducted his
Overture to “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” which he had carefully revised,
and the Overture to “The Isles of Fingal,” recently written at Rome.

Moscheles’s birthday was on the 30th of May, and Mendelssohn’s
congratulations on the occasion of his anniversary took the shape of a
drawing humorously illustrating some of his friend’s works. “The
writing,” he says, “is in Emily’s hand; the poem, by Klingemann; the
design invented, and the ink-blots executed, by Felix Mendelssohn
Bartholdy.” In his design we find “the young Berliner” (meaning himself)
practising a piece that Moscheles had dedicated to him. Further on,
“Respect” for the drums, that for once in the way are in tune; the “Blue
Devils,” that stand for melancholy; “The Last Rose of Summer,” on which
Moscheles had written Variations; the “Demons” refer to one of
Moscheles’s “Studies.” Next, Moscheles is conducting his Symphony. The
Scotchman with his bagpipes illustrates the “Anticipations of Scotland,”
a piece dedicated to Sir Walter Scott. The stirring theme of the
“Alexander Variations” is supposed to bring about the Fall of Paris; and
finally, the popular song “Au Clair de la Lune” comes in as being the
theme of some brilliant Variations. In the centre of the paper we
read:--

[Illustration: 3. Mendelssohn’s Congratulations to Moscheles on the
Latter’s Birthday. (See page 20.)]

    “Hail to the man who upward strives
       Ever in happy unconcern;
     Whom neither blame nor praise contrives
       From his own nature’s path to turn.”[5]

Mendelssohn spent two months in London, during which time many notes
passed between him and the Moscheleses relating to their respective
plans and engagements. We translate one of these as showing his
attachment to his old master, Professor Zelter, and the simple feeling
that prompted him to turn to his friends in his bereavement.

       *       *       *       *       *

MAY 15, 1832.

DEAR MRS. MOSCHELES,--If you are quite alone at dinner and in the
evening, I should much like to come to you. I have just heard of the
death of my old master. Please send a line in answer to your

F. M. B.

       *       *       *       *       *

The next letter is written soon after Mendelssohn’s return to Berlin.

       *       *       *       *       *

BERLIN, July 25, 1832.

DEAR MRS. MOSCHELES,--Pity this is not a note, and the servant waiting
below to carry it to you in an instant, instead of a letter travelling
by post, steam, and water, in such a matter-of-fact and business-like
way, whereas what I have to say is anything but business-like! I merely
long for a chat with you,--a little innocent abuse of the world in
general, and a special attack upon phrenology; a weak-fingered pupil,
down below in Moscheles’s study, playing all the while a slow presto,
and being suddenly startled by a few brilliant notes from another hand
to relieve her dulness;--in short, I want to go to Chester Place;[6] for
if I wish to talk to you, it is you I want to hear and not myself. Now,
all these wishes are vain; but why have you strictly forbidden me to
thank you ever so little? For that is what I really want to do, but dare
not, feeling that you would laugh at me; and after all, there is no way
of showing gratitude for happy days. When you look back upon them they
are already past and gone, and while they last, you think all the
pleasure they bring merely natural; for I _did_ think it natural that
you and Moscheles should show me all the love and kindness I could
possibly wish for. I never thought it might be otherwise; whilst now I
do sometimes feel that it was a piece of good fortune, and not a matter
of course. All this seems stupid; but if you only knew how strange I
have felt these last few weeks, and how unsettled is all I say and
think! When I left you on Friday night to go on board the steamer, I
pictured to myself how very much changed I should find our house and the
whole family,--two years’ absence, married sisters, and so on; but I
arrive, and after the first two days, there we are as comfortably and
cosily settled as though there had been neither journey, absence, nor
change of any kind. I cannot conceive having ever been away; and did I
not think of the dear friends I have made meanwhile, I might fancy that
I had been but listening to a graphic description of the things and
events which I have really witnessed. That, however, would not hold good
long, for every step brings some fresh recollection of my journey, which
I dreamily pursue, while my thoughts are straying far away; then I am
suddenly back again amongst parents and sisters, and with every word
they say and every step we take in the garden,[7] another recollection
from _before_ the journey starts up, and stands as vividly before me as
though I had never been away, so that events of all shades get
hopelessly mixed and entangled till I am quite bewildered. Whether all
this will eventually subside or not, I cannot tell; but for the moment I
feel as if I were in a maze and didn’t know which way to turn. The past
and present are so interwoven that I have still to learn that the past
is past. Well, never mind: it was more than a dream; and a tangible
proof is this letter which, poor as it is, I write and forward to you.
You have sometimes forgiven me when I was quite unbearable, and excused
me on the score of my so-called genius. To be sure, it was nothing of
the kind; but what matters, “if only the heart is black,” as the beadle
says. (Klingemann must tell you that story if you don’t know it.[8])

Only fancy, I have not been able to compose a note since my arrival!
That is the cause of my troubles, I think; for if I could but settle
down again to work, all would be right. Haven’t you got some German or
English words for a song which I might compose? Of course for a voice
down to C and up to F,[9] and I could play the accompaniment in 1833 on
the Erard, with the “slow presto” coming up from below. But I think I
could not even write a song just now. Who can sing the praises of the
spring when shivering with cold in July,--when the green leaves drop,
flowers die, and fruit perishes in summer? For such is the case here. We
have fires; the rain pours down in torrents; ague, cholera, and the last
decision of the German Diet are the topics of the day; and I, who have
played my part at the Guildhall,[10] am compelled to be guarded and
conciliatory lest I should be considered too radical. To-day the
cholera is announced again, although not by desire. This Russian gift
will, I suppose, settle down amongst us, and not leave us again in a
hurry. I am glad there are no quarantine laws, as there were, or else
the communications between Hamburg and Berlin might be cut off, and that
would be inconvenient to me for certain reasons; though when I first
mentioned to your sister in Hamburg that you or Moscheles might possibly
come here, I suddenly fell into disgrace. She looked at me very angrily,
and asked what was to be got in Berlin, and who took any interest in
music _there_. I named myself, but found little favor in her eyes: I was
detestable, growing more and more so, the very type of a “Berliner,” she
thought; next I became a stranger, then yet more, a strange musician;
and lastly she turned severely polite. But I changed the subject,
remembering your good advice to try and win her favor; so I said that,
after all, it was not likely you would go to Berlin, and that quite
reconciled her. Secretly, however, I say come--do come! We shall do
everything to make Berlin as agreeable to you as it _can_ be made; and
if Moscheles were to tell me that you intended coming on the 1st of
October, I should begin this very day to think of that date with joy.
The “Schnellpost-coupé” has just room for two, and it is such easy and
comfortable travelling. You should really make up your mind to come. I
will not tease you any more to-day, but will only beg you will let me
know when you go to Hamburg, that I may write you a letter in sixteen
parts, with every part singing out, “Come, do come!”

Of course, I know all the attractions Hamburg has for you, and how
difficult it will be for you to tear yourself away. Nothing can be more
delightful than your father’s new house, looking out, as it does, upon
the “Alsterbassin,” and the city steeples,--all the rooms so bright and
cheerful, amply furnished, and yet not crowded, and no comfort wanting
that the most fastidious Londoner could want; besides which, the owner,
the rooms, the furniture, and, above all, the large music-room, plainly
show how anxiously you are expected. No doubt, then, you will find
everything charming and comfortable; but although we have no fine view
and no comforts to offer, we should one and all rejoice to see you, and
that, indeed, is the main point.

By the by, Madame Belleville is here, and has met with but little
success. She intended giving a concert, and the bills announced that Mr.
Oury, her husband, was going to assist her; but the Berlin people would
not be attracted, so she gave it up, and performed at the theatre
between two comedies. People said there was no soul in her playing, so I
preferred not hearing her; for what a Berliner calls playing without
soul must be desperately cold. Take it all in all, I am _blasé_ with
regard to Hummel’s Septet and Herz’s Variations, and the public was
quite right to be _blasé_ too. Then, again, the “Lovely City” (see
Moscheles’s unpublished correspondence) is plain, into the bargain, and
so I prefer Madame Blahetka. Dear me! how badly I’ve behaved to her,
never saying good-by! Do apologize for me; but, above all, take my part
if your sister calls me disagreeable and abuses me for what I said about
Berlin. Tell her it was from sheer selfishness I spoke, and that I
chiefly thought of my own pleasure in wishing to see you both and the
children again,--in fact, say that I’m an egotist, for I am, and do want
you to come. My love to Emily and Serena, and may you and Moscheles be
as well and as happy as I wish you to be!

Yours,

FELIX MENDELSSOHN BARTHOLDY.

       *       *       *       *       *

At the close of the London season the Moscheleses went to Hamburg on a
visit to Mrs. Moscheles’s relatives. The following letter was written on
Mendelssohn’s hearing of their arrival:--

       *       *       *       *       *

BERLIN, Aug. 10, 1832.

DEAR MOSCHELES,--

_1st Motto_: “Tell it none but the wise.”
_2d Motto_: “Worrying pays.”

_Old Play._

Therefore I write to you now, for if it pays to worry, worry I will till
it would move a stone; and you--tell it none, not even your friends, but
come to Berlin. Now look here, since I have your letter from Hamburg I
am doubly convinced that come you must, were it but to spend a few days
with us here; we will make so much of you! Yesterday I made a thorough
inspection of my rooms, and I found that they would suit you splendidly;
nowhere else shall you be permitted to take up your quarters than in the
Green-score Hotel, Leipzigerstrasse, No. 3,--that is to say, in my room.
It faces the street, but it is very quiet and pleasant, and as large as
your whole house in Norton Street; and the bedroom next to it is of the
same size. I should move a story higher, where another room could be
also cleared for servants or any one you choose to bring; a piano awaits
you; the stove acts well; in short, you see I am cut out for a
house-agent. I really do not exaggerate; you should be comfortably
quartered, and all would be well, were not the principal point--your
coming--still unsettled. So settle that, and when you do come, let it be
to our house; we will have a merry time of it. I should like to send you
a fugue in fifteen parts, and the subject of each part should be, “Come
to Berlin.” True, the country about here is not fine, our theatrical
cast not good, no singers worth speaking of, of either sex, but still
one can have music.

A thousand thanks for your kind assistance in reference to the
“Piano-Songs;”[11] had already heard from Simrock that you had written
to him, and I quite reproach myself for having added one more to the
innumerable claims upon your time in London. I cannot sufficiently
admire your getting through all you do, with such method and precision;
but then, that is just what makes you the “lady patroness” of all
musicians who come to London, and it must seem quite hackneyed to you
when one of them attempts to thank you for your kindness. Nevertheless,
I do so, and thank you with all my heart. You would oblige me by sending
me a copy of the “Piano-Songs,” as you say you could do so. My father
has commissioned his correspondent, Mr. Giermann, to pay you without
delay the sum you were so kind as to disburse for me; and now once more
accept my best thanks for all the trouble you have taken. The work will
certainly go through at least twenty editions, and with the proceeds I
shall buy the house No. 2 Chester Place[12] and a seat in the House of
Commons, and become a Radical by profession. Between this and that,
however, I hope we shall meet, for possibly a single edition may prove
sufficient. But what is that allusion to the gravel-pits and the
beautiful city? Do you take me for a _damoiseau_, a shepherd, or maybe a
sheep? Do you think that I would not hear Madame Belleville because she
is not a Bellevue, or because of the wide sleeves she wears? I was not
influenced by any such reasons, although I must admit that there are
certain faces that cannot possibly belong to an artist, and are so icily
chilling that the mere sight of them sends me to freezing-point. But
why should I hear those Variations by Herz for the thirtieth time? They
give me as little pleasure as rope-dancers or acrobats: for with them at
least there is the barbarous attraction that one is in constant dread of
seeing them break their necks, though they do not do so, after all; but
the piano-tumblers do not as much as risk their lives, only our ears;
and that, I for one will not countenance. I only wish it were not my lot
to be constantly told that the public demand that kind of thing I, too,
am one of the public, and demand the very reverse. And then she played
in the interval between two plays; that, again, I cannot stand. First
the curtain rises and I see all India and the Pariahs, and palm-trees
and cactuses, and villany and bloodshed, and I must cry bitterly. Then
the curtain rises and I see Madame Belleville at the pianoforte, playing
a concerto in some minor key, and then I have to applaud violently; and
finally they give me “An Hour at the Potsdam Gate,” and I am expected to
laugh. No, it cannot be done, and there are my reasons why I do not
deserve your scolding. I stopped at home because I felt happiest in my
own room, or with my friends, or in the garden, which, by the way, is
beautiful this year. If you do not believe it, come and see for
yourself; that is the conclusion I always arrive at.

I am working on the Morning Service for Novello, but it does not flow
naturally; so far a lot of counterpoint and canons, and nothing more.
It suddenly crosses my mind that one Sunday evening you did not send me
away when I awoke you from a nap at eleven o’clock P.M., but assured me
you were not thinking of going to bed yet. That was not right of you;
but it also recalls to my mind the Bach pieces we played together, and
that leads me to tell you that I have come across a whole book of
unknown compositions of the same kind, and that Breitkopf and Härtel are
going to publish them. There are heavenly things amongst them that I
know will delight you.

Here I have found dreadful gaps; some of the best beloved are missing. I
cannot describe to you the feeling of sadness that comes over me when I
enter the Academy; it is as though something were wanting in the
building, as if it had changed its aspect since those who made it so
bright and dear to me are no longer there. Thus the remaining friends
are doubly dear, and thus I say, “Come,” or rather, “Come, all of you!”
for if you come, your people cannot remain in Hamburg, but _must_
accompany you; it is but a short journey. You can fancy the loads of
kind messages I have to give you and your wife from all my friends, and
how they rejoice at the prospect of seeing you here. Above all, I beg of
you both not to say a word about this letter to your friends of the
Jungfernstieg or the Esplanade; the walls have ears, and if it once got
known how selfish I am I should never be able to show myself in Hamburg
again.

I meant to write you a short letter, but you know, when we began
chatting of an evening, I never noticed how much too late it was getting
till your faces grew ceremonious; and as unfortunately I cannot see you
now, I must be warned by the paper, and conclude. Farewell, and remember
kindly yours,

F. MENDELSSOHN BARTHOLDY.

       *       *       *       *       *

BERLIN, Sept. 3, 1832.

DEAR MOSCHELES,--Excuse my long silence; I was very unwell at the time I
received your last letter, suffering acutely from a musician’s
complaint, the ear-ache. I meant to write every day, and was always
prevented, till at last I am reminded, by Mr. Moore’s leaving, how
heavily I am in your wife’s debt, not having even as much as thanked her
for her last letter. Now I feel I must not write to her without also
answering your question as fully as I can. Excuse me if I do this in a
few words; a proper letter shall follow as soon as I have shaken off
that dreadful fit of depression which has been weighing on me for the
last few weeks; then only shall I be able to think again pleasantly of
pleasant things. Just now I am passing through one of those periodical
attacks when I see all the world in pale gray tints, and when I despair
of all things, especially of myself. So for to-day, nothing but
calculations.

Concerning the concert, I have made inquiries of those in a position to
know, and, taking the lowest average, it seems to me you can rely on
taking at least one hundred Louis d’or, as I am told that even a
tolerably well-attended concert produces that amount, and you can reckon
on the presence of the Court, which usually sends twenty Louis d’or to
artists of high standing. The time when you ought to give your concert
coincides with our Art Exhibition, when Berlin is fullest; it would be
the first grand concert of the year, and they say that receipts
amounting to one hundred Louis d’or may be expected, and even
guaranteed. The cost of the large hall of the theatre is forty Louis
d’or, all included (bills, porterage, etc.). The room in the
Sing-Akademie is little more than half that sum, but it seems that the
Court does not care to go there. The concert-room of the theatre ranks
highest, and is considered the most aristocratic; so, at any rate, it
would be more advisable for you to take that. All agree on that point.
If you deduct forty Louis d’or from the total receipts, there remain,
say, sixty Louis d’or. There is no doubt that this is amply sufficient
to cover the expenses of posting from Hamburg to Berlin and back, and of
making a fortnight’s stay with your whole family at the hotel here; and
I would not enter into so much detail had not Neukomm mentioned
yesterday that when he told you he estimated the net receipts at sixty
Friedrich d’or, you thought there would be a risk in undertaking the
journey. Let me show you, then, that two post-horses, including fee to
post-boy, make one thaler per German mile; so the journey there and
back, a distance of thirty-nine miles, and a night’s quarters, would
come to a little more than one hundred thalers. How you could manage to
spend the balance, namely, two hundred thalers, in a fortnight, I cannot
see, unless you organized a popular _fête_ on a small scale; that,
however, probably not forming part of your programme, and your hotel
expenses certainly not amounting to more than eight to ten thalers per
day, your outlay would surely be covered. According to my estimate, you
would have a surplus. To be sure, I admit, unforeseen circumstances
might interfere with my calculations; but on the other hand the receipts
may be far greater than I have assumed, and at any rate I, for one, have
no doubt that your travelling and hotel expenses will be amply covered.

I need not tell you that I give the Berliners credit for sufficient
musical taste to expect a crowded concert-room, nor need I say what my
wishes on the subject are. The time to come would be between the end of
this month and the end of October. The Art Exhibition is then open, and
that draws many people to Berlin, and altogether it is the height of our
season and the pleasantest time coming.

Now, whatever you decide, let me know without delay, so that in case you
do not come, I may leave off rejoicing at the prospect, and that if you
choose the better course,--better for us,--I may prepare everything for
you to the best of my abilities. In that case I should beg of you to let
me know the day of your arrival, date of the concert, etc., and I could
get through all the preliminaries, the engagements to singers, and so
on, before you were here. But all this is quite understood.

Could you not be induced to accept my offer concerning the use of my
rooms? They are large and cheerful enough. I wish you would; but I fear,
from what Neukomm said, that the whole plan is already abandoned. Well,
I cannot press a matter very strongly that concerns me so closely. I
must not be selfish, but wish you to do what seems best to you.

Good-by; remember kindly yours,

F. MENDELSSOHN BARTHOLDY.

       *       *       *       *       *

Under the same date Mendelssohn writes to Mrs. Moscheles:--

       *       *       *       *       *

BERLIN, Sept. 3, 1832.

DEAR MRS. MOSCHELES,--That I should have not sooner answered all the
pleasant and friendly things you wrote, proves me quite a hardened
sinner; but I need scarcely say how happy and grateful I am to receive a
letter from you. All else concerning myself is as uncongenial as the
“gathering mists.” There are times when I should prefer being a
carpenter or a turner, when all things look at me askance, and gladness
and happiness are so far removed as to seem like words of a foreign
tongue, that must be translated before I can make them my own. Such
times I have experienced in their dullest shape for the last few weeks.
I feel unspeakably dull. And why, you will ask, write all this to me?
Because Neukomm last night treated me to a most beautiful lecture that
did me no good, and proposed all manner of excellent remedies, which I
am not inclined to apply; preached to my conscience, which I can do just
as well myself; and lastly asked why I had not yet answered your letter.
Because I am in a ferocious mood, said I. But he would have it that one
should always write according to one’s mood, and that, far from taking
it amiss, you would think it the proper thing to do. So it is upon his
responsibility I write; and should you be angry, I am a better prophet
than he, for I wanted to wait for a more favorable opportunity to send
you a cheerful letter, whilst he maintained that the tone mattered
little to you.

As for your journey to Berlin, I have written Moscheles a thorough
business letter, telling him how matters stand, according to _my_ notion
and that of others. I will not repeat my request and wish on that score;
it might appear selfishness and presumption, both of which I am so
thoroughly averse to, that I would avoid even the semblance thereof. If
you, however, say your sister has half pardoned me because you are not
likely to come here, that is but poor comfort, and I would much rather
it were the reverse. You could pacify your sister on your return, and I
would give you _carte-blanche_ to tell her the most awful things about
me, to paint me as black as any negro, for then we should have had you
here, and what would all else matter after that?

If Klingemann flirts, he is only doing the correct thing, and wisely
too; what else are we born for? But if he gets married, I shall laugh
myself to death; only fancy Klingemann a married man! But you predict
it, and I know you can always tell by people’s faces what they are going
to say or to do,--if I wanted bread at dinner, you used to say in an
undertone, “Some bread for Mr. Mendelssohn;” and perhaps your
matrimonial forecast might be equally true. But, on the other hand, I
too am a prophet in matrimonial matters, and maintain exactly the
reverse. Klingemann is, and will ever be, a Knight of the Order of
Bachelors, and so shall I.[13] Who knows but we may both wish to marry
thirty years hence? But then no girl will care to have us. Pray cut this
prophecy out of the letter before you burn it, and keep it carefully; in
thirty years we shall know whether it proves correct or not.

You want to know how the dresses pleased? But don’t you remember it was
you who chose them? And need I assure you that they play a prominent
part on all festive occasions, and are much admired and coveted?
Moreover, a professor of chemistry expressed his astonishment at the
color of my mother’s shawl, scarcely crediting that so beautiful a brown
could be chemically obtained. Now, whether everything has been cut
right, and according to the latest fashion, I cannot tell; and that is
one reason why you should come, just to enlighten me. But, oh! how I
should like you to lecture me as you used to do! For how to overcome
these fits of intense depression, I really do not know.

Excuse this stupid letter--it reflects the state of my mind--and give my
love to all around you.

Ever yours,

FELIX MENDELSSOHN BARTHOLDY.

       *       *       *       *       *

BERLIN, Sept. 17, 1832.

MY DEAR MOSCHELES,--Excuse my not having answered your letter of the 7th
before; I was waiting until I should have something definite to
communicate in reference to that plan of yours which I have so much at
heart. It was only last night I received some information myself.

First, let me remind you that your wife promised me a good scolding in
answer to my crotchety letter and my splenetic mood. I have been keeping
savage all this while on purpose, and am still waiting in vain for that
most radical of cures. At first I thought that sort of condition was
best treated homœopathically, but I find that nothing of the kind does
me any good. You see you will have to come yourselves, after all. And
that leads me to the following historical particulars.

When I got your letter, I went to Count Redern, the present Director and
Autocrat of all dramas and operas, to sound him as you desired. I am on
a tolerable footing with him, which means that we esteem one another at
a distance. But the noble Count was not to be got at; it was just the
time of the manœuvres, and our man of business rode off every morning
and received nobody; besides, for that day, a grand extra morning
performance was announced for two o’clock, to which all the officers
from the camp at Templower Berg were bidden. The civilians--that low
set--were only admitted to the pit-boxes, all other seats being occupied
by the military. The new opera of “Cortez” was performed, and the sons
of Mars applauded mightily; the whole staff was on the alert, and there
was no chance of talking to anybody until yesterday, when I at last
succeeded in catching the Count. I gave him to understand that you were
not disinclined to take Berlin on your way, and to arrange a concert
with the authorities of the Opera House, but that you could only remain
for a few days. He seemed greatly pleased, as well he might be, and no
thanks to him. He said that during your former stay you had given a
concert with the Directors of the Opera, and requested me to ask in his
name whether the same terms as those stipulated on that occasion,
namely, one third of the total receipts, would meet your views. He also
proposed one half of the net receipts; but as these much depend on the
expenses incurred, which can be made to attain a considerable figure, I
advised the other arrangement, especially as the Opera House holds
nearly two thousand persons. I begged him to ascertain from the books
the exact terms of the former arrangement and let me have them in
writing. This document was not completed until last night, and I forward
it to you now. It is certain that you can expect good receipts, these
however depending more or less on the piece to be acted, and on the
general support given by the managers of the theatre. The authorities
are always ready with the finest promises; but until the day of your
concert is actually fixed, you can expect nothing definite from them.

Now, as you intend going to Dresden or Leipzig, you would actually have
to go out of your way to avoid Berlin, and you surely would not treat us
so unkindly. And if you care in the least for Serena’s pleasure, you
must bring her here and let her play with my little nephew Sebastian.
Don’t imagine that I am forming plans for a matrimonial alliance in that
direction; but my nephew is certainly an amiable and well-informed young
man of two years of age, whom Serena will love in spite of his paleness
and delicacy, for looks of that kind are considered interesting. And
then, how happy my two married sisters will be to receive your wife in
their homes! How much we will do in honor of you, and how much more for
love of you, all that I need not tell you. Come and judge for yourself.

I trust you do not object to my having spoken to Redern without your
special instructions. I represented the whole affair, not as a proposal
coming from you, but as my own idea and private communication. If you
would let me know that you are coming, everything could be so settled
that you might arrive on the day itself, if you chose, and leave after
the concert. At that, however, I should take offence!

My piano has not yet arrived; I think Erard has forwarded it _viâ_ the
Equator, or has done something or other, Heaven knows what! Milder tells
me her concert is to come off towards the end of October with Neukomm’s
“Septuor,” and a Symphony of his, and some songs of his, and a lot more
things of his.

Well, Meyerbeer is formally invested with his title. Were there not a
distance of several German miles between a Court Kapellmeister and a
real Kapellmeister, it might vex me. The addition of the little word
“Court,” however, indicates that he has nothing to do, and that again
proves the extreme modesty of our nobility; for whenever the word
“Court” is put in conjunction with a title, it means that the recipient
has the distinction only, not the office, and that he is expected
henceforth to rest and be thankful. If they were to make a Court
composer of me to-morrow, I should be bound not to write another note as
long as I live. I am very glad that Lindenau remembers me kindly. How
wicked of me not to have written to him! I really mean to do so
shortly, but then you know I am a Court correspondent.

There, I have answered your questions, and now I can give full vent to
my wrath and ask you whether you think that I belong to the great
brotherhood of grumblers and ought to join their order. Do you presume
to laugh at me and my troubles? Imaginary or real, they are intensely
worrying; and if, on the one hand, I have had two years of pleasure such
as is rarely enjoyed, I have had my full share of misery since. You say
I ought to put all that into music. Yes, if it were but so kind as to
let itself be put; but it whirls and twirls and shuffles about, and is
gone before I can catch it. I hope great things from your wife’s
scolding, but it has not come yet. I am reading Lord Byron, but he does
not seem to do me any good. In short, I do not know what to do. But
never mind; good-by.

Yours,

F. MENDELSSOHN BARTHOLDY.

       *       *       *       *       *

BERLIN, Sept. 26, 1832.

DEAR MOSCHELES!

[Illustration: musical notation]

That’s a flourish of trumpets joyfully announcing that you have at last
consented to come. It is too delightful to think that we are going to
see you and have you here; and what spirits the bare thought puts me
in, I need not say. A few lines are enough for to-day; all that is good,
the very best, is to come in a fortnight. _Tromba da capo._

In fact, I only write that you may answer and let me know exactly what I
am to do for you here. First, have you quite decided to stay in a hotel
(my offer does not seem acceptable to you), and should I not rather take
rooms for you by the week? To do so, I ought to know the day of your
arrival, and what accommodation you require. Secondly, you speak of
putting yourself on good terms with the singers. Have you any special
wish that I can communicate to Count Redern in reference to performers
or programme? What do you say to having your Symphony performed? but
then the whole orchestra should be on the stage, and you should conduct.
Thirdly, I will see Count Redern to-day and let him know the good news
that you have decided on coming. He must have the newspaper
advertisements inserted, and I shall recall to his memory the
“appropriate and interesting piece” to be performed. Fourthly, you say:
“What piano? that is the question!” I answer: “There be none of Beauty’s
daughters with a magic like Erard’s.” Now, my instrument left Hamburg a
week ago. I expect it every minute; and as you have already played upon
it at your concert in London, I should take it as a great kindness and a
good omen if you would inaugurate it here in public. That the instrument
is good, you know; so pray say, “Yes.” But if perchance you would
rather not, then there is my youngest sister’s new piano that is to
arrive to-morrow or the day after,--a “Graf,” which they write wonders
about from Vienna. She sends you word that it would be conferring the
greatest favor on her, on the piano, and on Mr. Graf, if you would be
the first to play upon it in public here. In addition to this, I know
for a certainty that all the Berlin pianoforte-makers will besiege your
door and go down on their knees to you. There are pear-shaped
instruments; there are some with three legs; some with a pedal for
transposing and with a small writing-desk inside; some with four
strings, others with only one; giraffe or pocket size; black, white, and
green. You will have the trouble and toil of selection, so you will have
full scope for reflection. Where then is the question?

Now I understand what you say about Music and the great brotherhood of
grumblers. Much obliged, but I am not composing at all, and am living
much as an asparagus does; I am very comfortable doing nothing. When you
come I shall feel quite ashamed at not having anything new to show you;
upon my word, I shall not know what to say if you ask me what I have
been doing ever since I came here. But, hush! I turn over the paper, and
there I encounter the threatening figure of Mrs. Moscheles. Scold, but
listen! Do you think that mine is a sort of drawing-room melancholy such
as grown-up spoilt children indulge in? Don’t you know that I only
wrote so stupidly because I was so stupid? But pardon me, I shall come
round again, and by the time you arrive all melancholy will have
vanished. You will find neither a discontented creature nor a spoilt
child in me, and certainly not a genius; nothing but high spirits will
greet you; and, to show that you are not angry, you must at once accept
an invitation to a _fête_ to be held in my rooms in honor of Moscheles.
Several ladies have already promised to come; we will have music, and it
will be grand.

A happy meeting then,--but you, O Moscheles, let me have one more answer
by letter, and soon after a much nicer one by word of mouth.

Yours,

F. MENDELSSOHN BARTHOLDY.

       *       *       *       *       *

In a later letter dated Oct. 2, 1832, Mendelssohn recommends the Hôtel
de Rome in Berlin. The particulars he gives of the route he advises are
characteristic of the mode of travelling in those days.

The journey from Hamburg to Berlin, he says, would take about
thirty-four hours. The rooms to be engaged at a hotel are discussed with
as much careful insight as the road to be traversed; and then
Mendelssohn concludes as follows:--

       *       *       *       *       *

Count Redern is--a Count, and has gone to his estates, whence he does
not return till the 23d. I have not yet been able to catch Arnim, who
acts for him during his absence and has been conducting affairs all the
summer, but hope to do so to-morrow, when I shall urge upon him to fix
the concert no later than the 12th, as you desire.

And now enough of letters, and a happy meeting to all. Love to the
children. They shall have sweets, although Emily[14] does prefer Moritz
Schlesinger to me. Excuse these hurried lines.

Yours,

FELIX M. B.

       *       *       *       *       *

Moscheles left Hamburg with his family on the 6th of October, at seven
A.M., and arrived the next evening in Berlin, making the journey in
thirty-five hours. “Mendelssohn soon joined us at the Hôtel St.
Petersburg,” he writes, “and complains of being frequently subject to
fits of depression.” No further mention of such moods is, however, made
in the diary. On the contrary, the twelve days of the stay in Berlin are
marked by the brightest and liveliest incidents, both social and
musical. The “Erard” had at last safely reached its destination; and,
Pegasus-like, nobly bore the two friends in willing response to their
artistic touch. “The _fête_ shall be very grand,” Mendelssohn had
written, “and we will have music.” And so it was; only that instead of
one _fête_ there were several. The “Hymn of Praise” and some selections
from the “Son and Stranger” were performed and admirably rendered by
some of the principal singers of the day. Improvisations followed; and
no programme was complete without the name of the cherished master,
Beethoven.

Moscheles’s concert was a brilliant success, the house crowded, and the
public enthusiastic; the third part of the receipts, Moscheles’s share,
was three hundred and one thalers. He left Berlin on the 19th of
October. “We dined with Felix at Jagor’s,” he says; “and when we wanted
to say good-by--he had disappeared! At half-past two we were wending our
way through a somewhat English fog towards Leipzig, where we arrived
next day at noon.” There, as in Weimar, Frankfurt, and Cologne,
Moscheles played in public or at Court.

On the eve of his departure from Berlin, Mendelssohn presented a most
interesting and valuable gift to Moscheles, in the shape of one of those
musical sketch-books in which Beethoven was in the habit of jotting down
his inspirations as they came to him. These pages, eighty-eight in
number, contain chiefly the first ideas for his grand Mass; their
appearance can only be described as chaotic, and they are a puzzle even
to the initiated. Over one of them the inkstand has been upset; and the
master’s sleeve, or whatever he may have had at hand, has evidently made
short work of the offending pigment. Another page--besprinkled with a
few bars here, and a word or two of the Latin text there--is headed:
“Vivace. Applaudite amici.” The illustration on the next page is a
fac-simile of the dedication on the fly-leaf.

In a letter dated November, 1832, Mrs. Moscheles mentions to Mendelssohn
that she hears the Philharmonic Society intends commissioning him to
write three compositions for one hundred guineas; it is to this that his
answer in the following letter refers. She gives him full particulars of
her husband’s artistic activity, and such news about personal friends as
would interest him, and winds up by saying: “Moscheles has just waked
from his siesta by the comfortable fireside. You must look upon these
pages as if they reflected his dream; for his thoughts, awake or asleep,
are constantly with you.”

       *       *       *       *       *

BERLIN, Jan. 17, 1833.

DEAR MRS. MOSCHELES,--How good and kind of you to give me such graphic
details! I felt quite happy and cheerful as the fireside, Moscheles’s
siesta, and the whole establishment, snug and cosy as it is, rose before
my eyes. I rejoice like a child at the thought of next spring, of my
dignity as a godfather, of green England, and of a thousand things
besides. My melancholy is beginning to vanish. I have again taken a
lively interest in music and musicians, and have composed some trifles
here and there; they are bad, it is true, but they give promise of
better things,--in fact, the fog seems lifting, and I again see the

[Illustration: 4. Fac-simile of Mendelssohn’s Dedication to Moscheles
upon the Fly-leaf of Beethoven’s Musical Sketch-Book. (See page 48.)]

light. Whether I shall be able, after all, to bring some creditable work
with me to London, Heaven only knows; but I trust I may, for I would
like to figure not only as a godfather, but also as a musician. The
former, however, comes first and foremost. I will make the most serious
face possible, and bring the very best wishes and all the happiness I
can gather together to lay down as a gift at the christening.

And so Moscheles is busy again? Klingemann mentioned a Septet,[15] and I
hailed it with delight. What instruments is it for? In what key? Is it
fair or dark? He must let me know all about it. And will other honest
people be able to play it; or will it be again for his own private use,
like the last movement of his Concerto in E flat, which all amateurs
stumble over and sigh at without ever being able to master it? Do let me
hear all about this Septet; for I am longing to know, and almost envy
those who can watch its gradual progress.

I am most truly grateful to the Directors of the Philharmonic for
setting me to work for them at the very time I felt so low-spirited and
cross-grained. Their invitation to write something came most
opportunely. But you don’t say whether Moscheles, too, is to compose for
them. Will he accept, and what will he write? I will bring my Symphony
completed, and possibly another piece, but scarcely a third one.

Do not for a moment think that I am put out about the Cologne affair. I
have enjoyed a good many of the same kind in Berlin that were at first
rather bitter to swallow. I know what it is to be a great man amongst
the Berliners, now that I am on the eve of my third concert. In the case
of my first I had the greatest difficulty to make them accept the whole
of the receipts. I played my Symphony in D minor, my Concerto, and a
Sonata of Beethoven’s, and conducted the “Midsummer Night’s Dream.” It
was crowded, and people were enthusiastic; that is, “heavenly” and
“divine” were used much like “pretty well” in ordinary language. And now
you should have heard how polite the very people became who had been so
obstructive before; how “my noble heart,” “my philanthropic views,” “my
only reward,”--really it deserved to be put into the newspapers. If they
had met me kindly at the outset, that would have given me pleasure; now
their flow of words is simply a nuisance, and so is the whole place with
its sham enthusiasm.

At the second concert we had “Meeresstille.” I played a Concerto of
Sebastian Bach’s, a Sonata of Beethoven’s, and my Capriccio in B minor.
Madame Milder sang some Scenas by Gluck, and the concert began with a
Symphony by Berger. This I put into the programme to please him; but he
found its success so short of his expectations, and its execution so
bad, that it was only by dint of great exertion that I escaped a
complete quarrel with him. At the third concert there will be my
Overture to the “Isles of Fingal,” the “Walpurgisnacht,” a Concerto of
Beethoven’s, and a Sonata of Weber’s for pianoforte and clarinet, with
Bärmann of Munich,--and therewith an end to the honor and pleasure.
Excuse all these lengthy details, but indeed there is not much else to
report in the way of music. Bärmann has lately given a concert, and
enchanted us all (I mean all of us who live in the Leipzigerstrasse, and
all Berlin besides). Lafont is shortly expected; Meyerbeer, too.
Mademoiselle Schneider has appeared, and with moderate success. Her
father is a Kapellmeister, her brother a singer, her uncle a government
official, her aunt the wife of the father of the waiting-woman of some
princess. That kind of thing is necessary in Berlin. Count Redern has
lately taken me under his wing, saying that something might be made of
me; so he would patronize me and get me a libretto by Scribe. Heaven
grant it may be a good one! but I don’t believe it. Besides, we are on
the road to improvement,--going to have telegraphs like you! By the by,
the two Elsslers--whom they call here “the Telegräfinnen”--are going to
London. Should they bring letters to you, and should you have to receive
them also, it would make me die with laughter; but present I must be.
What will your John say,--he who thought Schröder-Devrient not a lady?
And how is Mademoiselle Blahetka? and is Madame Belleville again in
London? Spontini wants to sell his instrument for no less than sixteen
hundred thalers. If you see Erard, and wish to return him _one_
compliment for ever so many, do tell him that my piano is excellent, and
that I am delighted with it; for that is the truth.

And now, dear Moscheles, I answer your outside postscript in the same
way. Write soon again, and let me hear at full length from you. The
Sing-Akademie has not yet chosen a director, and there is as much gossip
about it as ever. The Valentins are here for the winter; I see but
little of them, as I scarcely go out. Thank you for your list of the
Philharmonic concerts. I shall be glad if I can come to the last four;
quite out of the question to hear them all. But when is the christening
to be? When am I to be a witness to the solemn act? That is the
question.

And now I send very best love to all Chester Place, wishing everybody
joy and happiness and music, and all that’s good in this new year in
which we mean to meet again. Until then, and ever, your

FELIX MENDELSSOHN BARTHOLDY.

       *       *       *       *       *

BERLIN, Feb. 27, 1833.

DEAR MOSCHELES,--Here they are, wind instruments and fiddles, for the
son and heir must not be kept waiting till I come,--he must have a
cradle song with drums and trumpets and janissary music; fiddles alone
are not nearly lively enough. May every happiness and joy and

[Illustration: 5. Fac-simile of the Drawing in Mendelssohn’s Letter of
Feb. 27, 1833. (See page 54.)]

blessing attend the little stranger; may he be prosperous, may he do
well whatever he does, and may it fare well with him in the world!

So he is to be called Felix, is he? How nice and kind of you to make him
my godchild _in formâ_! The first present his godfather makes him is the
above entire orchestra; it is to accompany him through life,--the
trumpets when he wishes to become famous, the flutes when he falls in
love, the cymbals[16] when he grows a beard; the pianoforte explains
itself; and should people ever play him false, as will happen to the
best of us, there stand the kettledrums and the big drum in the
background.

Dear me! but I am ever so happy when I think of your happiness, and of
the time when I shall have my full share of it. By the end of April, at
the latest, I intend to be in London, and then we will duly name the
boy, and introduce him to the world at large. It will be grand!

To your Septet I look forward with no small pleasure. Klingemann has
written out eleven notes of it for me, and those I like ever so much.

[Illustration: musical notation]

I can quite imagine what a bright, lively finale they would make. He
also gave me a good description and analysis of the Andante in B flat;
but, after all, it will be still better to hear it. Do not expect too
much from the compositions I shall bring with me. You will be sure to
find frequent traces of moodiness, which I can only shake off slowly and
by dint of an effort. I often feel as if I had never composed at all,
and had to learn everything over again; now, however, I have got into
better trim, and my last things will sound better.

Nice it was, too, that your last letter really found me, as you said it
should, alone and in the quiet of my room, composing to my heart’s
content; and now I only wish that my letter may find you at home on a
quiet evening, with your dear ones well and happy around you. We will
see whether I am as lucky at wishing as you were. I am in a hurry and
must end. I had but half an hour for my letter, and that beautiful
picture has taken up all my time; besides, I have nothing further to say
but this: I wish you joy now and hereafter, and may we soon meet again.
My friends here send their kindest remembrances and congratulations.
They are all well but my father, who suffers constantly from his eyes,
and is in consequence much depressed; this reacts upon us, and we pray
that there may soon be a change for the better. My sister and I just now
make a great deal of music, every Sunday morning with accompaniment; and
I have just received from the bookbinders a big grass-green volume of
“Moscheles,” and next time we are going to play your Trio. Farewell,
farewell, and remain happy.

Yours,

F. MENDELSSOHN BARTHOLDY.

       *       *       *       *       *

BERLIN, Feb. 27, 1833.

DEAR MRS. MOSCHELES,--Although I can send you but a few lines to-day, I
want to offer you my congratulations, and tell you that I enter heart
and soul into your joy at the happy event. How pleased I am to think I
shall soon see the little stranger, and that he will bear my name! Do
wait till I come, that I may accept your first invitation, and be
present in person at the christening. I shall certainly hurry as much as
I can, and arrive as soon as possible. I am glad, too, that the new
arrival is a boy. He must become a musician; and may all such things as
we wish to do and cannot attain be reserved for him! Or if not, it
matters little, for he will become a good man, and that is the main
point. To be sure, I see already how his two grown-up sisters, Misses
Emily and Serena, will tyrannize over him when he is about fourteen
years old. He will have to put up with a good deal,--his arms will be
voted too long, his coat too short, and his voice wretched. But
presently he will become a man and patronize them, doing them many a
good turn, making himself generally useful, and submitting to the
boredom of many an evening party as their chaperon. I dare say you have
somewhat (or should I say greatly) resented my epistolary shortcomings;
but do pardon me this once, and I promise to improve, particularly in
London, where I can be my own postman and improvise my questions and
answers; but I will reform, anyhow.

Kindest messages from my sisters and parents. We all rejoice at the
birth of the son.

I must now begin the last movement of my Symphony;[17] it gets into my
fingers, spoils my letters, and takes up my time. Excuse, therefore,
these hasty lines; how they are meant, you know.

Yours,

FELIX MENDELSSOHN BARTHOLDY.

       *       *       *       *       *

BERLIN, March 17, 1833.

DEAR MRS. MOSCHELES,--I hope you may not be at home when this letter
arrives, and that the future Felix is playing with a rattle or screaming
lustily in English, which means that I trust you and the new member of
the family are as well as I could possibly wish. Klingemann gave an
excellent report in his last letter; and so all I can say once more is,
I congratulate you with all my heart.

I can’t help thinking that such an important event, such a change in the
equilibrium of the whole family and surroundings, such an increase of
happiness as well as of cares, must work quite a transformation; and I
shall soon come and find out for myself whether I am right. But if you
do not let me hear that I am mistaken (maybe with a scolding for not
writing, or rather for my last bad letter, or with a slight satire on my
genius, or something of that kind), I shall feel shy in Chester Place on
my first London evening, and timid if I am asked to play to you. Do you
happen to be engaged on the 21st of April? If not, I should like to come
to you with Klingemann, who is going to call for me, as I fully intend
being in London on the 20th. A “Schnellpost” is just driving past, and
reminds me that I shall soon sit inside one. Strange to say, since I
have begun to work hard, and have become convinced that Berlin society
is an awful monster, I should like to remain here some time longer. I
feel comfortable, and find it rather difficult to set out travelling
again. All the morning there is a constant knocking at my door, but I do
not open, and am happy to think what bores I may have escaped, unknown
to myself. But when the evening comes and I go round to my parents and
we all join in the liveliest discussion and the maddest laughter, then
indeed we have a splendid time, and one feels quite reluctant to shorten
such hours, not knowing when they shall recur again.

But why write any more? We will talk it all over. I shall have an answer
quicker; or rather, it is for me to answer, as I own that you have
heaped coals of fire upon my head. I am writing to-day to Moscheles to
ask him a favor. I want him to send me one of the many testimonials
which, all the year round, he is called upon to give. (It might be
lithographed _à la_ Smart.) The brothers Ganz, violin and violoncello,
wish, after being at Paris, to go to London for the season, if there is
a certainty, or at least a chance, of their paying their travelling and
other expenses; that is what they want to ask you about, dear Moscheles,
and I volunteered to write to you, as my father did for me three years
ago. But I have clean forgotten the matter for the last few weeks, and
entreat you to send me a few lines for them by return of post; but pray
let it be by the very next return, as they are dreadfully offended and
have left off bowing to me. And they are quite right, after all, as the
time is drawing near.

A most gentlemanly Russian called on me some few days ago, and told me a
good deal about Madame Belleville. I wish you could have heard him, dear
Mrs. Moscheles. The Russians seem to be more thoroughbred than our
Hamburgers. She cannot succeed with them, much as she tries; _she_
would, but _they_ won’t, and all my gentleman had to say about her
pretensions and affectation seemed incredible. Anybody passing for
affected in Moscow or Petersburg must be so indeed; _that_ even the
Berlin people allow.

The other day I heard a Berlin pianist play the worst variations on the
“God save” that I have

[Illustration: musical notation]

[Illustration: 6. The “Cradle Song.” (See page 69)]

ever listened to, and that is speaking volumes. The man had great
technical ability and good fingers; and yet his performance was hollow
and lifeless, and his banging about made me feel miserable. Where in all
the world has our Berlin good taste hidden itself? Then again, I have
lately heard the “Zauberflöte,”--the best performance, I believe, to be
met with nowadays. It is evident that each individual is doing his
utmost, that they one and all love the music, and that the only thing
wanting is an _ensemble_, which I fear will not be met with in Berlin,
as long as sand is sand and the Spree a river. That made me rather
melancholy last autumn; but now I look upon things more brightly, and
think of the coming spring with its return of warmth and verdure,--that
is the best opera one can see and hear. _Au revoir_, then, in the
spring.

Ever yours,

FELIX MENDELSSOHN BARTHOLDY.

       *       *       *       *       *

The spring came, and brought Mendelssohn to London, where he arrived on
the 25th of April, 1833. He at once set to work to compose, jointly with
Moscheles, a grand Fantasia for two pianofortes and orchestra, which
they could bring out as a novelty at the concert announced by the latter
for the 1st of May. The theme selected was the “Gipsies’ March” from
Weber’s “Preciosa;” each took his share in the composition of the
Variations, and both combined to link them together. The manuscript
score in the two handwritings, with its erasures and additions, its
stitchings and patchings, seems to evoke the image of the collaborators,
as they worked, thoroughly enjoying the incidents in this joint
production.

Moscheles has a few words of graphic description in his diary: “I will
make a variation in minor, which shall growl below in the bass,”
exclaimed Felix; “will you do a brilliant one in major in the treble?”
And so it was settled that the Introduction as well as the first and
second Variations should fall to the lot of Mendelssohn; the third and
fourth, with the connecting Tutti, to that of Moscheles. “We wished to
share in the Finale; so he began with the Allegro movement, which I
broke in upon with a ‘piu lento.’ On the night of the concert all went
well; not a soul observed that the duet had been merely sketched, and
that each of us was allowed to improvise in his own solo, until at
certain passages agreed on, we met again in due harmony.”

In a letter bearing a later date, Moscheles says: “It is quite amusing
to see how people want to find out by which of us this or that
variation, this passage in the treble or that modulation in the bass, is
written. It is just the intimate fusion of two musical minds that I
like; and I tell them that an ice _à la tutti frutti_ should not be
analyzed otherwise than by dissolving it in one’s mouth, and that one
should be satisfied with the flavor it leaves behind.”

[Illustration: 7. First Page of the Original Draft of Mendelssohn’s
“Melodies” (Songs without Words). The original in possession of Felix
Moscheles. (See page 66.)]

The next note is interesting as having reference to the first book of
the “Songs without Words:”

       *       *       *       *       *

LONDON, in my Club, May 16, 1833.

This morning I again forgot to mention, my dear Moscheles, what I have
often intended asking and have as often forgotten,--how matters stand in
reference to that publication of mine, and whether there has been any
practical result. I have an appointment with V. Novello to-morrow
morning; and if he has only sixpence to give me as my share, I would
rather not broach the subject. So please leave word at my house whether
you think I should mention the matter, or whether it had better rest in
eternal oblivion. I return home to-morrow at eleven o’clock to know
which way you decide. The saying is: “Merit has its crown;” so I
scarcely expect I shall get as much as half a crown.

Yours,

F. MENDELSSOHN.

       *       *       *       *       *

At Mendelssohn’s request to find a publisher for the work, then called
“Melodies for the Pianoforte,” Moscheles had made arrangements with the
firm of Novello, according to which the composer was to receive a
royalty on each copy sold. From the books of that eminent firm, we
gather that the work was published in 1832, and that on the 11th of
June, 1833, Mendelssohn received £4 16_s._ 0_d._, forty-eight copies
being sold. In 1836, four years after the publication, only one hundred
and fourteen copies had been disposed of. In 1837 Mendelssohn sold the
copyright of the first and third books of “Songs without Words,” three
Preludes and Fugues for the organ, and three Chorales for female voices,
for £35, to Messrs. Novello. We are indebted to Messrs. Littleton of
that firm for the original Assignment, which we reproduce.[18] The
titlepage is a fac-simile of the manuscript in the possession of Felix
Moscheles.[19]

During this stay Mendelssohn conducted his Symphony in A major (the
Italian) for the first time, at one of the Philharmonic concerts. At No.
3 Chester Place he was a constant visitor, ever bright and welcome in a
circle which included Hummel, Malibran, Paganini, Rubini,
Schröder-Devrient, Cramer, etc. On the 17th of May he left for
Düsseldorf, to conduct the Musical Festival on the 28th. From there he
writes:--

       *       *       *       *       *

DÜSSELDORF, May 31, 1833.

DEAR MRS. MOSCHELES,--_Meâ culpâ_; but I have been more besieged than
ever. I have dropped down on my bed at night unable to write or think,
and scarcely able to speak. That sounds touching, but is true,
nevertheless; so do not be too angry with me.

This is the first day of leisure, and I write to say that, please God, I
shall be back in town on

[Illustration: 8. Fac-simile of Assignment to Mr. Novello.]

Wednesday the 5th, ready to christen, play, conduct, and even to be a
“genius.”

All else verbally. So farewell till we meet.

FELIX MENDELSSOHN BARTHOLDY.

       *       *       *       *       *

Mendelssohn came, this time with his father, christened, played, and
conducted, and otherwise kept his word. His first present to his
godchild was an autograph album, which he inaugurated with the two
pencil drawings reproduced here. The first represents the house in which
the Moscheleses lived,--No. 3 Chester Place, Regent’s Park. Moscheles
himself is supposed to be looking out of the window of his
dressing-room. The second is a view taken in the Regent’s Park close to
the house. Musically, too, he consecrated the album by a composition,
the well-known Cradle Song in B flat, written for the occasion.[20]

In the course of years the pages of the little book have been covered
with souvenirs from the pens and pencils of such friends as were not
unworthy of inscribing their names next to that of the “genius”
godfather; it is doubly valued by its possessor, for the interesting
autographs it contains, and for the pleasant echoes of the past which it
awakens.

On the occasion of a visit to the Portsmouth Dockyard, Mendelssohn’s
father met with an accident, injuring his leg, and at first there seemed
some cause for anxiety. This, however, was soon removed, and nothing
but patience was required to insure complete recovery. Much music too
must have been prescribed, for we find Mendelssohn and Moscheles
constantly at the piano in the patient’s room. Amongst other works a
collection of Johann Sebastian Bach’s Fugues, which Mendelssohn had
brought with him, was perused and studied with the greatest interest.

The note upon the next page accompanied a certain Fugue which
Mendelssohn had copied out for Moscheles; he is supposed to hold the pen
for some of the inmates of the Zoölogical Gardens, which he and
Moscheles had visited in the afternoon.

On one occasion he sent the humorous invitation we reproduce.[21] On
another occasion he insisted on having a regular card of invitation,
which he filled in as given in our illustration.[22]

Notwithstanding the numerous calls upon his time, Mendelssohn found
leisure to make a pianoforte duet arrangement of Moscheles’s Septet.
Speaking of this in a subsequent letter, Moscheles says: “I have
recopied your arrangement of my Septet, and treated several passages
more freely than you, with your usual discretion, had done; at the same
time I have taken your hint, and added twelve new bars in the first part
and altered two towards the end.”

Of the many notes that passed between Great Portland Street and Chester
Place, we transcribe a few.

[Illustration: 9. Fac-simile of Note from the Zoölogical Gardens. (See
page 70.)]

       *       *       *       *       *

DEAR MRS. MOSCHELES,--


BOOK I.--ON HEALTH.

I trust you are quite well, even better than you were last night. My
father is well, and I have slept nine hours and am tired.


BOOK II.--ON SHOPPING.

My father requests you to let him come to-day or to-morrow morning, to
arrange when he may go out with you, according to your kind promise and
Stone’s prescription (to walk). This note is business-like; you must
give me a verbal answer to Book I.

Yours,

F. M.

       *       *       *       *       *

103 GREAT PORTLAND STREET, June 20, 1833.

DEAR MRS. MOSCHELES,--I am very sorry I could not be with you yesterday
evening, all the more as I am sure you again thought you had read in my
face that I had made up my mind not to go. This time it was not so,
however; but the check-taker would on no account let me pass without a
ticket. I gave your name; he could not fetch you. I beckoned and called,
and as I could not catch your eye, I waited and thought you might pass
in my direction; but the cruel Cerberus in livery intimated to me that I
had better retire to Portland Street, and that is what I did....

       *       *       *       *       *

In another note he says:--

       *       *       *       *       *

Here is my verbal answer--Oh dear! how unlucky, we can’t come! You see,
we are giving a dinner ourselves to-day. I have just ordered fish and
lobster for five,--that is, salmon,--and so I must present our regrets.

       *       *       *       *       *

103 GREAT PORTLAND STREET, July 17, 1833.

With best thanks I return the books you lent me, namely, Nathan, two
volumes of Zschokke, the last volume of “Phantasie-Stücke,” and the
musical paper; so please destroy whatever acknowledgment of these you
may have. Please give bearer the address of that faithless laundress,
with whom I should be in a rage if she were not under your immediate
patronage.

Best love to Moscheles.

FELIX MENDELSSOHN BARTHOLDY.

P. S. So far I have not yet learned to tie that cravat (I practised
yesterday before the looking-glass); but it is beautiful all the same.

       *       *       *       *       *

On the 29th of August Mendelssohn left London; and after a short stay in
Berlin, he proceeded to Düsseldorf to assume his new duties as
“Musikdirector.” He had accepted this position for three years, at a
salary of six hundred thalers per annum, with three months’ leave of
absence.

The original score of his Overture to the “Isles of Fingal” he gave to
Moscheles. We reproduce

[Illustration: 10. Fac-simile of Humorous Note. (See page 70.)]

the first page of it. On perusing it some fifty years after it was
written, Gounod made the note at the foot.[23]

       *       *       *       *       *

SEPT. 13, 1833.

DEAR MRS. MOSCHELES,--Here is Berlin, September 13, and my father once
more safely lodged in the Leipzigerstrasse, and feeling quite well. I
should write you a long and detailed letter, if I did not wish to send a
few words without delay from this place, which we reached yesterday, and
which I must leave again the day after to-morrow; you can fancy how the
whole day is spent in the family circle, with neither time nor
inclination for letter-writing. But to look back upon the anxious days I
have gone through, to remember all the kindness shown me, to feel that I
am relieved of a great responsibility, and to think of those who
assisted me in bearing its weight,--_that_ I have both leisure and
inclination to do, and that is the purport of this letter. Here all are
well and cheerful, and send their best love. My father was unlucky
enough to tread a nail into his foot, as we were visiting my uncle’s
place on the Rhine, on the very day the steamer brought us the
Dirichlets.[24] So he was laid up again for several days, and had to
perform the whole journey to Berlin stretched out in the coupé. This
little accident caused him more depression than his serious illness in
London, so that he felt excessively impatient to see his own home again,
and almost despaired of it. This, and in particular our necessarily slow
progress, with so many inns and nights’ lodgings, made the whole journey
most irksome, and my own impatience became the greater for having to
conceal it. But at last I felt happy indeed, as we drove into the
well-known courtyard, and the journey was safely over. The foot was but
slightly injured, and to-day my father is allowed to walk about.

Excuse haste. I shall write properly from Düsseldorf, where I must be in
a few days. And now farewell to you both. My love to Felix, Emily, and
Serena. Wish I could send her two carnations. Pray give them to her in
my name.

Wishing you all happiness, I am yours,

FELIX MENDELSSOHN BARTHOLDY.

       *       *       *       *       *

DÜSSELDORF, Nov. 25, 1833.

DEAR MRS. MOSCHELES,--Should this piece of paper have turned red by the
time Klingemann arrives, it will but reflect my blushes. But when once a
man has become callous, he is no longer amenable to kindness and
friendliness; callous he remains, and keeps on sinning to his heart’s
content. And that, I am sorry to say, is my case. And this does not even
pretend to be the answer to your most kind letter, but my own act of
accusation, bearing witness that I really received your letter, and
nevertheless remained deaf and dumb,

[Illustration: 11. Card of Invitation filled in by Mendelssohn. (See
page 70.)]

and that you would be quite justified in not even reading all this. The
truth is, that since I have got used to this place, I feel quite at home
and settled in it. I am working a good deal for myself and for the outer
world, and that, in other words, means that I am happy. This I ought to
have described to you at full length, but could not (perhaps Klingemann
can do so verbally), and so kept silent; but towards Christmas I mean to
send you some new compositions and a letter as well, and then Moscheles
must give me his opinion of the music, according to his promise. He will
by that time have conducted my Overture in F, and will report about it,
so that I shall have a letter in spite of my sins. Now, that is being
hardened indeed! Better change the subject.

Herewith is the book of Songs formally made over to you, your heirs,
executors, and assigns; if Klingemann doesn’t give it up, he is worse
than a _gazzo-ladro_. I do intend sending you a proper book of
manuscript songs at Christmas; but you won’t believe me, so I’ll set
about writing it first.

And how about Moscheles’s four-hand Sonata?

After all, this is but a note, and I ought to conclude by saying: “I am
truly sorry I cannot dine with you this day week, because I have a
previous engagement at Mrs. Anderson’s.”

All love to Emily and Serena, and every good wish for your welfare.
Should little Felix show his content by saying “Ba!” or otherwise prove
his friendly disposition, you must tell him about his godfather, and
give him his love. Now farewell, and fare ever well.

Yours,

FELIX MENDELSSOHN BARTHOLDY.

       *       *       *       *       *

DÜSSELDORF, Feb. 7, 1834.

MY DEAR FRIEND,--Pardon my long silence; I know how guilty I am, but I
reckon on your indulgence. I am so deeply buried in my work and papers,
that even now I think I should not have emerged from them, were it not
that a special circumstance obliges me to write to you. So let me pass
over the last four months and all my excuses into the bargain,
remembering what a dear old friend you are, and how ready to forgive.

Thus encouraged, I fancy myself in Chester Place, and wish you
“Good-evening.” What I have to say is this: I have ventured to dedicate
to you, without asking your permission, a piece which is to appear at
Simrock’s, and which I am very fond of. But that is not what I was going
to say. I had thought how nice it would be if you met with it during one
of your trips to Germany; but now my Rondo Brillant is just finished,
and I have the very greatest desire to dedicate that also to you: but I
do not venture to do it without your special permission, for I am well
aware that it is not the correct thing to ask leave to dedicate two
pieces at once; and perhaps you will think it rather an odd proceeding
on my part, but I cannot help it, I have set my mind upon it.

[Illustration: 12. First Page of the Original Score of Mendelssohn’s
Overture to the “Isles of Fingal,” given to Moscheles. On perusing it
fifty years later, Gounod made the note appended. (See page 77.)]

In general, I am not very partial to dedications, and have seldom made
any; but in this case they are to convey a meaning, inasmuch as, not
having been able to send you a letter for a long while, I wanted at
least to let you have some of the work I have been doing. Write me a
line on the subject, as the Rondo is to appear in Leipzig too; and once
you have written that line you may feel inclined to add another, or
perhaps a few more, as you did in your last kind letter, for which I
have not even thanked you yet.

Klingemann is not prodigal of words, so that I have heard but little of
London friends, and particularly little of those in Chester Place. What
do you all look like? What can Felix say? Does Serena remember her
humble servant with the carnations? And how fares the Sonata for four
hands? Do tell me all about that and your other work. I would ask Mrs.
Moscheles to let me know all about it, but I feel she must be so angry
with me that I don’t think I can summon courage to write to her. The
last of your compositions I heard of was the Impromptu for Mary
Alexander, and since then I am sure you have produced all manner of
delightful things. My own poverty in shaping new forms for the
pianoforte once more struck me most forcibly whilst writing the Rondo.
It is there I get into difficulties and have to toil and labor, and I am
afraid you will notice that such was the case. Still, there are things
in it which I believe are not bad, and some parts that I really like;
but how I am to set about writing a calm and quiet piece (as you advised
me last spring), I really do not know. All that passes through my head
in the shape of pianoforte music is about as calm and quiet as
Cheapside; and when I sit down to the piano and compel myself to start
improvising ever so quietly, it is of no use,--by degrees I fall back
into the old ways.

My new Scena,[25] however, which I am writing for the Philharmonic,
will, I am afraid, be only too tame. But so much self-criticism is no
good; so I stick to my work, and that means, in plain language, that I
am well and happy.

I feel particularly comfortable in this place, having just as much
official occupation as I want and like, and plenty of time to myself.
When I do not feel inclined to compose, there is the conducting and
rehearsing, and it is quite a pleasure to see how well and brightly
things go; and then the place is so charmingly diminutive that you can
always fancy yourself in your own room; and yet it is complete in its
way. There is an opera, a choral society, an orchestra, church music, a
public, and even a small opposition; it is simply delightful. I have
joined a society formed for the improvement of our stage, and we are now
rehearsing the “Wasserträger.” It is quite touching to see with what
eagerness and appetite the singers pounce upon every hint, and what
trouble they will take if anybody will be at the pains of teaching
them; how they strain every nerve and really make our performances as
perfect as can be imagined considering the means at our disposal. Last
December I gave “Don Juan” (it was the first time I conducted an opera
in public), and I can assure you many things went better and with more
precision than I have heard them at some of the large and famous
theatres, because from first to last every one concerned went in for it
heart and soul; well, we had twenty rehearsals. The lessee of the
theatre had, however, thought fit to raise the prices on account of the
heavy expenses; and when, at the first performance of “Don Juan,” the
curtain rose, the malcontent section of the public called for Signor
Derossi like mad, and made a tremendous disturbance; after five minutes,
order was restored, we began and went through the first act splendidly,
constantly accompanied by applause; but lo and behold! as the curtain
rises for the second act, the uproar breaks out afresh, with redoubled
vigor and persistence. Well, I felt inclined to hand the whole concern
over to the devil,--never did I conduct under such trying circumstances.
I countermanded the opera which was announced for the next night, and
declared I would have nothing more to do with the whole theatre; four
days later I allowed myself to be talked over, gave a second performance
of “Don Juan,” was received with hurrahs and a threefold flourish of
trumpets, and now the “Wasserträger” is to follow. The opposition
consists mainly of beerhouse keepers and waiters; in fact, by four
o’clock P.M., half Düsseldorf is intoxicated. Anybody wanting to see me
must call between eight and nine in the morning; it is quite useless
attempting to do any kind of business in the afternoon.

Now, what do you think of such a discreditable state of things, and can
you have anything more to say to such boors as we are?

By the by, Mr. Spring of Moscow is quite destroying my peace of mind. He
would have it that he knew you very well, and I would not believe him on
any account; at last he showed me a manuscript note of invitation from
Chester Place, and I had to give in, but still I cannot digest him;--a
pity that at his age, and with as little talent as he seems to have, he
should be obliged to give concerts and make money.

Blagrove was here. I took him to our Choral Society, where we were just
rehearsing the choruses from “Alexander’s Feast;” our performance
produced the most excellent effect on him,--it sent him to sleep.

Can you not send me one or the other of your new things (a copy or
whatever you like)? The gentleman who takes charge of this returns
shortly, and would, I am sure, be the bearer of your parcel. So, if you
have anything, please send it to Klingemann’s, and it shall be called
for.

I hear from my mother that the “Gipsies’ March,” or rather the “April
Variations,” are out. Is that the case; and if so, could I have a copy
of them? I hope you have done a good deal of patching and polishing to
my part,--you know, I am thinking of those restless passages of mine.
The whole of the last number wants repairing or lining with a warm
melody; it was too thin. The first variation, too, I hope you have
turned inside out and padded. Don’t I speak as if I were Musikdirector
Schneider? And can’t you send me one of Mori’s annual gems? But I must
really take courage and another little sheet of paper and write to your
wife, for I haven’t half done. Good-by--till we meet on the next page.

Your

F. MENDELSSOHN.

       *       *       *       *       *

DÜSSELDORF, Feb. 7, 1834.

DEAR MRS. MOSCHELES,--It is only after having given two hours to writing
to Moscheles, that I venture on the letter to you. Never have I so
richly deserved a scolding as now; I say deserved, for I may not get it,
you have so often let me off. What, as compared with my other
delinquencies, are such trifling peccadilloes as talking German at
dinner, not carving at the Stones’, having threadbare coat-buttons, and
not paying compliments _à la_ Hummel? But does it perhaps give you
satisfaction to hear that I have a very bad conscience, or that I have
some kind of feeling like a naughty child about to confess, or that
Klingemann too has given up writing to me? To speak seriously, there are
many minutes in the course of each day when I think of your dear home,
wishing I were there, and enjoying the recollections of the time I have
spent in it. That much you must believe; but whether out of such
thoughts grows a letter or not, depends more or less upon chance. I am
sorry to say I shall not be going to England this spring. I mean to have
a good spell of work, and have something to show for it before I stir
from here. You can hardly imagine how much better and brighter I feel
for the last two months’ work, and how much easier I get on with it; so
I must keep it up, and get into full swing. My birthday just came in
time to remind me how necessary this was. Of my life here, I have
already written a good deal to Moscheles. The other day we gave “Egmont”
with Beethoven’s music. I doubly enjoyed it, for I hadn’t heard anything
of his for a long time.

By the by, you are rather opposed to Goethe in some things; so I
recommend you to read a newly published correspondence between him and
Zelter, in which you will find plenty of matter to confirm your opinion;
and yet I should vigorously oppose you, and stand up for my old favorite
as formerly. Do you know the chorus on Lord Byron, which occurs in the
second part of “Faust” and begins with “Nicht allein”? Should you not
know it, pray read it at once, for I believe it will please

[Illustration: 13. Chester Place. From a Drawing made by Mendelssohn in
an autograph album given by him to his godchild. (See page 69.)]

you. Just now English tea-time is coming on, and with it I feel all my
fear vanishing. To-day there is a _grand déjeuner dansant_,--of all the
hateful Berlin institutions the one I hate the most. A nice set they
are! They meet at half-past eleven A.M., and spend their time eating and
drinking until one o’clock next morning. There are few things so
unsightly in my eyes, whether it is done in broad daylight, which is one
way; or whether the shutters are closed at midday, and the chandeliers
lighted, as they do at Court in Berlin. Besides, there has been dancing
for the last fortnight, usually up to five o’clock in the morning, with
Prince Frederick taking the lead, giving as many balls and accepting as
many invitations as possible. I have been saved all these splendors by a
bad cold, which has confined me to my room for more than a week. I am
getting over it now; but it will serve as an excuse for keeping aloof
until the end of the Carnival. So you see that we too are metropolitan
to the best of our abilities; and if this page of mine has not made you
feel quite Berlinese or Bœotian, an account of all our dinner-parties, I
am sure, would.

I wanted to send you some new songs, but must again put it off, as I
have a great deal to prepare for this parcel. I should like to know,
too, how you are getting on with your singing,--whether you practise
sometimes, and follow the wise rules of your wise professor.[26] You
want to know whether I am rapidly degenerating here, and whether I
stand in awe of any one as I did of you with regard to elegance, or
rather neatness? Madame Hübner, whom you must have seen at Berlin, does
sometimes take me to task, and sees at a glance, on my entering a room,
some shortcoming which it might take me six months to notice; but she is
not as good a Mentor as you, so that I fear you will find me quite run
wild, should I venture again out of my backwoods; and as for my capacity
for tying a cravat with taste, that will be a thing of the past. But
when we meet, you will find me as willing a pupil as ever.

Love to Emily and Serena and to my little godson. The little man cannot
yet understand it, but never mind. Adieu then, and be well and happy.

Ever your

FELIX MENDELSSOHN BARTHOLDY.

       *       *       *       *       *

On the 12th of February, 1834, Moscheles writes:--

       *       *       *       *       *

I have read and studied your Overture (“Melusine”) with ever-growing
interest; and let me say, in the fewest of words, that it is a splendid
work. It is marked by vigorous and spirited conception, unity, and
originality. Thus impressed, I proceeded to the first rehearsal, after
having gone through it privately with Mori. But it was not an easy
matter to moderate the orchestra in the _piano_ parts; especially at the
outset they would make a desperate plunge, and the trumpets were
somewhat surprised at having to fall in with their 7th on C. I winced
and groaned, and made them begin again three times. The contrasting
storms went as if Neptune held the sceptre; but when the voices of the
Sirens were to disarm that boisterous ruler, I had to call for _piano,
piano! piano!_ at the top of my voice, bending down to the ground, _à
la_ Beethoven,[27] and in vain trying to restrain the ferocious violins
and basses. However, at a second reading things went better. The work
was studied with the liveliest interest, and received with the fullest
appreciation. I hope to bring out the lights and shades still better at
the performance. You have given the horns and trumpets, alternately, the

[Illustration: musical notation]

which they rendered splendidly with stopping and damping.

After yours I had Berlioz’s Overture, “Les Francs Juges,” to conduct. We
were all curious to know what the result of French genius would be. I
say French, for so far no other country but France has recognized
Berlioz as a genius. But, oh! what a rattling of brass, fit for the
Porte Saint-Martin! What cruel, wicked scoring! as if to prove that our
ancestors were no better than pedants! And, oh! again, for the contrast
of the middle subject, that would console us with a vaudeville melody,
such as you could not hear to more advantage in “L’Ours et le Pacha,” or
the “Viennese in Berlin.” Then the mystic element,--a progression of
screeching harmonies, unintelligible to all but the March cats! To show
that something terrible is agitating the fevered brain of the composer,
an apoplectic stroke of the big drum shakes to shivers the efforts of
the whole orchestra, as also the auditory nerves of the assembled
audience....

Our “Gipsies’ March” is out,--in London at Cramer’s, in Paris at
Schlesinger’s, in Leipzig at Kistner’s. Kistner has sent a copy in our
name to Frau von Goethe, to whom we have dedicated the piece. You
approve of that dedication to her, don’t you? Your half-share of the
proceeds is, eight Napoleons from Schlesinger, eight Louis d’or from
Kistner, and fifteen to twenty pounds from Cramer.

I will carefully keep the account; so, if you want money, draw on your
banker and friend,

I. MOSCHELES.

       *       *       *       *       *

DÜSSELDORF, April, 1834.

MY DEAR MOSCHELES,--I cannot tell you how much pleasure those letters
from you and from your wife gave me. I don’t think the post ever put me
in such high spirits before. I certainly never felt so happy and elated
for days together

[Illustration: 14. Regent’s Park. From a Sketch made by Mendelssohn in
an autograph album given by him to his godchild. (See page 69.)]

as I did after getting them. You know how often I am beset by grievous
misgivings, how I cannot do anything to my satisfaction, and how, when
such doubts lay hold of me, I fancy the whole world must be aware of my
shortcomings, even more than I am myself, and must overlook the very
existence of my works. But such kind and friendly words as you have
written about my Overture give me greater pleasure than anything that I
could hear after completing a composition. This I know for a certainty:
you might have sent me three of the finest Russian orders or titles for
the Overture without giving me one hour’s happiness such as I have had
from your letter. Do you really know how kind and amiable you were?
Because, if you do, I need not attempt to thank you.

But now let me say how grateful I am for all the trouble you have taken
with my Overture. It is quite a painful feeling to have a piece
performed and not to be present, not to know what succeeded and what
went wrong; but when _you_ are conducting I really feel less nervous
than if I were there myself, for no one can take more interest in his
own works than you do in those of others, and then you can hear and take
note of a hundred things that the composer, preoccupied as he is, has no
time or mind for.

I had already heard from Klingemann what a true friend you had been to
my Overture, and now your description puts it all so visibly before me.
After reading your letter, I took up the score, and played it straight
through from beginning to end, and felt that I liked it better than
before.

By the way, you complain of the difficulty in getting the _pianos_
observed; and as I was playing the piece over again, it struck me that
that was really my fault. It is easily remedied, for the whole thing, I
believe, is due to the marks of expression; if you have those altered in
the parts, it will be set right at once. First, everything should be
marked one degree weaker; that is, where there is a _p_ in the wind
instruments, it should be _pp_; instead of _mf_, _piano_; instead of
_f_, _mf_. The _pp_ alone might remain, as I particularly dislike _ppp_.
The _sf_’s, however, should be everywhere struck out, as they really are
quite wrong, no abrupt accent being meant, but a gradual swelling of the
tone, which is sufficiently indicated by the [Illustration: crescendo].
The same again wherever the

[Illustration: musical notation]

etc. recurs; in all such passages the _sf_’s should be done away with;
and in the strings as well: for instance, at the very opening, and where
the trumpets first come in, it should be _pp_; the _f_’s should simply
disappear. Klingemann would, I am sure, oblige me by making these
alterations in the score, a copyist would transfer them to the parts,
and then the whole thing would sound twice as mermaidish.

What you say of Berlioz’s Overture I thoroughly agree with. It is a
chaotic, prosaic piece, and yet more humanly conceived than some of his
others. I always felt inclined to say with Faust,--

    “He ran around, he ran about,
     His thirst in puddles laving;
     He gnawed and scratched the house throughout,
     But nothing cured his raving;
     And driven at last, in open day,
     He ran into the kitchen.”

For his orchestration is such a frightful muddle, such an incongruous
mess, that one ought to wash one’s hands after handling one of his
scores. Besides, it really is a shame to set nothing but murder, misery,
and wailing to music; even if it were well done, it would simply give us
a record of atrocities. At first he made me quite melancholy, because
his judgments on others are so clever, so cool, and correct, he seems so
thoroughly sensible, and yet he does not perceive that his own works are
such rubbishy nonsense. I am very glad to hear what you say about the
“Gipsy Variations;” but do tell me whether you are not treating me much
too liberally, for I never in my life should have dreamed of such high
terms as now fall to my share alone. The E flat for the horns and
trumpets I put down trusting to luck, and hoping that Providence would
show the players some way to do it; if they have new contrivances for
it, so much the better.

You sent me word not to let Mori have anything more gratis, on account
of his indiscretion; I am doubly sorry for this, as I have just
presented him with a manuscript, to make up for having kept him waiting
six months for the Rondo. I did not like the idea of his having to
pardon any shortcoming of mine, so I thought it the best way out of the
difficulty, and now, although regretting the circumstance, I must of
course keep my word; but for the future I will act upon your hint. That
piece for Fanny Stone I should of all things like to write, but how am I
to compose something easy? Well, I will set about it, and do my best to
avoid octaves and broken chords; then there will be no ornamental
passages at all, for you know I never write any others. No, but really I
will look out seriously for a piece that I can dedicate to her.

But now I must write a few lines to your wife and beg her soon to let me
have more of such good news about my dear Master Felix and Miss Serena
and the grown-up young lady.

       *       *       *       *       *

I suppress my thanks to you, dear Mrs. Moscheles, for all the kind
things you say; I only wish I could now and then write something which
would give you real pleasure, and that I could believe myself worthy of
doing so.

I have just had a letter from my sister in Berlin. She tells me you had
written all about the Overture to my father, and had given him immense
pleasure; and there again I must particularly thank you, for you know
how pleasant it is to have one’s praises sung to one’s parents.

I do wish I could once more call Emily “Du,” but this spring I shan’t be
able to get away; in fact, I shall probably not travel at all, but buy a
horse, and ride and swim and work all through the summer. Next spring,
when, please God, I once more knock at the door of No. 3 Chester Place,
I shall speak English and say, “You;” that will appear less strange to
me than the formal “Sie.” Then, when I return some day a long time
hence, I shall sit and play at _écarté_ whilst she dances, and shall
notice Mr. Stone or some other young man extremely attentive to her. To
be sure, he will have to be very cautious about it, for fear of losing
your good graces. And then Felix will show me the score of his first
Symphony and play it with Serena. By that time I shall be a _vieux
garçon_ or a _ci-devant jeune homme_,--but this isn’t a pleasant
subject; better drop it; it was really you who put me on to it by your
artful allusions to the better things awaiting me, and by your remarks
about the _soirée_ at the Taylors’, and about Mrs. Handley, who, by the
side of her husband, must look like a white mouse by the side of a black
tom-cat, or like a duet for clarinet and double bassoon, or kid gloves
and a Warsaw dressing-gown, or vanilla ice next to roast beef, etc. You
see at a glance that I am still a warm admirer of hers, or I should not
compare her to such nice things, but rather to Maraschino ice, or a
hautboy. I returned last night from a trip to Cologne, where I had to
play at a charity concert, and where your description of the Cologne
public and Cologne musicians, so dear to you, was most vividly brought
back to my mind. I would rather live in any village than there; and much
as I like Düsseldorf, I do not believe I could live for even a couple of
months at Cologne.

I am taking regular lessons in water-colors now with one of our artists,
and work most enthusiastically for several hours every Sunday morning.
Shall I send you a sketch? And what country is it to represent?
Switzerland or Italy? In the foreground I shall introduce a girl with a
green apron and a carnation, to ingratiate myself with Serena. I only
wish I had more leisure, but just now all my time is taken up by the
rehearsals of the “Wasserträger.”

By the by, do you know a book by Thomas Moore[28] on religion? It has
lately appeared; it is said to have gone through at least seventy
editions, and to extinguish all Protestants, Dissenters, nations, and
nationality. It is read here by all the Orthodox Catholics, and praised
highly.

I have lately read Shakspeare’s “King John” for the first time. I do
assure you it is downright heavenly, like everything else of his. But
now I must end at once, or I shall begin talking about Goethe and
Zelter’s letters, which I did not like much. You are of a different
opinion, so my letter might become not only long, but tedious, which it
is already; besides, the paper obliges me to conclude. Should Emily or
Serena ask after me, or the baby be in good humor and crow, and should
that American prodigy be so completely “finished” that not one finger
remains untrained, or should some lady--thank Heaven--put off her lesson
or not come, then, and that as soon as possible, let me have a few lines
telling me that Chester Place is flourishing.

Once more thanks, and farewell.

FELIX M. B.

       *       *       *       *       *

DÜSSELDORF, May 11, 1834.

DEAR MRS. MOSCHELES,--On the very day I received your dear kind letter
and the beautiful present, I was going to answer at full length, and
with best thanks, but there arrived at the same time the news of my
mother’s dangerous illness. To-day there is excellent news, thank God!
My mother has been walking in the garden, and is quite herself, and of
course so am I; and in this happy mood, when a great load has been taken
off my mind, and I can breathe more freely, I sit down at once to write
and thank you.

Not being able to cross over to you this year, I do hope and trust you
will let me have a few lines now and then; for while I read them I am in
Chester Place, I follow your descriptions, live through it all with you,
rejoice at Lord Burghersh’s absence from the party, make remarks about
Miss Masson’s delicate form of “couching her refusal,” abuse Masoni for
that Beethoven Sonata, and admire Miss Use’s beauty, although I know it
only by hearsay.

And how grateful I am to you, dear Moscheles, for doing my Rondo the
honor of playing it at your concert! You may believe that I fully
appreciate it, and feel greatly flattered; and now, if anybody abuses it
ever so much, I shall still love the piece and hold it in high
consideration. Please write me word if you like the accompaniments, or
if you find fault with any part of them. I may perhaps write something
of the kind in the course of this year, and should like to avoid former
faults.

The cravat, however, dear Mrs. Moscheles, I put on at once, and, so
adorned, went out for a ride. You must know I have bought a nice bay
horse, and it gives me immense pleasure. When I went to the Hübners’ in
the evening, Madame Hübner asked if that cravat was English too. I gave
her your message, and she reciprocated it very sincerely. But you have
not told me what composition I am to write in the time saved by this
cravat which does not require tying. It is to you I shall owe the spare
time, and you ought to say how I am to employ it. Shall I write
pianoforte pieces, songs, or what else?

And so the people at the Philharmonic did not like my “Melusine”? Never
mind; that won’t kill me. I felt sorry when you told me, and at once
played the Overture through, to see if I too should dislike it; but it
pleased me, and so there is no great harm done. Or do you think it would
make you receive me less amiably at my next visit? That would be a pity,
and I should much regret it; but I hope it won’t be the case. And
perhaps it will be liked somewhere else, or I can write another one
which will have more success. The first desideratum is to see a thing
take shape and form on paper; and if, besides, I am fortunate enough to
get such kind words about it as those I had from you and Moscheles, it
_has_ been well received, and I may go on quietly doing more work. I
cannot understand your news that Moscheles’s new Concerto met with the
same reception. I thought it as clear as sunshine that _that_ must
please the public, when played by him. But when is it to be published,
that I may pounce upon it? Pray do excuse these disconnected sentences.
Ries, the violin-player, is here (you remember his playing in
Moscheles’s Trio at Berlin); he is going to give a concert to-morrow,
and so I have been constantly interrupted by all sorts of people
employed in the arrangements, and have to rehearse every day, in
consequence of which my poor bay has not left its stable for the last
three days (this, you see, is the principal subject on which my mind
turns).

At Whitsuntide I must go to Aix-la-Chapelle to the musical festival, and
am not the least inclined for it, since they perform pieces which my
musical conscience revolts at; but go I must, for a quiet life, as the
people of this place will have it that Ries and I are pope and
anti-pope; and, Ries happening to conduct, they fancy me jaundiced with
vexation, and think that I shall not go. But they are mistaken; I sip my
“Maitrank,”--an excellent drink made of hock, aromatic herbs, and
sugar,--and mean to go. This reminds me of Siboni. Oh, Siboni! how can
you presume seriously to bring out your recipes for salad-mixing? And is
De Vrught there too? And what sort of a figure does he cut at a dinner
in Chester Place? Stop! By the by, have you heard of a Mademoiselle
Meyer who has gone with her father from here to London to play the
piano? She must, some time or other, pass in review before Moscheles,
and I should like above all things to hear of her doings in London. The
father _would_ set me up here as his daughter’s rival, and has tried to
abuse and vex me in every way, and, finding that I took no notice, is
going to try what he can do in London.

Lovely weather we have had for some time, and there is every temptation
to be perfectly idle, saunter about all day, and become a candidate for
the title of Inspector of Nightingales, which they have conferred on an
old lounger of this place. Warm days, and so delightfully long, and I
have already begun my Oratorio, which is the reason I cannot go to the
Westminster Abbey Festival, but must keep to my work. I have

[Illustration: 15. “Mailied,” in Letter of May 15, 1834, to Mrs.
Moscheles. (See page 107.)]

written a few Capriccios for the pianoforte (or Fantasias, or----) that
I like very well, but an abominable _Étude_. This morning, for the first
time after a long interval, a song has come to me; and such a present is
at all times refreshing. I really must write it down for you, although I
am sorry to say it is not at all suited for your voice, but rather for a
tenor. You need not even play it; yet I write it down for you all the
same. Moscheles can hum the melody to himself.

[Illustration: musical notation]

[Illustration: musical notation]

[Illustration: musical notation]

  Dein Reiz is aus der Maassen
  Gleichwie der Pfauen Art,
  Wenn Du gehst auf der Strassen,
  Gar oft ich Deiner wart’
  Gar oft ich Deiner wart’.
  Ob ich gleich viel muss stehn

  Im Regen und im Schnee,
  Im Regen und im Schnee,
  Kein Müh soll mich verdriessen,
  Wenn ich Dich Herzlieb seh’,
  Wenn ich Dich Herzlieb seh’,
  Wenn ich Dich Herzlieb seh’,.

          (Aus dem Wunderhorn.)


       *       *       *       *       *

MAY 14.

This letter was begun three days ago, and I have not yet been able to
finish it. Ries has left again. We played Beethoven’s grand Sonata in A
minor, dedicated to Kreutzer, at his concert, and that by heart, which
was great fun. I do not know whether I told Moscheles that the scores of
my three overtures, “Midsummer Night’s Dream,” “Meeresstille,” and
“Isles of Fingal,” will appear in a few days at Breitkopf & Härtel’s,
which makes me unspeakably proud. As soon as they are to be had, they
shall be presented to you, and I only wish I could have again dedicated
them to you, my dear Moscheles; but as that wouldn’t do, my friends at
home wished me to inscribe them to the Crown Prince, who has shown
himself extremely gracious to me this last autumn. For my own part, I
was thinking of the Philharmonic, and so it is undecided. A knotty
point, you see.

And do you know, dear Mrs. Moscheles, that Varnhagen is going to be
married again,--six months after his inconsolable book about his
wife,--and that to my cousin Marianna Saaling. A young musician has just
been here with an atrocious Fugue for me to look through; also another
native genius who feels an impulse to write Chorales, enough to make one
turn yellow with impatience; and yet he has written Chorales ever since
I came here, the last always worse than the one before it; and as we go
on being vexed with one another, there are some lovely scenes, he not
being able to understand that I still find his compositions bad, and I
that he has not improved them. I am, however, the very type of a good
Cantor, and preach so much to the point that it is great fun to hear me.
The lilies of the valley are out; how pleased I should be to send
Serena some! But even without them, may she live and prosper, and Emily
and Felix as well. And how about Emily’s tune? Now there is an end to my
paper; indeed, I have talked nonsense enough.

Ever yours,

FELIX MENDELSSOHN BARTHOLDY.

       *       *       *       *       *

DÜSSELDORF, June 26, 1834.

YOU AMIABLE COUPLE IN CHESTER PLACE!--Let me thank you a thousand times
for that nice, good, kind letter that you have treated me to again; they
are high days and holidays for me when I receive your letters, and can
read them over and over again. If you, my dear Moscheles, thank me for
the Rondo, I must thank you for thanking me; but I still maintain you
are too indulgent. The other day, Dr. Frank, whom you know, came to
Düsseldorf, and I wished to show him something of my A major Symphony.
Not having it here, I began writing out the Andante again, and in so
doing I came across so many _errata_ that I got interested and wrote out
the Minuet and Finale too, but with many necessary alterations; and
whenever such occurred I thought of you, and of how you never said a
word of blame, although you must have seen it all much better and
plainer than I do now. The first movement I have not written down,
because, if once I begin with that, I am afraid I shall have to alter
the entire subject, beginning with the fourth bar,--and that means
pretty nearly the whole first piece,--and I have no time for that just
now. The dominant in the fourth bar strikes me as quite disagreeable; I
think it should be the seventh (A-G). But many thanks to you and the
Philharmonic for playing so much of my music. I am sure I am delighted,
if only the public does not grumble!

And what do you say to their hissing little Herz? Why, that implies a
high degree of culture! Has he consoled himself with guineas and pupils,
or was it too crushing? You are particularly silent on the subject; and
yet it is true, and Moritz Schlesinger will not be slow to triumph.
Well, if he will only abstain from writing Variations for four hands,
or, if that is too much to ask, if he will only avoid winding up with
those Rondos that are so frightfully vulgar that I am ashamed to play
them to decent people, then, for aught I care, let him be made King of
the Belgians, or rather Semiquaver King, just as one says “Fire-King.”
After all, I like him; he certainly is a characteristic figure of these
times, of the year 1834; and as Art should be a mirror reflecting the
character of the times,--as Hegel or some one else probably says
somewhere,--he certainly does reflect most truly all salons and
vanities, and a little yearning, and a deal of yawning, and kid gloves,
and musk, a scent I abhor. If in his latter days he should take to the
Romantic and write melancholy music, or to the Classical and give us
fugues,--and I should not be surprised if he did,--Berlioz can compose
a new symphony on him, “De la Vie d’un Artiste,” which I am sure will be
better than the first.

Stop; by the by, a few hours after my last letter was posted I altered
the beginning of my “Wunderhornlied,” although I had not noticed the
resemblance, and simply because I did not like it; and now comes your
remark about the reminiscence, which is very striking. Who in the wide
world will believe that I altered it before? You, for one, I hope.
Anyhow, there is the date upon it, and the following beginning:--

[Illustration: musical notation]

What do I think of Vrught? I really have heard him too little to
judge,--only once, and then he sang a song in two verses: the first
quite simply and in his natural voice, so that I thought him the
greatest singer I had ever heard,--it was truly beautiful; but in the
second verse it was all shakes and skipping about, and I quickly changed
my mind. Since then he has not behaved very well to me; but, for my
part, I have no objection to giving him a copy of my Scena, only I do
not think I can do so on account of the Philharmonic.

There is a passage in your letter, dear Mrs. Moscheles, that I protest I
am mightily offended at. You say I declare that your letters are
agreeable to me; and _that_ I am sure I have never _declared_, because
it is simply a fact. Besides, “agreeable” is not the right word: I am
really grateful for the pleasure they give me. Then you say, too, I am
not to care for public and critics; and that is just as bad. Am I not by
trade an anti-public-caring musician, and an anti-critic-caring one into
the bargain? What is Hecuba to me, and what the press (I mean the press
that depresses)? And if this very day I had an idea for an Overture to
Lord Eldon, in the form of a canon _alla rovescia_, or of a double fugue
with a _cantus firmus_, write it I would, although I knew it could never
become popular; how much more the lovely Melusina,--a very different
subject! Only it certainly would be annoying if one never had a chance
of hearing one’s things performed; but as you say that is not to be
feared, let us wish the public and critics long life and happiness,--and
me too,--and let me live to go to England next year.

Oh, Seigneur de Fahl, you live in my rooms! If rooms could speak, what
stuff they would tell me next year, or what would they have told you!
But I hope he is not going to remain in London, for if I could not have
my rooms in No. 103 Great Portland Street it would put me out very much,
since I lived there through so much of sweet and so much of bitter,--a
whole chapter of my life.

Yes, certainly, my horse is more attractive than all the young ladies I
knew in Berlin, it is so glossy and brown; then it looks so healthy and
so very good-natured (and good-nature, every one knows, is not exactly
what the Berlinese are noted for). However, I do not forswear marriage,
for my father has prophesied that I shall never marry. There certainly
is little hope of it just now, but I shall lose no opportunity of
getting myself placed; and surely, if Varnhagen has succeeded twice, why
should I not finally meet with some girl who would take me?

From Frau von Goethe I have a very kind letter, in which she sends me so
many thanks for the Variations that I feel I ought to forward the
greater part of them to you, my dear Moscheles.

Now let me write my message to Serena, and inform her that I shall pay
her a visit next year, and present her with a large nosegay of pinks;
and to Emily I will bring a brand-new tune, and teach it to her. Will
you have some mustard or an oil picture?--those are the only choice
productions of the place. And what am I to do in the mean while with my
Choir, and the Opera, and my horse? Well, there’s plenty of time to
think of that; so now good-night and _au revoir_!

When Moscheles has a moment of leisure let him send me a line and his
best love. No more room to sign my name.

       *       *       *       *       *

Moscheles gives Mendelssohn full particulars of the Birmingham Festival.
An Oratorio of the Chevalier Neukomm’s and an unusually large number of
the same composer’s works figured in the programme. “His style is
Haydn’s,” says Moscheles; “occasionally elevated and bordering on
Handel, but when you go into detail, you find many hackneyed modulations
and figures. For the higher development of Art he has not done much, but
in his ‘David’ there are numbers showing excellent workmanship and much
ability in the use of all the means at his disposal.”

A Fantasia on the Organ he entitled “A Concert on a Lake, interrupted by
a Thunderstorm.” The poetical element was missing, and the introduction
of incidental thunderclaps and forked lightning on the organ only served
to show up the weakness of construction in the whole thing.

Moscheles goes on to describe with enthusiasm the performance of the
“Messiah” and of some of the most effective Choruses selected from
“Israel in Egypt.” In speaking of the brass instruments, he says that
the ophicleide is a very useful addition to the orchestra in large
performances; “for,” he remarks, “just as you say of a steam-engine, it
has ten-horse power, so of this you can say, it has ten-trombone power.”

       *       *       *       *       *

DÜSSELDORF, Dec. 25, 1834.

DEAR MOSCHELES,--Upon my word, I cannot stand my own base ingratitude
any longer! I really must write at last. And why haven’t I done so for
the last two months? I really cannot say, and certainly cannot find an
excuse. The monkeys on the Orinoco, I recollect reading somewhere, do
not talk because they have nothing to say, and I suppose I was somewhat
of their kind; and then really I was at first in no mood for anything
and had plenty of time, and then I was in high spirits and had no time
at all,--in fact, I procrastinated. And now that I am about it, what in
the name of worry am I to write about from Düsseldorf to a Londoner, and
to such a one as you? Really this is such a mite of a place, where
nothing ever happens. I cannot possibly send you the news that the
Tories are in power. Never mind; I write that I may soon again hear from
you. It is just because your letters give me so much pleasure, and bring
your interesting life so vividly before me, that I would rather say
nothing about our petty provincial affairs. Whilst you are driving at
headlong speed, we are really driven like a herd of cattle.

I have one fault to find with your letter. But for Klingemann, I should
not have known that you had composed an Overture to “Joan of Arc;” yet
you surely cannot doubt that that, of all news, would interest me most.
I congratulate you with all my heart if only on the choice of such an
excellent and serious subject. I long to hear the Overture itself, but
you are absolutely silent about it; in fact, I am quite in ignorance of
what you have composed lately, or what you have got in your mind. Please
give me full particulars of it,--in what key it is, how it is worked
out, and how scored. If possible, jot down a few notes for me. And have
you written nothing new for the piano? It would be quite a boon, for
there is great dearth in that line.

Thanks for your description of the Festival; it is so graphic and
interesting that I could have fancied myself there: I hear Neukomm
extemporizing, and see Miss Rylands in the box. (Your account and your
wife’s must be taken together.)

I quite agree with you in all you say about Neukomm’s music. Isn’t it
wonderful that a man of such taste and refinement should not be able to
transfer those qualities to his music? To say nothing of the fundamental
ideas of his compositions, the working out seems so careless and
commonplace. The Fantasia is probably an example of that kind of thing;
and had I come as the most favorably predisposed of listeners, the very
title would have scared me away. Then, again, that constant use of the
brass! As a matter of sheer calculation it should be sparingly employed,
let alone the question of Art! That’s where I admire Handel’s glorious
style; when he brings up his kettledrums and trumpets towards the end,
and thumps and batters about to his heart’s content, as if he meant to
knock you down--no mortal man can remain unmoved. I really believe it is
far better to imitate such work, than to overstrain the nerves of your
audience, who, after all, will at last get accustomed to Cayenne pepper.
There is Cherubini’s new Opera, “Ali Baba,” for instance, which I have
just been looking through. I was delighted with some parts, but in
others it grieved me to find him chiming in with that perverted new fad
of the Parisians, winding up pieces, in themselves calm and dignified,
with thunder-clap effects, scoring as if instruments were nothing and
effect everything, three or four trombones blasting away at you as if
the human ear could stand anything. Then the finales with their uncouth
harmonies, tearing and dashing about, enough to make an end of you. How
bright and sparkling, on the other hand, are some of the pieces in his
former manner; between Faniska and Lodoiska, for instance, and this
there really is as wide a difference as between a man and a
scarecrow,--no wonder the Opera was a failure. To an admirer of old
Cherubini’s it really is annoying that he should write such miserable
stuff, and not have the pluck to resist the so-called taste of the day
and of the public, (as if you and I were not part of the public, and
didn’t live in these times as well, and didn’t want music adapted to
_our_ digestive capacities!) As for those who are not admirers of old
Cherubini, they will not be satisfied anyhow, do what he may; for them
he is too much himself in “Ali Baba,” and after the first three notes
they spot their man and put him down as a “vieille perruque,” “rococo,”
etc.

You will fancy I am in an all-devouring mood to-day; not at all,--I
really don’t know what made me so pugnacious; on the contrary, I am in a
most happy, peaceful frame of mind. It is Christmas Day; a fragrant odor
of black gingerbread, with which I was regaled at the Schadows’ last
night, pervades the room; all around are presents from home,--a lounging
jacket, writing materials, confectionery, cup and saucer, etc. In the
midst of such splendors I have been happy and cheerful all day long, and
now in the evening that wicked pen of mine runs away with me.
Düsseldorf, too, is not half as bad as I described it just now, and you
would not be slow to appreciate it if you heard the members of our
Choral Society sing their Sebastian Bach, true knights as they are. We
are soon going to perform the “Seasons,” and during Lent the “Messiah;”
in the last concert we had Weber’s “Lyre and Sword,” the first part of
“Judas Maccabæus,” and the “Sinfonia Eroica.” I am held in tremendous
respect here; but do you know, I think my ink has turned sour just now
because my horse bolted with me this afternoon and ran like mad right
through our Corso and half the town, straight to the stables. I kept my
seat, but I was in such a rage; and weren’t the people just delighted to
see the “Herr Musikdirector” racing along! And then really there are not
enough pretty girls here; after all, one doesn’t want to be composing
fugues and chorales all day long; but, upon my soul, I am getting so
frumpy and old-fashioned that I dread the thought of putting on a
dress-coat, and how I am to get on if I go to England next spring and
have to wear shoes, I know not. Well, it will all come right again if I
am really sufficiently advanced with my work in the spring to cross; and
if so, you know with what feelings I look forward to No. 3 Chester
Place.

My Oratorio is making great progress. I am working at the second part,
and have just written a Chorus in F sharp minor (a lively chorus of
heathens) which I thoroughly relish myself and should so much like to
show you; in fact, I am ever so anxious to hear whether you are
satisfied with my new work. I have lately written some Fugues, Songs
without words and with words, and a few Studies, and should of all
things like to take a new Concerto for piano with me to London, but of
that I know nothing as yet. You once said it was time I should write a
quiet, sober piece for the pianoforte, after all those restless ones;
and that advice is always running in my head and stops me at the outset,
for as soon as I think of a pianoforte piece, away I career, and
scarcely am I off when I remember, “Moscheles said, etc.,” and there’s
an end to the piece. But never mind, I’ll get the better of it yet; and
if it turns out restless again, it will certainly not be for want of
good intentions.

But now good-by, my dear Moscheles. When you have a leisure hour give me
good news and much of it. Remain my friend, as I am yours,

FELIX MENDELSSOHN BARTHOLDY.

       *       *       *       *       *

With the following letter Mendelssohn sent a small, highly finished
water-color drawing of the Bridge of Sighs at Venice to Mrs. Moscheles,
which we reproduce.

       *       *       *       *       *

DÜSSELDORF, Jan. 10, 1835.

DEAR MRS. MOSCHELES,--I ought to be kneeling on peas to do penance, all
the time I am writing this letter, sinner that I am! And indeed, in my
innermost heart, I am really on peas, when I think of my long silence.
Such a shocking return for your kind letter after the Birmingham
Festival! The courier who is to take my long-promised sketch to you
leaves to-morrow, or I should scarcely have written to-day. The fact
that I write only to accompany the sketch, you must not look upon as an
aggravation of my offence,

[Illustration: 16. The Bridge of Sighs. From a Water-Color Drawing by
Mendelssohn. (See page 122.)]

but must interpret it favorably. You know, there are times when I feel
but a poor mortal, and avoid speaking or even thinking about myself.
Such tunes come upon me every now and then; and having no kind friend
here to turn to for sympathy, I suffer more than elsewhere. If just on a
day of that kind a letter reaches me like your last, I am carried into
the midst of your busy interesting life, and, comparing that with the
monotony of my own existence, I feel as if I could not write a word
about myself; in such times, to speak of myself and my work, depresses
me still more. Then I fancy I am but a nuisance, and don’t write to you.
So it has been hitherto; but to-day I turn over a new leaf, and must
present my water-color drawing to you, which I herewith do most
gracefully. My most solemn and impressive bow you must here picture to
yourself.

The sketch, taken at Venice in October, 1830, represents the Bridge of
Sighs. Should it be out of drawing, you mustn’t set that down to me, but
fancy the Doge’s palace just tumbling down, and consequently leaning on
one side. The water is the _partie honteuse_. I have labored the whole
morning to make it a little clearer, but it only got muddier; so there,
again, imagine that the tide happens to be out, because then the water
throughout Venice gets thick and muddy, and might look as unattractive
as it does in my sketch. My sky, too, is rather murky; but a certain
Nicolaï of Berlin has just published a stupid book meant to prove that
there is nothing worth looking at in Italy,--that the country is devoid
of beauty, and the people dull and heavy, no _Weissbier_, no oranges,
and the sky no better than our own. If he speaks the truth, it would
make the color of my sky right. Should my drawing, with all its
shortcomings, find favor in your eyes, let me know, that I may make you
another; for I am improving, and my next will be better; I might paint
you a Swiss landscape, with meadows and houses, for nothing amuses me
more. And now if I could only carry this one to you myself, and then and
there alter it according to your suggestions!

I shall be glad if I can get to you in the spring; though, much as I
desire it, I fear it will hardly be possible. I shall have done my work
by that time just as I planned it; but the question is, Ought I to begin
something fresh, and go on working quietly, or should I take a holiday?
However, one thing I do know, and that is, if I treat myself to a visit
to England this year, I will lead a very different life in London to
what I did before,--trying to keep as quiet and retired as I do here,
and not going into society unless really obliged to; but as to you, I
shall inundate you with as many visits as you can endure. Till then I
must work hard at my piano, for I fear I have lost ground a good deal.
The other day, however, in telling a friend how Moscheles and I used to
improvise together, and showing him some of the passages, I could have
given anything to start for London, once more to enjoy the same
pleasure; for not only do I play but little here myself, but I rarely
get to hear others. On the other hand, there are what I call good days,
and most enjoyable ones, when the work prospers, and I have a long
morning to myself in my own quiet room; then life is charming indeed.

And pray, how do you all get on? Is there already some “miss” playing
her scales downstairs in Moscheles’s study, or is he allowed a little
leisure to compose and make music? Does little Felix cry very much? Has
Emily grown? Of her growing up, you know I stand in mortal fear. I was
going to send you another song to-day, but could not get on with it,
which annoys me; so you must even rest satisfied with this dull,
unmusical letter. And now farewell. May you all be happy and merry in
this new year! May it bring you every blessing, and to me a happy
meeting with you and Moscheles! All my belongings keep sending messages,
which I never give you, although my father is always mentioning your
kindness to him and his regard for you.

Ever yours,

FELIX MENDELSSOHN BARTHOLDY.

       *       *       *       *       *

DÜSSELDORF, Feb. 7, 1835.

DEAR MOSCHELES, AND DEAR MRS. MOSCHELES,--I sent you two such stupid
letters the other day by the courier that I really must try if I can’t
put together a more sensible one to-day. I do feel sometimes as if all
the world of Philistines had got the better of me, and I were a
Philistine myself; at such times I cannot write, as I amply proved the
other day.

To-day I composed a chorus for my Oratorio, and I am quite pleased with
it. So what better can I do in the evening than put my happy mood into
the shape of a letter to Chester Place, and send my best love to you
all? I heard too from Klingemann to-day, and that always makes me feel
holiday-like; and besides, it was so desperately foggy that I quite
fancied myself in England during my ride; and then for the last few
weeks the number of Philistines sitting on me has decreased; and
then--and then--spring is coming, and spring weather has come
already--so, after all, life is worth living. By the way, is there a
word in English for _Philister_? I don’t believe there is. Oh, land of
happiness!

True, they may re-elect Mr. Fleming to a seat in Parliament; they may
sing “Lord God of Israel” to my “Ave,” which is much as if they sang
“The Old English Gentleman” to Lutzow’s “Jagd;” but for all that they
are not really Philisters. This is the place for the genuine article.

If I had seen Mrs. Moscheles at that ball I went to last night, where
there were such quantities of tallow candles, and we had ham and
potatoes for supper, and the boards were sprinkled after the first
dance, not after the second (that would have been no use, the dust was
so thick that you could hardly see the people), and they danced down the
stove to the capital music of some worthy members of my band,--the whole
thing got up by the Commercial Club, commonly called “The
Parliament,”--and the ladies’ dresses--no, but these baffle
description--only, had I seen Mrs. Moscheles there, and she me, in my
best English cravat too, I should just have collapsed for very shame;
for on these occasions I positively cannot believe there is such a thing
in the whole place as a gentleman. Now, what I should like of all things
would be to go and enjoy myself at the fair; surely it could not be
ungenteeler, but undoubtedly jollier; only, you see my rank as
Musikdirector does not allow of my taking such liberties, a fact that
the Burgomaster himself has strongly impressed upon me. And then we have
the glorious rivalry between Düsseldorf and Elberfeld, which is twelve
miles off; Düsseldorf styling itself Athens, and dubbing Elberfeld Rio
de Janeiro or Augsburg. And then all the girls are plain; and that is
quite a misfortune, or at least a grievance. So I really associate only
with artists, and they are very good fellows. As for Immermann,[29] with
whom I used to be on friendly terms, he is completely immersed in
theatrical business, Uechtritz in æsthetics, and Grabbe in the
bottle,--three things I don’t much care for, least of all perhaps for
æsthetics.

The other day I was asked to edit a musical review. I should have liked
to call out the firm that made the request; for nothing seems to me more
unsatisfactory or distasteful than a concern of that kind, in which you
have to suit other people’s pleasure and take all the annoyance to
yourself. The other day I received from a local composer some songs with
guitar accompaniment, for my opinion. The first began thus:--

[Illustration: musical notation]

whereupon the voice comes in, and towards the end of the letter the man
asks me whether in my judgment Handel was really the great man he is
usually taken to be. Now, wouldn’t he do for the editor? What better
qualification for the post than that song and that question?

But, to be serious again, my dear Moscheles, when you write tell me all
you can about your new Overture to Joan of Arc, of which I have so far
only been able to hear in a general way. Have you written anything
besides the Overture, and if so, what? Are we not to have a third book
of Studies? I do not believe there is in all Germany a single pianist,
worthy or unworthy of the name, who does not know the first two books,
and play them,--Heaven only knows how, to be sure,--and by publishing a
third, you would really be conferring a boon on all musical people.
Remember now, I want chapter and verse about everything you have been
writing.

Among the new music you are constantly looking through, have you come
across anything good? I have not seen anything that I quite liked. A
book of Mazurkas by Chopin and a few new pieces of his are so mannered
that they are hard to stand. Heller, too, has written two books of Songs
that he had better have left unwritten. I so wish I could admire it all;
but it is really so little to my taste, that I cannot. A few things
there are, too, by some Berliners and Leipzigers, who would like to
begin where Beethoven left off. They can “clear their throats” as he
does, and “cough his cough,” and that is just all. To me it is like
riding across the fields after the rain; on horseback they can dash
along splendidly, even if they do get splashed, but when they try to
walk, they get stuck fast in the mud. I have heard “Gustave III.” by
Auber; in that kind of opera the music is fast becoming of secondary
importance,--a good thing too. Yesterday I read in a French paper that
Bellini is gazetted Knight of the Légion d’Honneur; Louise Vernet, whom
I once upon a time admired so much, marries Delaroche the artist; and
Urhan has written pianoforte pieces he calls “Lettres à Elle.” But I
dare say you know all that, as well as the good news that the “Œuvres
complètes de Moscheles” are about to appear at Schlesinger’s.

There, I am at the end of my paper just as I was going to begin in good
earnest; it is quite as well, for I have nothing new to say, but only
something old,--namely, my love to you all, and my longing to be with
you once more. Well, next May I shall probably give one of my awkward
knocks at your door. For the present, good-by; best love to Emily,
Serena, and Felix, who I am sure speaks French by this time, or at any
rate soon will. And now enough,--too much perhaps.

Ever yours,

FELIX M. B.

       *       *       *       *       *

Moscheles sent Mendelssohn his Overture to Joan of Arc; and two Songs on
words by Uhland, “The Smith” and “In Autumn.”

       *       *       *       *       *

DÜSSELDORF, March 25, 1835.

MY DEAR MOSCHELES,--A thousand thanks for your kindness in sending me
the two Songs and the Overture, and for the nice letter which came with
them. It is too good of you. In your busy life, with so many demands on
your time, you actually copy out music for me, and take pleasure in
giving me pleasure! The mere sight of the parcel gladdened my very
heart; and now that I have the contents, I long to hear the whole
Overture, instead of having to fancy the single parts linked together.
Now I have a clearer conception of the whole work, and am particularly
delighted with the French March in the middle,--which, I am sure, must
have a capital effect,--then the theme in minor at the end, and indeed
the whole idea and conception. The Allegro Spiritoso is, I suppose, the
principal section of the work; at least I cannot fancy it otherwise. And
what about the end? Do you finish in minor with the Funeral March, or
are “all standards slowly lowered at the king’s command”? The beginning
of the minor March which you have written out for me is so fine that I
long to know its conclusion. The March, I suppose, comes in towards the
end; the trombones in answer to the muted Quartet must have a splendid
effect.

You have given me nearly as much pleasure by the two Songs. They are so
intrinsically German, not a bit French or English, never aiming at
effect, and therefore producing the most agreeable effect upon me; for I
cannot say how glad I am that you, in the midst of all your successes,
have not lost the taste or love for such small, unobtrusive, beautiful
songs. There is something truly artistic and truly German in that,--just
what I delight to find in you. I like the Song in B major best,
particularly the charming close, where the voice descends from F sharp
while the accompaniment keeps on hammering away. So, too, the _piano_ to
the words “black forge” is delightful. In the Song in F, I particularly
like the recurrence of the subject creeping in through the accompaniment
at the words, “Ah, those were lovely dreams!” But will you allow me to
mention a trifling matter with which I do not quite agree? There are a
few _nuances_ in the declamation,--or whatever else I may call it,--just
at the beginning, to the words, “Yonder at the garden entrance,” where
the quiet fall of the melody appears out of keeping, and where,
musically speaking, the two half-bars seem to drag somewhat. I fancy it
would sound livelier if they were omitted, and the melody went on
without delay, so that, in the following bars, the words would not be
dwelt upon at such length. Thus the word “glad” would get into the first
bar, and the word “chords” into the second. This is still more striking
at the word “soul,” in B major, where I feel confident the melody should
go on without rest, as the verse goes on,--the word “again” belonging to
“dost thou know,” according to the meaning of the text. So, also, I was
struck by the long pause preceding the words “look around,” the
accompaniment going on to A major, and then by the spinning out of the
words “around them.” I fancy you might leave out one or two bars
altogether.

But when I remember that I am writing to you, Moscheles, and that from
me to you all this is very presumptuous, I am half afraid you will be
offended--but no, I don’t mean that either, for I know you would not
take offence at my straight-forwardness. If I tell you honestly where I
think you have been less successful, it shows you that I am sincere
where I appreciate, and that I thank you for all the rest.

What you say about Berlioz’s Symphony is literally true, I am sure; only
I must add that the whole thing seems to me so dreadfully slow,--and
what could be worse? A piece of music may be a piece of uncouth, crazy,
barefaced impudence, and still have some “go” about it and be amusing;
but this is simply insipid and altogether without life.

Some studies of Hiller’s I saw the other day I could not bring myself to
like, either; which I am sorry for, because I am fond of him, and
believe he has talent. But Paris, no doubt, is bad soil.

This page is to be devoted to my thanks for your kind letter, dear Mrs.
Moscheles. You know how much I like London; so your pressing me to come
is doubly kind. But I am sorry to say your letter arrived after I had
decided to give up that pleasure this year. Klingemann will have told
you so; and I need not add how sorry I am. Having, however, made up my
mind to live and labor in Germany whilst I can, I could not refuse the
conductorship of the Rhenish Musical Festival without materially
injuring my position here; and as the Festival is held in June,--by
which time I could not get back,--my favorite scheme has fallen to the
ground. When I may take it up again I cannot say, but I trust it may be
soon. Till then I must give up the extempore Fantasias for two
performers, and the slow prestos, and the sugar-kaleidoscope, and the
“Fall of Paris” knock. To lose all that for the sake of serious business
is horrid; but how to help it?

There is an end of the paper, my dear Moscheles. Kindly accept the
Overtures, and give me your opinion on them. The first has remained
pretty nearly as it was; the two others are much altered. Let me hear
all about your Concerto in C minor soon; I look forward to it with
pleasure and impatience.

I must bid farewell, for to-day, to No. 3 Chester Place. Love to the
children and the whole house.

F. MENDELSSOHN BARTHOLDY.

       *       *       *       *       *

BERLIN, Aug. 13, 1835.

MY DEAR MOSCHELES,--I do not know how to thank you for your kind letter;
it gave me the greatest pleasure, and I should certainly have answered
it sooner; only, I really had neither mood nor leisure to write. You
know my mother was taken very ill in Düsseldorf, and recovered but
slowly, and she could only undertake the journey here with the greatest
caution, I accompanying her. My anxiety, both before the journey and on
the road, was so great that I could not collect my thoughts for
anything, and I did not feel relieved till both parents once more
settled down comfortably at home to their old habits. Now, thank God,
all traces of past fatigues are fast disappearing, and they are so well,
or rather so much better than before, that I breathe freely again.
Anyhow, I should have written to you shortly, but to London; for I had
no idea you were going to Hamburg so soon, and the news of your arrival
quite took me by surprise; but now I should like to know all about your
past and future movements. That you should think of going to St.
Petersburg, I more or less expected, confident as I am that you would be
worshipped there and overwhelmed with kindness. But how long do you mean
to stay? When to start? To be sure, you return to England. And then I
want to hear something of the past; for, capital as your lines about
Aloys Schmidt and Benedict are, there must be something too to say about
new publications by others; and above all I want full particulars of
your own compositions, what pieces you are planning, and how your
concert went off. Do write about it all when you have a leisure hour;
you know what pleasure it gives me. Your last letter I showed my
parents, and they fully appreciated your kind words. My father will add
a few lines to these.

Your description of Aloys Schmidt’s tallow-candle _soirée_ and the
conversation on sevenths was so graphic that I really could smell the
tallow, hear the quartet, taste the green tea, feel the oppressive
dulness,--in fact, it is as if all my senses had had their share in the
proceedings. What you say of Liszt’s harmonies is depressing. I had seen
the thing at Düsseldorf, and put it aside with indifference because it
simply seemed very stupid to me; but if that sort of stuff is noticed,
and even admired, it is really provoking. But is that the case? I cannot
believe that impartial people can take pleasure in discords or be in any
way interested in them: whether a few reporters puff the piece or not,
matters little; their articles will leave no more traces than the
composition. What annoys me is that there is so little to throw into the
other side of the balance; for what our Reissiger & Co. compose, though
different, is just as shallow, and what Heller and Berlioz write is not
music either, and even old Cherubini’s “Ali Baba” is dreadfully poor and
borders on Auber. That is very sad.

But what is the use of grumbling about bad music? As if it could ever
take the lead, even if all the world were to sing it; as if there were
no good music left! All such things, however, make me feel the
obligation of working hard and of exerting myself to put into shape to
the best of my abilities that which I fancy to be music. I do feel
sometimes as if I should never succeed; and to-day I am quite
dissatisfied with my work, and should just like to write my Oratorio
over again from beginning to end. But I am quite decided to bring it out
at Frankfurt next winter, and at the Düsseldorf Musical Festival at
Whitsuntide; so I must finish it now. Besides, I think I have worked too
long at it; at least, I am quite impatient to get to other things, so it
is evidently high time to end. I have got to recopy the whole score, and
make a good many alterations and additions,--rather a heavy piece of
work that often tires me. In the course of the winter I am going to
write a Symphony in A minor, and get my “Walpurgisnacht” ready for
publication.

And what about the next book of “Studies”? I am quite longing for it,
and so are all pianoforte-players. I wish you would let us have it soon.
Don’t you mean to do so? And how about the Sonata for four hands?

You know that I am going to spend next winter in Leipzig to conduct the
Abonnement Concerts. I have only engaged myself from Michaelmas to
Easter. I’m a little afraid of it, and can’t fancy a residence there
agreeable. My plans for next spring, after the Musical Festival, rather
point towards the South than towards England. So I must trust to chance
for bringing us together, and that is perhaps better than all planning
for the future. Good-by.

Yours ever,

FELIX MENDELSSOHN BARTHOLDY.

My address for the present is Berlin; and from next September, Breitkopf
& Härtel, Leipzig. Use it often.

       *       *       *       *       *

At the close of the season Moscheles went to Hamburg with his family,
from which place he announces to Mendelssohn his intention of visiting
Leipzig for the purpose of seeing his mother, who was coming from Prague
to meet him. He also speaks of his intention to give a concert in
Leipzig.

       *       *       *       *       *

LEIPZIG, Sept 5, 1835.

MY DEAR MOSCHELES,--I hope and trust nothing may occur to prevent our
once more spending a few happy days together. Your concert is being
arranged, and so I shall have the twofold pleasure of seeing you and
hearing your more important new works, and I need not tell you how much
I shall enjoy that.

Your search after flowers in the arid regions of modern composition
makes me quite melancholy. It is so disheartening to see how colorless
the heroes of our day are. Sometimes it makes me feel inclined to think
too indulgently of myself; at other times again the very reverse, and I
feel thoroughly discouraged. Who is Mr. Elkamp who is writing a “Saint
Paul”? Have you seen anything of his, and has it any merit or not?

If the Hamburgers look upon your appearance as an _intermezzo_ between
Chopin and Kalkbrenner, let them go to Jericho. I would soon put things
into plain language, and ask them whether they consider the joint an
_intermezzo_ between mixed pickles, hashes, and fish patties, or whether
it is not rather the other way. A comparison of that kind would, I
believe, be most likely to come home to them. Kalkbrenner is the little
fish patty.

Have you heard or seen anything of Lindenau the violinist? The last time
I heard him, in Düsseldorf, I was exceedingly pleased with his playing.
If you meet him, please remember me kindly to him, and ask whether he
would come and play here. Good violinists seem to be scarce, and I
should be glad if he would let us hear him soon. I am not quite clear as
to the state of musical matters here. There seems to be plenty of music
performed; but how much for the love of the thing, remains to be seen.
That is, however, a vast subject, and we must discuss it accordingly,
and rediscuss it, and say wise things about it; and may all that come to
pass soon!

Just now Hauser comes in, and I tell him of my beautiful joke on
Kalkbrenner; but he will have it that K. is more like an indigestible
sausage, and I am to tell you so with his best love. Your kind offer of
services reminds me of a favor you can do me on your way here.
Klingemann wrote me the other day that he had had some money from you
for me, and that you have a balance in my favor from Novello’s payments
for the “Melodies.” If you could let my father have this on your way
through Berlin, you would oblige me. Excuse my troubling you. I must
end, or my letter won’t be in time. Pardon these hurried,
good-for-nothing lines. Be sure you bring all your newest compositions
with you; mind you do, it will be such a treat for me. And now, best
love to wife and children, and good-by. Forget not

Yours,

FELIX MENDELSSOHN BARTHOLDY.

       *       *       *       *       *

On the 1st of October Moscheles arrived in Leipzig; there, as
prearranged, he met his mother. The ten days passed in her company and
in musical and friendly intercourse with Mendelssohn are amongst the
happiest recorded in the diary. On the 2d of October he says: “I passed
the evening with Felix; his friend Schleinitz, a lawyer, came in; he has
a lovely tenor, and sang some of Felix’s songs.[30] Then Felix and I
played my ‘Hommage à Handel’ for two performers; all my Studies he knows
by heart, and he plays them beautifully.”

_October 3._--“Rehearsal for the first Subscription Concert of the
season. Mendelssohn appeared for the first time at the head of the
Leipzig orchestra. He conducted with befitting dignity, exercising
authority without pedantry, and was most cordially seconded by the
members of the orchestra.”

In addition to Moscheles’s diary we have his letters written from
Leipzig to his wife, who, with her children, had remained in Hamburg on
a visit to her relatives.[31] Moscheles writes of meeting “a retiring
but interesting young man, Robert Schumann,” and of “the admirable and
unaffected playing of Clara Wieck,” afterwards Madame Schumann. He shows
us Mendelssohn’s study, with “the bookcase,--a perfect storehouse of
musical scores;” the writing-table, on which he notices the silver
inkstand presented to Mendelssohn by the Philharmonic Society; the
engravings on the wall; a delightful litter of scores and other music on
the piano; “still,” he says, “cleanliness and neatness prevailing
everywhere.” Then again we follow the two friends to the keyboard of the
Erard, which stands in the middle of the room. They play, together and
alternately, their latest compositions: some “Songs without Words,”
Moscheles’s Concertos (Fantastique and Pathétique), and Mendelssohn’s
Overture, “Calm Sea and Prosperous Voyage.” “Last night,” says
Moscheles, “we played my Overture and his Octet together; it went
swimmingly, and when we parted he lent me his cloak, for fear I should
catch cold after so many hot notes. This morning he was rewarded with an
extra piece of that cake my mother brought from Prague for us.”

The above-mentioned cake, originally intended for the expectant family
in Hamburg, was destined to be sacrificed to the appetites of a small
party of belated travellers. Moscheles, Mendelssohn, and his sister
Madame Dirichlet with her family, had travelled together from Leipzig to
Berlin, and on arriving at half-past one o’clock in the morning they had
found the Mendelssohn house in deep slumbers and the larder closed; it
was there the cake met its pleasant fate. “Pleasanter still,” says
Moscheles, “was the awaking next morning. The meeting with the
Mendelssohn family was quite touching; we embraced all round, and
Felix’s happiness and overflowing spirits were quite childlike. As for
myself, I was received as affectionately as if I belonged to the
family.”

Though at first reluctant to delay his return to Hamburg, Moscheles
finally yielded to the kindly pressure of his friends and remained with
them.

Of his concert Moscheles wrote a glowing account; Mendelssohn indorses
it in the following letter:--

       *       *       *       *       *

LEIPZIG, Oct. 11, 1835.

I cannot forego the pleasure, dear Mrs. Moscheles, of sending you an
account of the events of the last two days, although necessarily a short
one, as I am beset by professional and non-professional visitors. It has
really been too delightful, and such a pity you were not here to enjoy
the treat Moscheles gave us all. Those two days were indeed thoroughly
musical ones, with everybody full of excitement and genuine enthusiasm.

Let me begin with the concert of the day before yesterday; you know the
programme, and you also know how Moscheles plays. Well, then, directly
after his “Concerto Fantastique” the shouts of applause began, and the
noise lasted throughout the evening, and continued at yesterday’s
rehearsal, so that this evening’s concert promises to be one of the most
glorious, the Leipzig people being half crazed. Besides, you know, the
room was the most crowded we have had for years; but what pleased me
most was the intense interest and delight which pervaded the audience.

When we got to the end of our duet,--and it did go well, I assure
you,--the most deafening acclamations broke forth, so that we played the
last eight or ten bars without anybody, not even ourselves, being able
to hear whether we did it correctly; nor did they leave off clapping and
cheering till they had us out again, to perform a second duet--of
graceful bows. And now you may fancy how madly they went on after
Moscheles’s “extempore playing.” It is true he produced some things
bordering on witchcraft, which to this day I have not been able to
understand, although he pretends they were nothing; but it was quite
delightful to see how excited and appreciative the audience were. An
English lady, rather blue, wanted to be introduced, and gave vent to
her enthusiasm, whilst a score of Leipzig ladies of all colors waited
for her to make room. (And here is the proper place to inform you that
Moscheles was struck on two separate occasions by the beauty of a
Leipzig lady, and each time informed me of the fact, in a discreet
whisper; whereupon I threatened to let you know, which I hereby do.)
Well, then, the Leipzig ladies came to the balustrade of the orchestra,
and Moscheles made them a bow; then came the dignitaries of this place;
then one or other of the art critics, who gave detailed reasons for
their praise; and lastly the committee of our concerts (consisting of
twelve gentlemen--not one lady), to beg that they might hear the
Overture to “Joan of Arc” once more at this evening’s concert. A work of
that kind has too many novel and striking points to be at once
understood by band and audience, so that we look forward with delight to
its repetition to-day. They have now played it four days in succession,
and it will go to perfection; even at yesterday’s rehearsal it seemed
like a new piece, and fresh beauties were brought out. The duet, too,
has to be repeated _by desire_; and as Moscheles had already promised to
play his Concerto in G minor (“Blue Devils”),[32] we shall, I think,
have a splendid night of it.

Let me just add that at yesterday’s rehearsal Moscheles played his
Concerto in a more masterly manner than I believe I have ever heard him
play before, which is saying a great deal; the unanimous applause which
followed must have given him some pleasure. It was the last piece of the
rehearsal; the Overture had been played beautifully, and now we all--the
unoccupied--formed a large circle around him. Mademoiselle Grabau, our
_prima donna_, turned over the pages, the other singers standing close
by; a Kammerherr,[33] who had expressly come from a distant place in the
country, and who fancied himself a good pianist, kept his eyes fixed on
Moscheles’s fingers; the band exerted itself to the utmost, and
Moscheles played quite wonderfully and delighted everybody. I only wish
you and he could have seen the smiles and nods of the band and the
audience, their secret looks of astonishment, and the unutterable
surprise of the Kammerherr. Accustomed as Moscheles is to such
demonstrations, he must have been struck by this outburst. As to myself,
I cannot sufficiently tell you how I am enjoying his visit. Alas! it is
coming to an end, as he is returning to you the day after to-morrow; but
it was a happy time, long to be remembered, and always with delight.

I am again interrupted, and I expect Moscheles in an hour to take me to
his mother’s, where I am to play; so I am obliged to conclude, leaving
him to give you verbally all the Leipzig news, which I should have
preferred to do myself in this letter, if the Hamburg mail didn’t leave
at ten o’clock.

Ever yours,

FELIX MENDELSSOHN BARTHOLDY.

       *       *       *       *       *

Mendelssohn again writes to Mrs. Moscheles:--

       *       *       *       *       *

If you want to be angry with Moscheles for giving us another day, you
must be angry with all the inmates of the Leipzigerstrasse No. 3; for
they are all at fault. He wanted to proceed at once, although he only
arrived last night, or rather this morning at half-past one o’clock; but
we all bent the knee of persuasion, in addition to which the police
would not deliver his passport. Then, again, you will have him in
Hamburg, Holland, and London, whereas we shall have to part to-morrow,
probably for a long time. In a word, I for one begged and prayed to my
heart’s content; put yourself in my place, you would have done the same.
Moscheles, on his return, will give you all our cordial messages; it is
post-time. I close, and trust you will not frown on

Yours sincerely,

FELIX MENDELSSOHN BARTHOLDY.

       *       *       *       *       *

Moscheles remained three days with the Mendelssohns. To none did he give
greater pleasure than to the elder Mendelssohn, who, afflicted as he was
with partial blindness, derived the keenest enjoyment from music. On the
last evening of

[Illustration: 17. Fac-simile of Diploma given to Mendelssohn by the
University of Leipzig. March 20, 1836.]

Moscheles’s stay, he and Mendelssohn were improvising together; as the
hour of departure approaches, the latter suddenly breaks in with the
familiar bugle-call of the post-chaise. Moscheles answers with a solemn
valedictory Andante; again he is interrupted by the warning notes of the
bugle, and pressing forward, the two performers end with a _brillant_
Finale. These days were amongst the last that Mendelssohn’s father was
destined to enjoy. A heavy blow was in store for the Mendelssohn family
and the wide circle of their friends. Abraham Mendelssohn died quite
suddenly on the 19th of November.

       *       *       *       *       *

BERLIN, Nov. 25, 1835.

MY DEAR FRIEND,--We have lost my father. He breathed his last tranquilly
and peacefully on the 19th, in the morning, at half-past ten o’clock. He
had long since wished it might be so, and God has heard him. May He give
us strength to live on without him, and bear up under a loss we can
scarcely realize! My mother and sisters are well; my mother an example
to all, looking at the future with courage and fortitude. It was owing
to you that I saw my father the last time, and for that I thank you. The
remembrance of those two happy days is like a blessing that I shall
carry through life. You knew him, and can judge how, with him, light and
happiness have gone from me. I will strive to live as he would have
wished me to live, had he been amongst us. To your wife my father was
always sincerely attached, and grateful for all her kindness to him and
to us all. She, too, has lost a friend, and so have all those who knew
him well.

I must return to Leipzig in a few days, and do my best to get through my
duties there.

Good-by.

Yours,

F. MENDELSSOHN BARTHOLDY.

       *       *       *       *       *

On his return to Leipzig he resumed his work with untiring energy; on
the 22d of May of the following year (1836) he conducted the first
performance of his Oratorio, “Saint Paul,” at the Düsseldorf Festival;
he next went to Frankfurt to take the direction of the Saint Cecilia
Choir, in place of his friend Schelble, who was incapacitated through
illness. Here he first met that other Cecilia who was henceforth to
become his guiding star, and who was eventually to exchange her name for
his. They were engaged on the 9th of September, Mendelssohn’s mother
communicating the welcome news to the Moscheles family.

       *       *       *       *       *

FRANKFURT, July 20, 1836.

MY DEAR FRIEND,--It is an age since I wrote to you last; but it was a
monotonous age, and I was not in a mood to write about it or anything
else. Besides, you know that however much time passes without your
hearing from me, there is not a day that does not in some way or other
bring me nearer to you or remind me of your friendship, your work, and
your life so beneficial to us all. I have not yet thanked you for that
good kind letter of yours which reached me through Klingemann at the
Music Festival, with your congratulations on its success. How the
Oratorio went off you have heard long ago. There was much that pleased
me at the performance, and much that dissatisfied me; and even now I am
at work on certain parts of the pianoforte arrangement, which is to
appear shortly, and on the orchestral score, so much is there that
completely fails to express my idea,--in fact, does not even come near
it. You have often advised me not to alter so much, and I am quite aware
of the disadvantages of so doing; but if, on the one hand, I have been
fortunate enough to render my idea in some parts of my work, and have no
desire to change those, I cannot help striving, on the other hand, to
render my idea in other parts, and, if possible, throughout.

But the task begins to weigh heavily upon me, as I am gradually more and
more attracted by other work, and I wish I could look back upon the
Oratorio as finally completed. Well, I hope in two months, at the
outside, to send you the P. F. arrangement. But where will you be then?
What a thing it is to be separated by land and sea! I hear a great deal
about you and your work through people coming from London, and I read
about it in the musical papers; besides, you write occasionally, and so
does Klingemann; but if I compare all that with our meeting in Leipzig,
or with those days in England, when it was a matter of course that I
should know how you spent every morning and afternoon, then
letter-writing does appear a very poor substitute. I suppose you will be
going to the seaside on the English coast. I, too, am ordered
sea-bathing, and shall have to swallow the bitter pill of a regular
cure, and go in about a fortnight to Scheveningen, or rather to the
Hague, where I can live quietly away from the bathing community, and
drive out every morning to the sea for my ablutions. In the first days
of September, when the Subscription Concerts begin, I must be back in
Leipzig.

I wish I could finish a few Symphonies and that sort of thing in the
course of the year, and more still I long to write an Opera; but of that
I am afraid there is not the least prospect. I am looking in vain
throughout all Germany and elsewhere for some one to help me realize
this and other musical plans, and I despair of finding him. It is really
absurd to think that in all Germany one should not be able to meet with
a man who knows the stage and writes tolerable verses; and yet I
positively believe there is none to be found. Altogether, this is a
queer country. Much as I love it, I hate it in certain respects. Look at
the musical men of this place, for instance; their doings are quite
shameful. Considering the size and importance of the town, there is
really a fair muster of excellent musicians, men of reputation and
talent, who might do good work, and who, one would think, would do it
willingly; so far that is the good side of Germany, but the fact is,
they do nothing, and it were better they did not live together, and
grumble, and complain, or brood over their grievances till it’s enough
to give one the blues. Ries is by this time in England, I suppose; he
considers he does not meet with due appreciation, and finds fault with
the musicians, and yet does nothing to improve them. Aloys Schmidt takes
his ease in the country, sighs over mankind in general,--a poor race at
the best, full of envy and malice,--forgetting all the while that he,
too, belongs to it. Hiller is here just now. People discuss wildly
whether he is a great pianoforte-player or not, but they don’t go to
hear him, and fancy that makes their judgment all the more impartial; so
he, too, is leaving for Italy. The only man who succeeds is Guhr, who
knows least and isn’t good for much; but he has a will of his own, and
enforces it _bon gré, mal gré_, and the whole town lives in fear of him.
But all that is bad, and the German Diet should interfere; for where so
many musicians congregate in one place, they ought to be forced by the
authorities to give us the benefit of a little music, and not only their
philosophical views about it.

What have you been composing, and what are your plans for the autumn? I
am anxious, too, to know how you have treated your scoring of the Bach
Concerto. Taubert has, I suppose, been drowned in the whirl of pianists,
and was little noticed. It could scarcely have been otherwise; I always
thought he had not much talent. Thalberg, whom you portray so admirably,
I should like to hear again; he must have developed wonderfully.

And do you know that my Oratorio is to be published in London, at
Novello’s, and that his letter about it dropped from the skies into my
hands the other day? And do you know, also, that Rossini, with Pixis,
Francilla, the Swedish composer Lindblad, and the Polish straw-fiddler
Gusikow, have all been through Frankfurt? But I must leave off writing
and chatting. Good-by; best love to wife and children, and don’t forget

Yours,

F. MENDELSSOHN BARTHOLDY.

       *       *       *       *       *

On the 14th of August Moscheles writes:--

       *       *       *       *       *

MY DEAR FELIX,--You ask me about my scoring of the Bach Concerto. Well,
it seemed to me that one might give it a kind of new varnish, by doing
for it what Mozart had done with such perfect taste for the “Messiah,”
when he added wind-instruments to the score. Only, fully aware as I was
of the poverty of my pen as compared with that of the master, I
naturally hesitated. If now, however, I have followed the great example
before me, the worst that can be said of me is that I am but a poor
imitator; and consoling myself with that reflection, I wrote Parts for
one Flute, two Clarinets, two Bassoons, and two Corni. I mainly intended
this wind-accompaniment to take the same position in the Concerto which
is taken by the organ in the performance of a Mass.

Hauser kept his promise very punctually, and sent me two more of Bach’s
Concertos,--one for three, and one for two pianofortes. I will shortly
let you know what I already possess of Bach’s concert-music; perhaps you
can help me to complete my collection. My thirst for more of his work is
simply unquenchable.

Of the pianoforte-players, Thalberg is really the most interesting.
Sound and genuine in his style of playing, he does not seem to seek
after effect, however much he may do so in reality. In his combinations,
capricious and fantasia-like as they are, all follows and develops
itself so naturally that one easily overlooks the lack of unity and a
certain Italian mannerism. In 1826 I gave him some instruction; and at
that time already I became aware that he would little need me to do
great things,--_sans comparaison_, like a certain Berlin youth, who soon
threw aside all leading-strings, and donned the purple.

I find that at my age my fingers require to practise most carefully the
exercises of former years, in order to keep pace with the times. I can
manage to preserve them pliable and elastic, but I cannot make them any
longer than they are; and that is just the road that modern pianists,
like Chopin, Thalberg, etc., have taken, in order to develop their
technique. To play your music, I have also to stretch my fingers to the
fullest extent; but there they obey more naturally, because the
mechanical construction of your passages is of secondary importance, as
compared to the spirit which dictates them.

       *       *       *       *       *

Moscheles, in thanking Mendelssohn for his last letter, says:--

       *       *       *       *       *

“It is with so much pleasure I see your handwriting, your ideas and
views have so much charm for me (although I occasionally think they may
yet ripen to full maturity), I so fully recognize your genius, and am
personally so much attached to you, that the word ‘friendship’ but
inadequately expresses my feelings. Similarly, it is a source of
happiness to me to know that your thoughts are often with me, aware, as
I am, how constantly you are surrounded by an admiring circle of
friends.”

       *       *       *       *       *

In reference to the preparations for a performance of “Saint Paul” in
England, he says:--

       *       *       *       *       *

“I am glad to find that all promises well for your Oratorio in England.
Novello, Sir George Smart, and the whole profession are looking forward
to its production with sympathy and interest. Like Hercules, you have
throttled Envy while still in the cradle.

“Klingemann, Smart, and Novello are busy directing Mr. Ball, the
translator. I have offered to correct the proofs, but have not yet
received them.”

       *       *       *       *       *

SPEIER, April 6, 1837.

MY DEAR FRIEND,--Forgive my not having written for so long; the fact
that it is a week since I was married, and that this is my first letter
to a friend, must be my excuse. I need not tell you, and could not, if I
tried, how the events of last year have added new prospects of happiness
to my life, how all that is good has become doubly dear to me, all that
is bad easier to put up with, how happy were the last months, how
heavenly the last days! Looking back to the past and planning for the
future, my thoughts have often reverted to you in friendship and
affection, and to the happy hours spent with you. Believe me, I am truly
grateful to you and your wife, and can never forget how many kindnesses
you have at all times heaped on me. I have heard about you, both from
Schumann and Bennett, but more particularly from Klingemann, who in his
last letter describes some of your _soirées_, and your playing of
Scarlatti, Handel, and Bach. It must have been delightful and what is
more delightful still, he drops a word about new “Studies” that you are
going to play on one of these evenings. So you have at last written
some; you cannot fancy how impatient I am to get them, what a treat it
will be to me, and how refreshing to have something new to study. For
really the piano music of the present day is such that I cannot make up
my mind to play it through more than once; it is so desperately empty
and poor that I usually get tired of it on the first page. I positively
dislike Thalberg’s work as regards the composition; and the good piano
passages seem to me of no earthly use, so little soul is there in them.
I could no more play his music than I could ever make up my mind to play
a note of Kalkbrenner’s; it goes against my nature, and I should feel
mean if I attempted such fingerwork with a serious face. Chopin’s new
things, too, I don’t quite like, and that is provoking. So, you see, it
is doubly pleasant to think of the old “Studies” and to look forward to
new ones. When shall we have them, and will there be more than one book?

Your wife, I suppose, I had better not address, for I am sure she is
dreadfully angry; and, to say the truth, I am rather afraid of her.
Nevertheless I do address her, for I want to speak of _my_ wife, and say
I hope she will not visit my sins upon her; on the contrary, she must be
ready to like her and to love her a little when she becomes acquainted
with her; and truly my dear Cécile deserves it, and I think I need not
make any appeal to your wife, but simply introduce her and say, “This
is Cécile,”--the rest will follow naturally. And do you know, it is
quite possible I may bring her to you soon. I have had an invitation
from Birmingham to conduct my “Saint Paul” at the Festival, and feel
much inclined to accept. If I come, it may be in the autumn, or perhaps
sooner, about the middle of August. But shall you be in England then?
That is usually the time when you are away; it would be too great a pity
if we weren’t to meet. I cannot ask you to let me know about your
plans,--for such a correspondent as I am can beg for pardon, but not for
an answer; so send me word through Klingemann. But if you have leisure,
and are disposed to treat me to a few lines, please address, all through
the summer, care of M. T. Herz, Frankfurt.

If we meet this year, as I do hope we shall, I shall have several new
things to show you. I have worked a good deal lately, and mean to be
still more industrious. I shall send your wife a new book of Songs which
is to appear in a few days, as soon as I get it.

And now good-by, my dear, dear friend; best love to your wife, and to
the children if they haven’t forgotten me and the carnations. If you see
Klingemann tell him that I will shortly write to him, perhaps from
Strassburg, where I am going to-morrow, from there to Freiburg and Bâle,
and so back to Frankfurt. And now that I must end, I feel as if
everything yet remained to be said. Forget not

Yours,

F. MENDELSSOHN BARTHOLDY.

       *       *       *       *       *

In September of this year Mendelssohn went to Birmingham, where he
conducted the Festival. To their mutual regret Mendelssohn and Moscheles
did not meet in England on that occasion, as the latter had left London
for Germany at the close of the season.

       *       *       *       *       *

LEIPZIG, Dec. 12, 1837.

MY DEAR MOSCHELES,--I cannot say I feel much of a correspondent to-day,
so engrossed am I with the new life around and within me. This year,
with all it has brought me, has been the happiest of my existence, and I
daily appreciate the blessings it has bestowed. For the last week I have
been installed with my Cécile in our own new quarters, everything has
been made neat and comfortable, we have already had eight Subscription
Concerts, and a performance of the Messiah in the Church, and I have a
variety of work in my head and some on paper. So, you see, my
occupations are much the same as usual, and the pressure from without at
times greater. And yet nothing now upsets or troubles me, because my
home is so happy and peaceful. So I trust you will forgive my long
silence, if you ever resented it.

Of late I have spent some of my happiest hours with your new “Studies,”
the first proofs of which Kistner sent me. I had already got the
engraver to send me whatever he could just spare, a sheet at a time;
that gave me but a very superficial acquaintance with them, but I was
too impatient to wait. Now I have had to return my copy, after
correcting a number of mistakes, to Kistner, who is over-anxious about
the work, and still delays its ultimate appearance. However, I have had
the whole thing in my hands for a day, and have enjoyed it thoroughly;
as soon as I have a copy to myself, I intend practising my piano
properly, and mastering the Studies, for it is a long time since I had
any piano music I wanted to play over and over again; so you can fancy
how I enjoy something new, to which I can give my whole heart.

I cannot go into details, not having a copy before me; but this much I
know, that my greatest favorites begin at “Contradiction.” The whole
piece in D flat major is so bright, and towards the end positively makes
me laugh when it goes into D major and the whole story is repeated first
in D major and then in D flat minor. And then the last bar _fff_ is
glorious. Quite your own self is that tender one in G major, just as if
I heard you talk and play. But my greatest favorite is the “Nursery
Tale,” so graceful and sprightly; above all, I like the part where the
deep bass notes double the melody, as if a big bassoon or some other
growler of an instrument came in; and then the first transition to B
major and the return to E flat and the very last bars _leggiero_,--all
that has fixed itself once for all in my mind. How very much I like the
“Bacchanali,” “Terpsichore,” and in fact all of them, you can imagine. I
am particularly struck by the difference between these and your former
Studies;--not that I love the old ones less, but the new ones are for
quite a different class of players, far in advance of the former; here
the technical difficulties have become of secondary importance, and the
intrinsic merits of the work have to be brought out. Once more a
thousand thanks, and may you give us many more of the same kind!

Did you hear anything good in the musical line during your stay in
Hamburg last summer? Our concerts led to my becoming acquainted with
some of the musical men there, but they were not much to speak of. In
fact, there is a lack of good new musical productions everywhere, and
that tells on our concerts here.

This winter Clara Novello is giving us a fresh start, the public
cordially greeting her as a new and most welcome acquisition. She makes
_la pluie et le beau temps_. But where are we to get a new Symphony
from? May I address your wife quite at the bottom of this page, and
write down a Song for her?

       *       *       *       *       *

DEC. 12, 1837.

DEAR MRS. MOSCHELES,--Though I don’t know whether you still care for me
or my Songs, yet,

[Illustration: musical notation

18. “Im Kahn.” Fac-simile from Letter of Dec. 12, 1837. (See page
163.)]

from old habit, I have written this one down for you, whether you sing
it or not; but I do wish you would. What a pity we missed each other
this time in England! I could not get it into my head that we were
really not to meet; and yet, with every day of my stay in London, the
fact was painfully evident. My wife wishes to write herself to thank you
for your kind words. It was dreadful to have to leave her in Germany. It
would have been my greatest joy to show her England properly; but so
much is certain, I have made up my mind not to leave her again at
Düsseldorf when I have to go to Rotterdam. It was too abominable.

I have only this corner left to bid you good-by, and to beg for a sign
of life and friendship when your time permits.[34] May we soon have a
happy meeting!

Yours,

FELIX MENDELSSOHN BARTHOLDY.

       *       *       *       *       *

On the 23d of December Moscheles writes:--

       *       *       *       *       *

Your letter of the 12th broke in on me like a ray of sunshine piercing
an autumn fog. Were I subject to the blues, like so many sufferers in
this fog-ridden city, your cheerful lines would have set me up for any
length of time.

Your appreciation of my “Studies” gives me much pleasure. I did not feel
called upon to aim at popularity with the general public, nor did I
venture to believe that my work addressed itself to the more restricted
circle of connoisseurs. That you, of all the Select, should welcome me
with a Bravo, strengthens my faith in myself. Delighted I am, too, to
find that you, with your master eye, should at once have hit on the
passages that seem to me my more successful inspirations.

We cannot get over our regrets to have missed you in London and
Birmingham; your triumphs in the latter place are being echoed all over
England. Your “Saint Paul,” your pianoforte Concerto, and your
performances on the organ, one and all, are unreservedly praised. I am
glad to see that your Oratorio is announced by the Sacred Harmonic
Society as “the popular Oratorio.” We so-called Directors of the
Philharmonic Society are thirsting for something new in the line of
Symphonies or Overtures. It is as hopeless a task to satisfy the wishes
of the Society as it was in times gone by for the Danaïdes to fill their
tub. Some would have us supply them with half a dozen posthumous
Symphonies of Beethoven, complete or fragmentary; others want a place
found on the programme for every attempt at composition made by native
talent.

You have promised us your A major Symphony in its new shape, and we mean
to keep you to your word, and hope you will not let us wait long. It is
a great favorite of mine, and I feel as if I were going to meet a
beautiful girl in a new dress, and were wondering whether that would
make me admire her more than before. _Nous verrons, nous entendrons._
In the mean while I hold in safe keeping my Beauty attired as I first
knew her (the original score), and remain faithful to her.

Liszt writes from Milan that several of his compositions are to be
published in London, and that he intends dedicating one of them to me.
May my fingers grow by then! He wishes to become better known in this
country, as he proposes coming here shortly.

The “Gazette Musicale” exalts Berlioz’s Requiem above all music of all
times. A new vista, it says, is opened! You know I am not a believer in
this genius; tell me whether anything of his has been to your taste.
Good-by; if my letter is welcome, reward me by soon letting me have one
in return.

Ever your friend,

I. MOSCHELES.

       *       *       *       *       *

BERLIN, June 26, 1838.

MY DEAR FRIEND,--I want your advice. You know that five years ago Erard
presented me with one of his grand pianos. I took it first to Berlin,
then to Düsseldorf, and lastly to Leipzig. Owing to such frequent
shiftings, and possibly to some bad treatment, it is not fit for use in
public, and not even to be depended on at home. In answer to my inquiry
Erard suggests that I should send it to England to be repaired. I have
ascertained that the Saxon Custom-house would allow it to be returned
free of duty. Erard, on his side, has obtained the same leave in
England; but the carriage there and back would come to a hundred and
thirty odd thalers, and as that is about half what a new piano would
cost me here, the question arises, Can I really expect a substantial
improvement from the repairs? Give me your candid opinion on this.

You know I shall have to play in public occasionally in the course of
the winter; and for that purpose, as well as for music at home, I want
an instrument with a perfectly even and precise touch, responding freely
and fully to my wants and wishes. The tone has retained its original
power and beauty, and I should indeed be happy if the defective parts of
the mechanism could be repaired. That, you see, is just the question;
and as I am sure that similar cases must have come under your notice, I
write to you for advice. If it could be done, I should think no
sacrifice too great to preserve an instrument with such a splendid tone.
As it is, however, I cannot use it at all; and last winter I had to play
on borrowed pianos,--and very poor ones too. I ought to apologize for
troubling you; but you alone know exactly what I desire and expect to
find in a piano, and so to your judgment I appeal.

I suppose you know, through Hensel, that we are staying at my mother’s,
and are spending delightful days with her and my sisters. I cannot say
that my visit to Cologne was quite pleasant this time. You see I have
lost the taste for anything I cannot share with my wife. I get to feel
so restless and impatient that I am always calculating the day and hour
of my return, and can think of nothing else.

We shall go back to Leipzig in August. And you,--where are you going
this summer? When shall we see you in Germany? All those who like good
music are longing for you. And what are you composing? I am working on a
Symphony in B flat.[35] I have gone forward a step since last year, and
could I but have the benefit of your opinion on my work occasionally, I
should get along more rapidly. I have composed a few new Quartets for
string instruments, a Sonata with violin and one with violoncello,
besides a few trifles not published in England that I am waiting for an
opportunity to send you.

Good-by, and best love to you all. I do hope the day may not be too far
distant when I can introduce my Cécile to your wife. Pray tell her so.
Fanny and I are making much music together; the day after to-morrow we
are going to do my new Psalm in E flat. Her playing is more masterly
than ever. Good-by once more, my dear friend, and may we soon meet
again.

Yours,

FELIX MENDELSSOHN BARTHOLDY.

       *       *       *       *       *

Moscheles and his wife communicated on the subject of the piano with Mr.
Erard, who at once expressed his readiness to present Mendelssohn with a
new instrument. Writing to Mendelssohn on the subject, Moscheles says:--

       *       *       *       *       *

“I shall choose an instrument for you myself, not omitting to bear in
mind your favorite _arpeggio_ passages, through which the melody seems
to push its way. In other words, I shall test the piano with this
passage from your Concerto,--

[Illustration: musical notation]

       *       *       *       *       *

BERLIN, July 11, 1838.

MY DEAR FRIEND,--I enclose the certificate for Mr. Hogarth, addressed to
you as you desire; also a few lines to him, which please forward with
the enclosure when you have obliged me by reading and revising it and
putting it into good English. I am afraid my English is very rusty; and
as with you, such certificates are very frequently printed and
published, I would rather no blunders were allowed to go forth to the
world. So please turn them out one and all. I not only request you, but
I hereby authorize you, to correct and to alter any and every thing, and
to endow me with the right ideas expressed in an elegant style. “From,”
“by,” “while,” have become so many unknown quantities to me; and I feel
as nervous when I meet with them as I always do in the presence of
distinguished strangers. Nor do I know whether I have said too little or
too much. In the first case, put a few sforzandos; if it is the other
way, soften a little. In fact, lend me a helping hand, as you have so
often done before. Let us hope that, after all that, Mr. Hogarth’s
purpose may be served. How much I am indebted to you for the great
service you have done me about the piano! But can I really accept it
without further ceremony? I can’t help feeling a doubt, though on the
other hand I have the greatest desire to do so, as I am sadly in want of
a good instrument. Would it not be meeting the difficulty half-way if I
sent my piano to be repaired? For, after all, it might be possible to
put it into good condition; and that would be to our mutual advantage.
If the result was unsatisfactory I might still accept the kind offer of
a new one. How would that do, my dear Moscheles? To be sure, I should
rely on your judgment as to the completeness of the result. Or do you
think I should simply accept the new one, taking Erard at his
word,--such as I have it from Mrs. Moscheles,--and refer to her letter,
in writing to him about it? Somehow or other I don’t seem to find the
right way of putting it to him; so I am just waiting till I hear from
you. You know you are my helper and adviser; may you never get tired of
the office!

So you are going to remain in England all through the summer. What a
pity that it was last year, not this, that I had to be there! When I do
not find you at home, it seems just as if I had not been to London at
all.

I am surprised to hear of Döhler’s being lionized. His playing only
interested me the first time; afterwards he seemed to me very cold and
calculating, and rather dull. What very different stuff Liszt and Chopin
are made of! Why has Chopin never been to England? He has more soul in
his little finger than all Döhler has from top to toe,--at least so it
seemed to me. And Spontini!--do tell me all about him. I should so like
to see what figure he cuts in London. Does he listen to music properly?
Does he sometimes play himself, or does he there too give himself the
airs of a big idol who may now and then devour a musician, but otherwise
never moves a muscle? And does he deck himself out with all his
decorations? How was Bennett’s new Concerto, of which he writes to me,
received at the Philharmonic? And how did Mrs. Shaw sing? You know she
is coming to Leipzig this year; just give me a line or two about her.
Miss Novello has had a marvellous success here. And now good-by.

Yours ever,

FELIX MENDELSSOHN BARTHOLDY.

       *       *       *       *       *

Moscheles writes:--

       *       *       *       *       *

“Bennett’s F minor Concerto is an excellent piece of work, and was
received very warmly at the Philharmonic; that he has taken you for his
model is, however, evident throughout. I have also made acquaintance
with Henselt’s Studies, and find them very interesting and useful,
although in style and form not varied enough. Anyhow, I prefer even the
romantic sighs of love-warbling composers to the aggressive audacity of
those torturers of harmony who would take the universe by storm.
Chopin’s Studies have much charm for me, although there is a good deal
in them that appears unscholarlike to me. I like the new set better than
the former ones; so far I have never had an opportunity of hearing him
play.”

       *       *       *       *       *

LEIPZIG, Oct. 28, 1838.

MY DEAR FRIEND,--Bennett brought me your very kind letter last week. A
thousand thanks for it; a thousand thanks, too, for always being so true
a friend, and occasionally telling me so. A letter from you fortifies me
for weeks; and what you write about yourself and others is so much to
the point, so absolutely yourself, that I can almost hear you talking,
and myself saying how right you are, and how much I like listening to
you. Were I but a little milder, and a little more impartial, and a
little cleverer, and a little more of a good many other things, I might
also have as clear a judgment as you; but I am so easily put out, and I
get so impatient, where you appreciate what is good for its own sake,
and look on what is bad as capable of improvement.

I am so glad to hear you are at work, and of all things composing a
Concerto. What key is it in? What form? How difficult? When shall we get
it? Tell me all about it. Have you composed anything lately; and if so,
what? As for me, those troublesome measles have quite thrown me back, as
you thought they would. Even now, my eyes are not quite the thing, and I
am still so sensitive that the least exertion knocks me up. With all
that, my room-door is always on the move, like a toll-bar or a baker’s
door; and three weeks’ enforced captivity and idleness have put
everything into such confusion that I do not see my way out of all the
work that has accumulated. I had intended publishing several things at
this time, instead of which here I am correcting parts, marking tempos,
and attending to the long list of _odiosa_ that are always sure to take
a dire revenge on the man who dares neglect them. I have written three
new violin Quartets that I wish I could show you, because I am pleased
with them myself, and should so like to have your opinion. A new
Symphony, too, I hope to finish soon. My Serenade, and the other
pianoforte piece in B minor,[36] you will perhaps come across; if so,
you must be indulgent, and look at them through those friendly
spectacles of yours.

And now I have an urgent request in reference to my piano. You ask how I
am satisfied with it; and beyond that question I have heard nothing
whatever of it since it left Hamburg. I wrote to Erard, thanking him for
his kind intention, as communicated by you, and saying how pleased I was
at the prospect of having a new piano. The old one left Hamburg on the
10th of August, but I have not yet had a line from Erard, no notice of
its arrival,--in fact, nothing. I should be much obliged if you would
let me know by return of post how matters stand,--whether I shall get
the old one back or a new one, when it is to leave London, and so on.
Meanwhile I have to make shift with a miserable old thing that goes out
on hire, and tough work it is.

We have quite an English congress here just now. Mrs. Shaw has made many
friends by her beautiful singing, and the public is looking forward with
great interest to Bennett’s new things. Clara Novello has been here too,
and gave a concert which was well attended. On this occasion all manner
of artistic rivalries and petty bickerings came to light, that would
much better have remained in the dark. No, really, when these dear
musicians begin to abuse one another, and to indulge in invective and
backbiting, I could forswear all music, or rather all musicians. It does
make me feel just like a cobbler; and yet it seems to be the fashion. I
used to think it was only the way with the hacks of the profession; but
the others are no better, and it takes a decent fellow with decent
principles to resist the pernicious influence. Well, on the other hand,
all this serves to show up what is good; and, by way of contrast, one
doubly appreciates good art, good artists, letters from you, and--after
all, this world of ours is not so bad.

Farewell, my dear friend; love from me and my wife to yours. How I wish
we could soon be all together! Love to the children too.

Ever yours,

FELIX MENDELSSOHN BARTHOLDY.

       *       *       *       *       *

Moscheles, in speaking of a “Concerto Pastorale” which he is composing,
says:--

       *       *       *       *       *

“You can fancy how careful I had to be lest I should run my humble craft
on to that mighty rock, the ‘Sinfonia Pastorale,’ and be dashed to
pieces. But you know there are buildings of various dimensions; and if
you cannot erect churches, you must be content to build chapels. So I
made the venture.

“In my Concerto, the movements are as follows: the Andantino con moto,
3-8 time, is descriptive of holiday-making and rural festivity. The
whole village is rejoicing; all, from the farmer to the laborer, have
donned their Sunday attire. Next comes an Allegretto in F major, 2-4
time. The rustic piper fills the air with joyous strains; the village
beauty and her swain are rapt in dreams of coming bliss. After that, the
Adagio. The church bells are calling the congregation to their
devotions, and the bride and bridegroom to the fulfilment of their
wishes. The ceremony is over, their destinies are linked, and they are
greeted by the distant echoes of the Allegretto. It grows livelier as it
bursts forth in D major, inviting to harmless merrymaking. Finally, a
whirlwind of octaves sets lads and lasses skipping and dancing in
boisterous glee. The newly married couple go through a dance of honor
with due decorum, and the rural _fête_ is brought to a happy close.”

       *       *       *       *       *

DEC. 10, 1838.

A thousand thanks, my dear friend, for your kind letter and all the
trouble you have taken about the piano,--in fact, for all the love and
kindness you always show me. To you alone I am indebted for that
instrument, or rather you and your wife, who put the matter before Erard
with so much tact and diplomacy; and it is only now, since I enjoy the
happiness of playing on an instrument so full and rich in tone, that I
realize how hard I should have found it to accustom myself to any other.
So you see, my dear friend, how much I am in your debt. It is just as
usual. “Thank you,” is all I can say; but you know how much more I feel.

But now to the most important part of your letter,--that which refers to
Weimar. Upon my word, it is not an easy matter to give you a proper
answer to your questions. When I think of your life in London, your
independent position at the head of the musical profession, and your
never-ceasing activity in public, and then again of Weimar, with its
petty Court, and its still pettier “Hofmarschall” and “Intendanz” that
superintend nothing,--when I think of the littleness that pervades
everything, it would be madness to advise you to go. When I remember, on
the other hand, your telling me that you had never wished to remain all
your life in England, but rather to return to your own country and
devote yourself to your art and your friends (and I believe that in your
place I should feel as you do); and when I take into account that in
Germany one town is about as good as another,--all small but
sociable,--that the appointment is one of the best of its kind, that to
you it would be an acquisition to have an orchestra at your disposal, to
us to have a man like you in Hummel’s place, and secure a musician of
your standing for Germany,--then I cannot help being in favor of Weimar.
As far as I know, social resources are very limited there. The Court
circle is the best, not to say the only one; there you still meet with
intelligence and culture,--a relic of former days,--but that, too, is on
the decline, and whether your wife would like it seems to me very
doubtful. On the other hand, the orchestra is said to be excellent, and
the singers at the Opera good; the Grand Duchess is a stanch friend to
anybody she once likes, and with that, fairly musical herself; not very
much to do, but enough opportunity to do much good,--just what would
suit you. It is very difficult to put it impartially. You see it would
be glorious to have a musician like you amongst us, giving his best work
to Germany; but it seems so selfish to press you. Yet not to press you
is decidedly too unselfish. Would it not be best for you to come over
and look into the whole matter yourself? In a week you would get a clear
insight into everything,--town, society, and orchestra; could make your
own conditions, or take theirs into consideration,--in a word, you could
thoroughly sift the matter. Couldn’t you manage that? It would be a
great gain if only for the present you did not send an absolute refusal.
Do write to me soon about it, for it touches me very much.

Thanks for so kindly giving me the outlines of your new Concerto; but
now I am ever so desirous to know the whole. Where is it going to be
published? If not here, I hope you will send me over a copy soon. How I
should like to play a manuscript of yours; that would be a real treat!

I have been rather lazy of late. From the measles I dropped straight
into so much conducting that I could scarcely do anything else, save
take an occasional rest. Still, I have composed a new Sonata for the
piano and violoncello and three violin Quartets, which are shortly to
appear. As soon as these four things are out I shall send them to you,
and hope you will give me your candid opinion; but mind you criticise,
and tell me what should have been otherwise, and what I ought to have
done better. You are getting too indulgent and too kindly appreciative
of my work. Enough for to-day; best love to wife and children. Ever
remain the true friends that you are, and write soon to

Yours,

FELIX MENDELSSOHN BARTHOLDY.

       *       *       *       *       *

I forgot to ask another favor of you. F. David, the leader of our
orchestra, intends going to London next March, and wishes to play in
public, if possible at the Philharmonic. Can you and will you help him
to that end? I promised to ask you; and as he is a most excellent
player, one of the very best we have in Germany, and as, besides, his
compositions will give you pleasure,--for they are effective and
brilliant, and yet well conceived and worked out,--and as he is also my
very dear friend, I trust you may help him and oblige me.

       *       *       *       *       *

LEIPZIG, Jan. 13, 1839.

MY DEAR FRIEND,--I write to-day to ask two favors of you. You once
kindly offered to interest yourself on behalf of my compositions in
England, and to use your influence to place them more advantageously
than I could (or than they deserve). I should never have thought of
accepting that kind offer, were it not for a particular case in which I
cannot help asking for your assistance. The Overture for two performers
which I forward to you was to have appeared simultaneously at Simrock’s,
in Bonn, and at Mori’s, in London; the date fixed for publication was
approaching, when, the day before yesterday, I got a letter from Mori,
in which he expresses himself in his usual curious way,--so much so,
that it makes it impossible for me to send him the piece. Now, I should
be much vexed if this were to prevent its publication in England, and so
I write to ask whether you can put it into the hands of some other
English firm, not Mori; I do not much mind on what terms. When you look
it over you will see that it is a former work numbered “Op. 24,” written
originally for wind instruments. I wanted it published because I thought
it would give some people pleasure, and because it is easy and there are
parts in it I like. If you find you can oblige me, please have it called
“Duet for Two Performers” (not Overture), and put on the titlepage
“Arranged from Op. 24.” I must ask you, too, to let me hear from you as
soon as possible, as I have written to Bonn to stop the publication till
I can receive and forward your answer (on account of the title). Pardon
my troubling you. It really does seem rather strong, my coming to you
with such a request, but you know it is your own fault if I treat you so
unceremoniously. I should prefer not to have Novello for the publisher,
but to Mori on no account would I give it. Rather than that, it should
not appear in England at all: not that I am at all angry with him; he is
too peculiar, and for all that he still remains what he was, “My dear
Sir.”

My second request is in reference to David, about whom I wrote in my
last long letter; an answer would much oblige him. He has written to his
sister Mrs. Dulcken, asking whether she advises him to go to London in
March for six or eight weeks, whether he would get an opportunity of
playing his new Concerto at the Philharmonic, and what she thinks of his
prospects, etc. But to this he has had no answer as yet. I had asked you
to use your influence with the Directors of the Philharmonic, his talent
being really remarkable both as regards his playing and his
compositions; and in addition he is my very dear friend, and I feel you
will be happy to know such a genuine German musician. As the time is
approaching and he would have some preparations to make, I should be
much obliged if you would give him a few words on the subject. Besides
which I should much like a series of answers to my long letter,
especially in reference to the Weimar plan. But no more bothering
to-day; there has been quite enough of it in this letter. Give the
kindest of messages from me to your wife, and ditto special ones from
Cécile; love to the children, and an extra piece of pudding to Felix.

Do you know, I have been wishing and planning to go to London for four
weeks in April (in May I must be back on the Rhine). It would be a very
foolish thing to do, but none the less delightful; and how well I could
bring my wife! As I say, I have the greatest desire, but I am afraid
that that is all it will come to. Now, good-by! I wrote a dreadfully
long letter to Klingemann, and he answered in quite a little tiny one;
but give him my best love all the same.

Yours,

FELIX MENDELSSOHN BARTHOLDY.

       *       *       *       *       *

On the 29th of January, 1839, Moscheles writes:

       *       *       *       *       *

“Herewith you receive the youngest child of my fancies, my ‘Concerto
Pastorale.’ It has not yet seen the light of the musical world, and it
is still a question whether it is destined to take a place in the goodly
company of similar productions. So, in the mean while, I leave it under
your kind care; in your hands it is bound to thrive.”

       *       *       *       *       *

Moscheles sold the copyright of Mendelssohn’s Op. 24, mentioned in the
preceding letter, to Messrs. Addison & Beale for twenty guineas. He says
he has taken the liberty of altering some notes in the arrangement, so
that nothing should stand in the way of its becoming popular with the
young ladies.

David played his new Concerto at the Philharmonic on the 18th of March,
and met with the most brilliant success. There, as in other concerts
and musical gatherings, the purity of his style and his masterly
execution were warmly appreciated.

All that Mendelssohn had written about his personal and artistic
qualities was fully endorsed by Moscheles and his circle of friends. He
soon became a favorite in Chester Place; and the foundation was laid for
that friendship which was firmly cemented in later years, when he and
Moscheles were colleagues at the Leipzig Conservatorio for nearly a
quarter of a century.

       *       *       *       *       *

LEIPZIG, Feb. 27, 1839.

MY DEAR FRIEND,-- ...Your kind letter of the 18th crossed mine on the
road, and told me the disagreeable tale of the measles. How trying for
all of you, especially for your dear wife! And yet it is better to go
through it in your early days than to wait till you are a sedate and
sober married couple like ourselves, who ought to be educating their
children and conducting Oratorios, and have to lie in bed instead.
However, I am thankful to say that we are out of the wood, and out of
the maze of concerts too, and I’m at my own work again, and there I
always feel like a fish in the water.

But now comes the letter with the “Concerto Pastorale” (hear,
hear!).[37]

The bells of the above church are just ringing: F sharp, G sharp, D
sharp, and D sharp, F sharp, G sharp.

[Illustration: 19. Fac-simile from Letter of Feb. 27, 1839. (See page
182.)]

My dear Moscheles, let me thank you a thousand times for being so good
and kind to me, and for the great pleasure you give me by intrusting
your work to me. I hardly know what to thank you most for; I think, for
sending it at all. But then there is your letting me have the
manuscript, and then, again, all the enjoyment I derive from it. Since
it came, not a day has passed without my playing it two or three times
running, and each time with increased pleasure. I am quite aware I must
hear it with orchestra before I can take it in completely, and that will
be to-morrow fortnight at the concert for the benefit of the Orchestra
Pension Fund. We always keep a choice morsel for that occasion; so,
directly I heard of it, I announced the “Concerto Pastorale,” and the
news was received with enthusiastic cheers. Now, I have to study
desperately to get it up by that time, for it is as difficult as six
others put together; and what is more, the difficulties must not be
noticeable, it must all sound as fresh and light and airy as if
everything went by itself. So that is what I am grinding at. So far it
goes wretchedly: the end of the Adagio is specially troublesome, and
won’t come out at all as it should; and that most delightful two-part
Dance-subject sounds as if the girl were dancing on three legs and her
young man on one,--not quite your intention, I presume. At the
beginning, too, I sometimes hit C in the bass and then for a change G in
the treble, and that would scarcely edify you. With all this, I am
hopeful; for everything lies so conveniently for the fingers, that it is
their fault if it does not come right, and they have really improved
since the day before yesterday, and I do think I know how it ought to be
played, and that is the great thing. How delightful that unexpected
introduction of the bagpipes and the tender flute at the end of the
Adagio, and the 3-8 time coolly stepping in! In fact, thanks and thanks
again. I should not stop if I weren’t obliged to; but here comes No. 3,
my Overture in C major, for which you found the right place with the
right men (Cramer & Addison). I am quite ashamed of myself for having
troubled you, but grateful too, and glad, for your managing all so well;
that dedication to Miss Stone is a trump card, and then your writing to
Simrock yourself. It is really too much kindness, my dear Moscheles;
believe me, I thoroughly appreciate it, and feel deeply how much I am
indebted to you.

You get this letter through David, who leaves for London with Bennett
the day after to-morrow. Let me most warmly recommend him to you. He is
as sympathetic, straightforward, and honest a man as ever was, a
first-rate artist, and one of the few who love Art for its own sake,
come what may. Please give him a kind reception,--he deserves it,--and
assist him with your advice. Besides, if you wish to hear all about me
and mine, nobody can better give you chapter and verse than he. We meet
daily. I seldom make music without him, and what I compose he generally
hears first. I wish you would let him play some of my new Quatuors to
you; there are one or two amongst them I am pleased with myself, and I
should like to know that I am right, and that you too are satisfied with
them.

Chappell’s Opera is as yet in the clouds. He was here, and took back
various messages from me to Planché (and others); that is two months
ago, and I have not had a syllable from him. I suggested some
alterations in the text, which he approved of, and promised to submit to
Planché; in the mean while nothing can be done.

I have composed several Songs, and have begun a Psalm and a new
pianoforte Trio. Think of that old duet for Clarinet and Corno di
Bassetto coming to the surface again! Dear me! what an old sin of mine
that is,--with perhaps some touches of virtue, if I recollect right! It
may be the one in D flat or that in A flat major; for I wrote two for
the Bärmanns, and they played them beautifully and _con amore_. Well, I
thought these old pieces were dead and buried, and now they suddenly
turn up again at Moritz Schlesinger’s. Not much to boast of,--this
reappearance in his salons, from all I hear; but I suppose the old Duets
are doomed to haunt the place in punishment of their sins.

Dreyschock is a young pianist from Prague, who must have practised like
mad for several years, thus acquiring remarkable technical qualities
and incredible powers of endurance, as for instance in his octave
passages; but he is quite devoid of taste and musical culture. He plays
some pieces so admirably that you fancy yourself in presence of a great
artist, but immediately afterwards something else so poorly that you
have to change your mind. The question is, Will he improve? Such as he
is, he won’t go far; but he has fine means at his disposal, if he will
only use them; and I hope and trust he may.

If in that performance of my Psalm at the Academy, they got into trouble
with the Quintet it is lucky I was not there; for that is my favorite
movement, and false notes make me savage.

Our concert season will close on the 21st instead of the 15th of March,
as intended; and that obliges me, much to my regret, to abandon the idea
of going to England this spring. I have to be in Düsseldorf early in
May, at Whitsuntide, to conduct the Festival; so I must once more
postpone the pleasure of introducing my wife to you and yours.
Afterwards I shall probably spend a few months on the Rhine and then
return here. What are your plans for the summer?

Another request: Let Cramer & Addison (or rather Addison & Beale) know
that I will draw the money for the Overture about the middle of May. I
would not trouble you, but they have to be advised in advance. Really my
whole letter is made up of nothing but so many requests and so many
thanks!

I wish the devil himself (or, for a change, ten thousand of them) would
take the English custom of putting everything into the papers. Now, I am
supposed to have written to the Philharmonic that I know of no German
singer to compare with Miss Novello or Miss Shaw; the story is making
the rounds of the German papers, the journalists repeating it _a
piacere_. You can just fancy what a precious darling the German singers
think me under the circumstances; and all that, when I never wrote
anything of the kind. And now, my paper is full; so good-by! Take my
thanks, preserve me your friendship, and--one more request--write soon;
your letters do make me so happy. Kindest remembrances from self and
wife to you and your wife, and may she ever remain the true and kind
friend she is! Love to the children.

Yours,

FELIX MENDELSSOHN BARTHOLDY.

       *       *       *       *       *

LEIPZIG, April 4, 1839.

MY DEAR FRIEND,--How happy I was to get your “Concerto Pastorale,” you
know by my last letter. If I did not write about it again, it was
because, though I had played it and got acquainted with it to a certain
extent, I had yet many technical difficulties to master, and much more
to study, before I could arrive at a free enjoyment of the work. And so
it remained until I rehearsed it with orchestra, when for the first time
I heard it properly, and began to understand it. Since then it has, if
possible, grown still dearer to me; and I am sure it will become one of
my favorites amongst your works. Every time I play it I like it better
and better. We had two regular orchestral rehearsals, repeating the
whole piece, as well as single movements. And so, when the evening came,
it went very well and correctly, and you would have been
satisfied,--that is, with the orchestra, not with me, I am afraid; for
that night I was the victim of a dreadful cold (which, by the way, I
have not got rid of yet), and at one time--it was just at the beginning
of the Solo in the Adagio--a spasmodic fit of coughing threatened to
bring me to a dead stop. So my playing was not as spirited as I should
have liked it to be; but I got through it pretty correctly, excepting
the octave passage,--some parts coming out better than they had ever
done whilst I was studying them. The public applauded tremendously, and
entered into the spirit of the work with more sympathy and feeling than
I should have given them credit for. You know I am not generally an
admirer of the public; but this time they did try to get at the meaning
of the piece, and some of them had really arrived at a right conclusion
and understanding. A desire was expressed on all sides to hear it again.
But unluckily, this is just the end of our concert season; and now comes
the annual fair, and our unmusical time, and I shall not play again here
till next autumn. How long can I keep the parts? When will you want them
in London? And now, my dear friend, once more a thousand thanks for the
pleasure you have given us all; thanks for the fine composition you have
contributed to our concerts; thanks in particular for having intrusted
it to me.

We recently played a most remarkable and interesting Symphony by Franz
Schubert. It is without doubt one of the best works we have lately
heard. Throughout bright, fascinating, and original, it stands quite at
the head of his instrumental works. Spohr’s Symphony, which we performed
before, I suppose you will give in the Philharmonic. Lachner’s I liked
but little; the others liked it less. David can tell you all about
these. I have written a new Theatre-Overture[38] that has been quite a
source of pleasure to me; also a Psalm (again _vide_ David); some Songs
without words (according to the “Hegira” of David), some with words; and
now a Trio in D, and a Symphony in B, of which I will tell you more when
they are finished.

Good-by, etc.,

FELIX MENDELSSOHN BARTHOLDY.

       *       *       *       *       *

In the following lines Moscheles introduces the well-known writer and
musical critic. Henry F. Chorley:--

       *       *       *       *       *

LONDON, Aug. 17, 1839.

MY DEAR FRIEND,--The bearer of these lines, Henry F. Chorley, is an
excellent and highly cultivated young man; he is on the staff of the
“Athenæum,” and has made himself a name as an author and as an
enthusiastic lover of music, not only appreciating what is good, but
discriminating between the good and the trivial. Above all, he has, for
a long time past, been welcome at my house as a true and genial friend.
He has an intimate acquaintance and full sympathy with you and your
work. In a very exhaustive article published in the “Quarterly Review,”
he has characteristically portrayed the most eminent pianists and
composers; the sketch he draws of you there, is worthy of his subject.

       *       *       *       *       *

LEIPZIG, Nov. 30, 1839.

MY DEAR FRIEND,--I cannot understand why I so seldom write to you; for I
thoroughly enjoy it when I do, and only wonder why I did not settle down
to it before. What with the many visitors, and all kinds of
business,--requests and behests that would really come more
appropriately ten years hence than now, when I do not feel at all like
settling down to a life of business,--I lose my head, and just do
everything excepting that which gives me pleasure and which I ought to
do. Well, you must be indulgent. Your letters make me happy for days to
come, and I read them over and over again, and am grateful for your
never-failing friendship and kindness. And how wonderful it all seems
when I think of those days in Berlin when I first saw you, and you
stretched out the hand of kindly encouragement to me, whilst the _dii
minorum gentium_ and all manner of little imps were making most horrible
faces at me; and when I remember how, through all changes, you have
never varied in your friendship and forbearance, and are now just what
you were then, and how, after all, I am much the same as I was! To be
sure, since then we have both become _paterfamilias_. By this time your
daughter must be styled “Miss,” whereas mine only came into the world on
the 2d of October; and whilst your boy is already playing his scales,
mine is playing at nothing at all, not even at horse.

Your Paris letter gave me much pleasure, although what it describes is
anything but pleasant. What a curious state of things seems to prevail
there! To say the truth, I never felt very sympathetically disposed
towards it; and all I have lately heard, through you and others, does
not tend to improve my opinion. Vanity and outward show nowhere seem to
play so prominent a part; and the fact that people do not pose only for
stars, decorations, and stiff neckties, but for high art, and for souls
replete with enthusiasm, does not mend matters. When I read your
description of the _soirée_ at Kalkbrenner’s, I see and hear it all.
That anxiety to shine at the pianoforte, that greed for a poor little
round of applause, the shallowness that underlies it all and is as
pretentious as if such petty exhibitions were events of world-wide
importance! To read about it is more than enough for me. After all, I
prefer the German Philistine, with his nightcap and tobacco; although I
am not the one to stand up in his defence, especially since the events
in Hanover, which I followed with great interest, and which, I am sorry
to say, do not reflect much credit on the German fatherland. So, on the
whole, there is not much to be proud of on either side; and one cannot
help being doubly grateful for that Art which has a life of its own far
away from everything,--a solitude to which we can fly and be happy.

And now I want to know what you are writing. Chorley told me so much
about some new “Studies;” when shall I get to see and play them? And so
you are really going to dedicate your “Concerto Pastorale” to me? I
don’t know how to set about telling you what pleasure it gives me, and
how honored I feel to have my name associated with one of your works.
Let me confess to you that you have fulfilled a long-standing wish of
mine; for the C minor Capriccio appeared in Germany without my name, and
now I am doubly happy to be identified with so important a work of
yours. I will at once set to practising again, so as to do it more
justice. It is curious how often I look through heaps of new music
without feeling any inclination to practise, and then when I come across
a piece that is really good, one that I must play, and can play with
pleasure, I feel as if I had suddenly found a new set of fingers (some
training they require, to be sure).

I want to write a new Concerto, but so far it is swimming about in my
head in a shapeless condition. A new Oratorio, too, I have begun; but
how it’s to end, and what is to come in the middle, Heaven only knows.
My Trio I should so like to show you; it has grown quite dear to me, and
I am confident there are things in it you would be satisfied with. Could
I but bring you over here for a day or two, and play it to you, and have
your criticisms and your advice as to what I should alter and what I
might do better another time, then there would be a chance of my
learning something; but at a distance, and by letter, it isn’t half the
same thing. The publishers are pressing me to let them have it, and I
want to do so; I only wish I could just once play it to you before.

As for the Opera for Chappell, I am sorry to say it is as much in the
clouds as ever: the old trouble about the libretto! What is the use of
beginning so important a work, with the absolute conviction that I could
not make anything decent of it? Chorley, who has promised me his
assistance, is a truly good fellow, for whose acquaintance I owe you
many thanks; one seldom meets a man so highly cultivated, and at the
same time so simple and natural. Remember me very kindly to him. I mean
to write to him, and should have done so already if I did not feel the
awkwardness of using that language which he writes so delightfully, and
which I somewhat ill-treat. He seems to have been much pleased with our
concerts; and in fact we might really do something grand if there were
just a little more money to spend. That blessed money pulls us up at
every step, and we don’t get on half as well as we should like to. On
the one hand stand the Philistines who believe that Leipzig is Paris,
and everything perfection, and that if our musicians were not starved it
would no longer be Leipzig; on the other hand stand the musicians,--or
rather they _run_ as soon as they see a chance, and I even back them up
with letters to help them out of their misery. A pretty business it
would have been if you had kept our David! I should once for all have
stuck in the mud, and should never have got on to decent orchestra legs
again. His violin alone is worth ten good ones; and with that he is such
a musician! Besides, really now, he leads quite an agreeable life here,
and is petted and beloved by the public. No, him we positively cannot
spare. Miss Meerti, who sends her kind regards, has won golden opinions
here. She has a sympathetic and beautiful voice, and is a nice, amiable
girl besides; she is quite a favorite with us, and is now going to
Dresden, where she is invited to sing at Court.

I will make this letter a double one, and will enclose an old German
ballad, in order to keep up the practice of sending a song to your wife.
Excuse the postage.

Acting on your advice, I sent the “Study” to Schlesinger, though I
cannot bear the fellow. He and Fétis make a pair, from whom may the gods
preserve those they love! But then, to be sure, your name
counterbalances a thousand or so of their calibre; and whatever you do,
or wherever you go, there I follow with pleasure. I did not answer
Schlesinger’s letter of last summer, because he had been rather too
aggravating, and I wanted to leave him in peace, so that he might leave
me in peace. However, thanks to your letter, I am now more mildly
disposed; and after all, one publisher is as good as another. But I must
say I do not think I shall ever get on well with this one. I declined to
give anything to Pott in furtherance of his scheme; nor would you have
done so, had you known all their doings and dealings in Germany with
regard to monuments. They speculate on the names of great men in order
to make themselves great names; they do a deal of trumpeting in the
papers, and treat us to ever so much bad music with the real trumpets.
If they will honor Handel in Halle, Mozart in Frankfurt and Salzburg,
and Beethoven in Bonn, by founding good orchestras and performing their
works properly and intelligently, I am their man. But I don’t care for
their stones and blocks as long as their orchestras are only
stumbling-blocks; nor for their Conservatorios in which there is nothing
worth conserving. My present hobby is the improvement of our poor
orchestra. After no end of letter-writing, soliciting, and importuning,
I have succeeded in getting their salaries raised by five hundred
thalers; and before I leave them I mean to get them double that amount.
If that is granted, I won’t mind their setting a monument to Sebastian
Bach in front of the Saint Thomas school; but first, mind you, the
grant. You see I am a regular small-beer Leipziger. But really you would
be touched if you could see and hear for yourself how my good fellows
put heart and soul into their work, and strive to do their best.

I am very glad you improved your acquaintance and friendship with
Chopin. He is certainly the most gifted of them all, and his playing has
real charm. They say Liszt is coming here, and I should be very glad;
for notwithstanding his unpalatable contributions to the papers, I am
fully impressed both by his playing and by his striking personality.
Berlioz’s programme, that you send me, is a very silly production. I
wish I could see any pluck or originality in it, but to me it seems
simply vapid and insipid. Has not Onslow written anything new? And old
Cherubini? There is a man for you! I have got his “Abencerrages,” and am
again and again enjoying his sparkling fire, his clever and unexpected
transitions, and the neatness and grace with which he writes. I am truly
grateful to the fine old gentleman. It is all so free, so bold and
bright.

Now I must end, my dear, dear friend. I have been jumbling everything
together, and chatting

[Illustration: musical notation

20. “Des Hirten Winterlied.” In Letter of Nov. 18, 1840, to Mrs.
Moscheles. (See page 217.)]

away as if I were sitting next to you by the piano. Would it were so!
But for that I may have to wait some time; so, meanwhile, write to me
and let me know what you are doing and what composing; and above all,
tell me that you are my friend, as I am yours,

FELIX MENDELSSOHN BARTHOLDY.

       *       *       *       *       *

LEIPZIG, March 21, 1840.

Beginning of Spring.

MY DEAR FRIEND,--Those kind letters of yours and your wife’s came
yesterday, and a most agreeable surprise they were. A thousand thanks.
You cannot imagine how refreshing it is to me to get a letter from you.
Besides all that is new and interesting in it, there is so much that
comes straight from the heart, so much that is thoroughly Moscheles,
that I quite fancy I hear you. And, do you know, one of the invigorating
effects of your letters is the desire they give me to go to England,
whereas, in truth, I fight rather shy of the journey. I don’t know how
it is, but when I read your letter urging me to go to Birmingham, I am
seized with the desire to be off. There is my wife, too, who is in favor
of the journey, and who, this time, would like to accompany me; and that
sets me to thinking that we might do worse than bring our wives
together, and let them become friends; and then--and then--I long for
the steamer and for the perfume of British coal, and I put in the
daintiest touches to complete the pleasant picture. I wonder whether it
is to be realized.

What you tell me about the Philharmonic and Lord Burghersh, I must say,
does not particularly attract me; that the society should be losing
ground, as you say, I most sincerely regret. It was so flourishing when
I knew it, and had such a halo of glory round it, that I could not
believe the evil I hear of it on all sides; but since you confirm such
reports, they must be true.

Your remarks on Spohr’s C minor Symphony, I indorse word for word; and
without knowing his historical Symphony, one feels how correct and fair
your analysis of it must be, just as one can judge of the likeness of a
portrait without knowing the subject.[39] But what an unlucky idea the
whole thing is! After all, a joke is out of place in a serious
orchestra. This leads me to a request that I meant to make long ago.
Would you not let us have your own Symphony in C[40] for one of our
concerts? I am sure it would be appreciated on all sides, and why should
you withhold such a work from the public? For this winter it would be
too late, as our last concert takes place on Thursday; but it might come
as an opening feature of the concert season next autumn, if you are
agreeable.

We have had an interesting musical time of it, this winter: Dreyschock,
Prume, Madame Pleyel, Hiller, Ernst, and now, to wind up, Liszt. Our
Subscription Concerts and the six Quartet evenings were more crowded
than ever; and with their close the time has come when one longs for
home music and no concerts. Liszt has been here for the last six days.
He has given one concert, and announces another for next Tuesday; after
which he goes to Dresden and to Paris, where he means to play;
afterwards to London for the season, and then to Russia to spend the
winter. His playing, which is quite masterly, and his subtle musical
feeling, that finds its way to the very tips of his fingers, truly
delighted me. His rapidity and suppleness, above all, his playing at
sight, his memory, and his thorough musical insight, are qualities quite
unique in their way, and that I have never seen surpassed. With all
that, you find in him, when once you have penetrated beneath the surface
of modern French polish, a good fellow and a true artist, whom you can’t
help liking even if you disagree with him. The only thing that he seems
to me to want is true talent for composition, I mean really original
ideas. The things he played to me struck me as very incomplete, even
when judged from his own point of view, which, to my mind, is not the
right one. And, if I am not mistaken, that explains why Thalberg would
meet with more success in many places,--England, for instance. He, in
his way, is just perfect; he plays the pieces he has mastered, and
there he stops: whereas Liszt’s whole performance is as unpremeditated,
as wild and impetuous, as you would expect of a genius; but then I miss
those genuinely original ideas which I naturally expect from a genius. A
mere pianist he is not, nor does he give himself out as such; and that
perhaps makes him appear less perfect than others whose talent cannot be
compared with his. We are together the greater part of the day, and seem
to be mutually attracted. His appreciation of you, and the cordial way
in which he expresses it, have drawn me still nearer to him. It is a
pity that he should be saddled with a manager and a secretary who,
between them, succeeded in so thoroughly mismanaging things that the
public were furious, and we had the greatest trouble to smooth matters
to some extent for the second concert. The advertisements and subsequent
modifications, the prices and the programme,--in fact, everything that
Liszt himself did not do was objectionable; and consequently the mildest
of Leipzigers were in a rage. By this time, however, they seem to have
calmed down again.

A thousand thanks for your kind offer about my Trio. I need not trouble
you again about its publication, as it is to appear at Ewer & Co.’s; but
your offer to look through the proof-sheets is too tempting to refuse,
however indiscreet my acceptance may be. So I have told Ewer to send you
the proofs, and am sincerely obliged to you. They asked me for an
arrangement for the flute instead of the violin, and I suggested that
they should publish only the Andante and Scherzo in this form, under the
title “Andante et Rondo (tiré de l’œuvre 49,” etc.); because the first
and last movements appear too heavy and substantial for such an
arrangement. However, I have left the decision in their hands. What do
you advise? I have told them to consult you on any question which might
arise. That, too, you must excuse; but, above all, let me soon know what
you think of the work itself.

You know how highly I value your remarks, and how much at all times I
learn from them. For that self-same reason I wish I could show you a new
Psalm I have just written, and a Symphony I have begun. Well, perhaps
that may be next autumn.

And now good-by. Yours ever,

FELIX MENDELSSOHN BARTHOLDY.

       *       *       *       *       *

LEIPZIG, July 2, 1840.

DEAR MRS. MOSCHELES,--I should have thanked you for your kind and
friendly letter by return of post, had I been able to say anything
certain about my visit to England. But that is so far impossible. What
with constant conducting and preparing for public performances, I have
lately been so knocked up that the doctor seriously advises me to take a
few months’ rest before the beginning of our busy season in October.
You can fancy that I shall only do so if necessity compels me; so one
day I am quite resolved to go to England, and the next, I feel obliged
to abandon the idea. To-day I leave for Mecklenburg, where, for some
time past, I have promised to conduct a festival; and until we see what
effect that has on my health, I cannot make any further plans. Should I,
after that, feel strong enough to stand the fatigue of an English music
festival, nothing shall detain me, and come I will. I shall let you know
the when as soon as I can clearly see my way out of the ifs and buts....

And now farewell to you and yours; and to Moscheles, especially, the
most cordial and hearty messages I can think of.

Yours,

FELIX MENDELSSOHN BARTHOLDY.

       *       *       *       *       *

LEIPZIG, Aug. 8, 1840.

DEAR MRS. MOSCHELES,--Hurrah! I’m coming. I cannot give you a date; for
if I bring my wife[41] (as I hope and trust to do), I shall start in
about a fortnight, whereas, if I come alone, I shall be in London on the
8th of September, remain for the Festival, and return immediately after
it. In the latter case I should have to abandon the long-cherished plan
of introducing my wife to the country of my predilection and the dear
friends I have there.

I fully rely upon your remaining in England and going to Birmingham as
you promised. What a delightful trip we could make of it! What a
pleasure to see Moscheles again, and to hear him! And then, all his new
compositions which I shall really get to know and enjoy, whereas
hitherto I have had to be satisfied with a kind of a sort of a
description, or half a bar here and there doled out to me by some friend
just fresh from London. We’ll have a regular feast of music. I, for one,
am hungrier and thirstier for it than ever. And my godson, and the two
charming young ladies, now grown to the dignity of real “misses,”--I
shall have to renew my friendship with them, or rather take it up where
we left it; and possibly Emily may have some dim recollection of former
pianoforte lessons, and Serena of certain carnations. I shall expect my
godson to remember having met me at St. Pancras Church,[42] and to call
me by my name. Of myself I can only say, you will find me a hopeless
case. Whatever talent I might have shown for speaking the English
language or behaving like a gentleman, has been lost in the atmosphere
of German petty provincialism. In some things you will find me
unchanged, but won’t it annoy you all the more that I have not improved?
Well, all that crosses my mind occasionally; but then I console myself
with the thought that you will be pleased to see an old friend, whether
he is improved or not, cleverer or less clever, and will give him, as of
old, your friendship and your indulgence. How glad that friend, on _his_
part, is at the idea of soon finding himself in your family again, it
needs no words to assure you. May we meet in health and happiness, and
may you be as kindly disposed as ever to

Yours,

FELIX MENDELSSOHN BARTHOLDY.

       *       *       *       *       *

On the 18th of September Mendelssohn arrived in London. Mrs. Moscheles
writes of him to her relatives in Hamburg:--

“Our dear Mendelssohn--I cannot call him otherwise--arrived at four
o’clock, was with us at seven, just the same warm and genial friend as
of old; bright, cordial, and hearty,--in a word, the type of a true man.
Klingemann and Chorley joined him here at dinner; and in the evening
Felix junior had such a tremendous romp with his godfather, that the
whole house shook. One can scarcely realize that the man who was
presently improvising in his grandest style, was the same as the Felix
senior, the king of games and romps.”

       *       *       *       *       *

On the 20th of September Mendelssohn and Moscheles went to Birmingham.
From there the latter writes:--

[Illustration: 21. Birmingham. From a Pen Drawing by Mendelssohn. (See
page 209.)]

“Whilst all Birmingham was congratulating itself on having the
heaven-born composer within its walls, and on the privilege of hearing
him conduct his latest work, he, in the midst of a thousand duties,
found leisure to make for the children a pen-and-ink sketch of the city,
with its town hall, its houses, smoky chimneys, and all.”[43]

       *       *       *       *       *

Further on Moscheles describes the performance of Mendelssohn’s “Hymn of
Praise,” and ends with the words:--

       *       *       *       *       *

“A powerful Fugue next breaks in triumphantly, the majestic tone of the
organ resounds, and a double set of kettledrums marks the rhythm, much
as a throbbing pulse marks the course of the life-blood through a man’s
veins. Then follows a Chorale of such dignity, that involuntarily the
whole audience rose from their seats as is usually done only during the
‘Hallelujah.’ Afterwards, when the hall was emptied, he played for three
quarters of an hour on the organ, before a small circle of friends, just
as if he had neither been hearing nor conducting music, but as if his
day’s work was only then beginning.”

       *       *       *       *       *

After a short stay in London, Mendelssohn, Moscheles, and Chorley
started together for Leipzig. On the eve of his departure Mendelssohn
made a pen-and-ink sketch in Mrs. Moscheles’s album, full of pleasant
allusions to their stay in Birmingham. On the left he draws the Stork
Hotel, in which they had taken up their quarters; and next to it a pair
of scissors which he had presented to Mrs. Moscheles, and which are
drawn stalking vaingloriously along and towering over the Town Hall, of
Festival memories. Then comes the Bread-and-Butter Pudding, his favorite
dish, the recipe of which he was carrying home with him.

Further on, the cravat which Mrs. Moscheles had given him. He was in the
habit of protesting that he had never been able to master the art of
adjusting his cravat, and that not until Mrs. Moscheles pronounced the
magic words, “Pin it up,” was a flood of light thrown on the subject.
Above the cravat the steamer stands in readiness for the morrow; below,
the mail-coach and the luggage,--amongst the latter, a certain umbrella
belonging to Moscheles, which Mendelssohn had unfortunately lost, is
conspicuous.[44]

They started on the 3d of October; and their adventures by sea and land
are recorded in a humorous letter penned by the trio of friends,
Mendelssohn adding a little sketch of the pitching boat he had every
reason to remember.[45]

During his ten days’ stay in Leipzig, Moscheles writes frequent letters
to his wife. The following note of invitation Mendelssohn enclosed in
one of them:--

[Illustration: 22. An Album Sketch by Mendelssohn. (See page 210.)]

  +----------------------------------------------------------------+
  |                    MRS. MOSCHELES                              |
  |                                                                |
  | is respectfully invited to a musical evening party to be given |
  | on Monday, the 19th of October, at 6 o’clock precisely, in the |
  | rooms of the Gewandhaus, by                                    |
  |                                                                |
  |              FELIX MENDELSSOHN BARTHOLDY,                      |
  |                                                                |
  | there to hear his 42d Psalm, with Orchestra, his Overture to   |
  | “Fingal’s Cave,” and Moscheles’s Overture to “Joan of Arc.”    |
  | Moscheles, the “Father of Pianists” (as Fink calls him in the  |
  | “Musical Gazette”), will play his G minor Concerto, as also    |
  | Bach’s Triple Concerto, with Madame Schumann and Dr. F.        |
  | Mendelssohn Bartholdy, in addition to which he will perform    |
  | some of his characteristic Studies.                            |
  |                                                                |
  |                        * * *                                   |
  |                                                                |
  | It is requested that this paper be presented at the doors;     |
  | should, however, this request not be complied with, Professor  |
  | Moscheles will have to proceed to London in order to receive   |
  | that applause which here can but be incomplete.                |
  |                                                                |
  |     _An answer by return of post will oblige._            |
  +----------------------------------------------------------------+

The “musical evening party” turned out a most brilliant one. Moscheles
describes the bright and festive scene, and the charming way in which
Mr. and Mrs. Mendelssohn received their three hundred guests. The chorus
of one hundred and forty voices was most effective, and the Gewandhaus
orchestra was never heard to better advantage.

After a short visit to his mother in Prague, Moscheles hurried back to
London, reluctantly foregoing the pleasure he had promised himself of
once more shaking hands with his friends before leaving Germany.

       *       *       *       *       *

LEIPZIG, Nov. 18, 1840.

DEAR MRS. MOSCHELES,--I fancy Moscheles once more comfortably installed
by your “fireside” (this can’t be expressed in German); so now I must
write and send greetings, and say how often and with what heartfelt
gratitude I remember our late meeting. After our parting there followed
some pleasant days, which Moscheles’s and Chorley’s letters have long
ago described to you. Now, however, that Moscheles has left us by train,
and Chorley by _Schnellpost_, a quiet time has set in, with scarcely
anything to describe,--for happiness itself is indescribable; and,
indeed, I ought neither to form a wish nor to express a regret, when I
enjoy, as I do at present, health and contentment with my wife and
children, and have plenty of work to do; yet I must say we were truly
sorry on receiving Moscheles’s letter, definitely putting off his return
to us. He had become quite a member of the family during his short stay,
and as such we parted from him. He seemed to be in most friendly
sympathy with my wife; such feelings are generally mutual, and I know
she took to him the very first day. But when will my prophecy be
fulfilled, that you too will love my Cécile, and feel at home and
intimate with her? Not this next spring, I fear; and whether Moscheles
is so favorably impressed with Germany that he wishes soon to repeat his
visit, that too remains to be seen; but I hope he did feel

[Illustration: 23. Fac-simile from the Joint Letter from Ostend. (See
page 210; also, explanation in the List of Illustrations.)]

what we all had at heart,--what every one of us would have liked to show
in word and deed, if the very showing and saying had not been our weak
point, though he will nowhere find it more strongly developed,--the most
heartfelt reverence and love for himself and his work, and the most
sincere gratitude for the immense enjoyment he has procured us. It is
still our daily talk; and even little Carl[46] never passes a day
without asking Papa, “How does my uncle Mosche_n_es play?” Then I try to
imitate it with my fists in A flat, six-eight time as well as I can, but
the result is miserable. Now comes a song.[47] ...

I will give the pen to my wife, and only add love to the dear children,
to whom pray remember me. This letter is for Moscheles too. How glad I
was to hear of his successes in Prague, I need not say. I trust he
thinks of us as we do of him, and that we may soon hear of his safe
arrival. Farewell, dear Mrs. Moscheles.

Ever yours,

FELIX MENDELSSOHN BARTHOLDY.

       *       *       *       *       *

LEIPZIG, March 14, 1841.

DEAR MOSCHELES,--Just as I was sitting down to answer your kindest of
letters (dated the 9th inst.), in comes bright No. 2, with its graphic
account of the Taylor evening, and its other capital and vivid
descriptions. David must take you my answer to both, and my very best
thanks for the pleasure they have given me. He leaves to-morrow. There
is no need once more to recommend him, his wife, and their little
daughter to you and yours. You know and appreciate him and his art
already, and are sure to contribute more than your share towards making
his stay agreeable. Mind you don’t get too fond of him, and keep him
there altogether; we Germans could not allow that, for men and musicians
of his stamp are not as thickly sown out here as you might fancy. So
make as much of him as you like, but send him back well preserved
afterwards.

And now to return to your two delightful letters. The first contained
the enclosures from Broadley and instructions in reference to the German
publication; they shall be punctually carried out. Please ask him to
mention on the titlepage of the English edition that Simrock of Bonn is
the German publisher. May I beg you to communicate this to him without
delay? Make my excuses to him (and yourself) for not having sent the
short prelude. I would gladly do so; but really, with the best will in
the world, I could not write a short prelude to suit that piece without
altering the whole form and giving it a pretentious coloring, which it
should not have. I would rather leave it to the organist to tumble his
fingers about at random, making it long or short as he likes, and as
rich or poor as he can afford.

I do wish I could hear your Psalm. You know how much I should enjoy it.
But how could I venture to make suggestions, or even to _think_ them,
when I am so full of the beauties I find in your work, and so thankful,
as we all have reason to be, for what you give us in so full a measure?
At any rate, you know that I, for one, feel deeply grateful for the
bright products of your art; and I trust you will always let me have the
new things you write, and particularly that you will not let me wait
long for the Psalm and the two new “Studies.”

According to your kind permission, I have put together a book of your
Songs, selected from the ten you sent me through Dr. Becker. Kistner
required six for a book; so I chose the following: “Stumme Liebe,” by
Probald; “Der Schmidt,” by Uhland; “Zuversicht,” by the Countess Hahn;
“Das Reh,” by Uhland; “Im Herbst,” by Uhland; “Sakontala,” by
Klingemann. The keys certainly follow in the maddest of ways,--F major,
B major, and so on anyhow; but I have always found that not a soul
thanks you for the loveliest sequence in keys, and that it is rather a
change from slow to fast, from serious to lively, that is particularly
in demand. So pray excuse this fricassee of sharps and flats.

Yours,

FELIX MENDELSSOHN BARTHOLDY.

       *       *       *       *       *

LEIPZIG, March 14, 1841.

DEAR MRS. MOSCHELES,--What a delightful letter of yours that was I
received the day before yesterday, written beside the singing tea-urn,
and taking me straight to Chester Place! By rights, my thanks ought to
come in the shape of a song on one of these pages; but I cannot manage
it to-day, and you must take these unmusical, prosaic, dry thanks for
your musical, bright, poetical letter. For now, when our season is
drawing to a close, you know from experience how hard-driven a man
is,--and, to keep up the usual distinction, a musician into the bargain.
Since January we are having an uninterrupted succession of musical
doings, besides which the Leipzigers are so very sociable that at this
time one is scarcely ever allowed a quiet evening at home. Our own house
has become a lively centre too. Sophy Horsley has arrived, seems to feel
at home with us, and is already making friends with my wife; and now we
invite our friends, and they return the compliment. We speak German,
French, and English, all in one breath; and all the while the orchestra
is fiddling, trumpeting, and drumming every day, whilst one is expected
to sit an hour and a half at supper, and sing four-part songs to a
roast-beef accompaniment.

The only thing I regret in your charming letter is that you should have
countenanced the strange attempts at making comparisons between Spohr
and myself, or the petty cock-fights in which, for some inconceivable
reason and much to my regret, we have been pitted against each other in
England. I never had the slightest idea of such competition or rivalry.
You may laugh at me, or possibly be vexed, at my taking up such a silly
matter so seriously. But there is something serious at the bottom of it;
and this pretended antagonism, imagined and started by Heaven knows
whom, can in no way serve either of us, but must rather be detrimental
to both. Besides, never could I appear as the opponent of a master of
Spohr’s standing, whose greatness is so firmly established; for, even as
a boy, I had the greatest esteem for him in every respect, and, with my
riper years, this feeling has in no way been weakened.

And so the Philharmonic Society seems tumbling to pieces. Oh dear! oh
dear! how sad that is! It is true they have worried me a good deal of
late; still I have a sort of affection for the old familiar institution,
and hope they may yet conceive the brilliant idea of appointing
Moscheles as sole conductor; that would be the infallible remedy to save
them (see Chorley’s MS. receipts).

And how are your children? Does Emily keep up her playing? Does she
compose? And does Felix drop down all of a heap in his popular character
of the dead man? We are all right, thank goodness! My wife has been in
such good health all this time that I cannot be sufficiently thankful.
There is, however, much to manage and arrange with three little soprano
singers in the house, and that is why she returns your kind messages
through me. Sophy desires her very best love, and repeats it three
times, emphasizing alternately each of the three words; and I say,
should you ever feel inclined to write such another truly charming
letter by the side of the tea-urn, so enjoyable to your distant friends,
drawing them into your family circle, then think of

Yours,

FELIX MENDELSSOHN BARTHOLDY.

       *       *       *       *       *

JUNE 15, 1841.

MY DEAR FRIEND,--How shall I thank you for those two beautiful “Studies”
you sent me! I cannot tell you how much I have found in them to enjoy
and to admire, and how grateful I am that you should select me as the
first to send them to, in advance of the whole musical world, that takes
so lively an interest in all you write. That is truly kind of you.

To tell the truth, it is the one in D minor that is my favorite,
particularly in that modulation on the seventh, after the long F
[Illustration: musical notation], and the return to D minor, passing
through C and E flat. But then there is that lively one in F major,
which I love more and more each time I play it. And

[Illustration]

[Illustration: musical notation

24. Stage Arrangements at Berlin. Fac-simile of Drawing by Mendelssohn.
(See explanation in the List of Illustrations.)]

finally, they are both so truly Moscheles that it is hard to choose!
Well, there they are, both of them; so there is no necessity to make a
choice.

Will you allow me an observation,--the only one that occurred to me?
There is something in the last two bars of the D minor Study, the end of
which I otherwise like so much, that sounds strange to my ear. The long
rest on the seventh, and then the F in the melody (half a bar before the
last) gives to that passage a melodious coloring that does not seem to
me quite in keeping with the general character of the Study. I think
some simpler, bolder final chord would be more in harmony with the
whole. It is a trifling objection, you see, and perhaps I am altogether
wrong; so excuse the liberty and set me right.

It does strut along so splendidly, that D minor Study; and I can play it
pretty well already too. The one in F I cannot manage at all yet,
although I have tried hard.

Your putting at the head of them the words “Without characteristic
names,” is, I can see, an allusion to my pert remarks in Gotha. Well,
you must pardon them, as well as all others in the past, and possibly in
the future. Let me thank you too, my dear friend, in my wife’s name and
in my own, for the dedication of your Songs. It is a kind gift we shall
ever value.

You will have heard that I am going for a year to Berlin. I could not
refuse, but fully intend to return at the end of the time. I would
rather be here than there. To be sure, I am to rejoice in the title of
Kapellmeister, to get a lot of money, and to have no special duties,
either at the theatre or elsewhere,--in fact, to be quite my own master;
but with all that, I don’t quite like it. I shall be there in about ten
days; and as soon as I can tell you more about it, you shall hear from
me.

Yours ever,

FELIX MENDELSSOHN BARTHOLDY.

       *       *       *       *       *

In June, 1842, Mendelssohn once more returned to London, this time
accompanied by his wife; and so at last Mrs. Moscheles had the
opportunity, to which she had been looking forward so long, of making
Cécile Mendelssohn’s acquaintance, and of welcoming her to England. They
met, as might be expected, fully disposed to indorse the bond of
friendship that united their husbands. Sympathetically attracted to one
another at the outset, they soon exchanged the more formal mode of
address for the affectionate “Du,” therein following the example of
their husbands, who, years ago, had in the same way taken the pledge of
brotherhood. Their friendship continued and remained unchanged until the
premature death of Cécile Mendelssohn.

On the 13th of June Mendelssohn conducted his A minor Symphony for the
first time in the Philharmonic. He played with Moscheles in a concert
arranged by the latter for the benefit of

[Illustration: musical notation

25. Fac-simile from a Letter written in July, 1842.]

the sufferers from the Hamburg fire,--a venture which was eminently
successful, the net receipts amounting to £650. Sophocles’s “Antigone”
was performed in Moscheles’s house, Mendelssohn being at the piano; the
choir, however, it appears, did not prove equal to the occasion. It was
during this stay that Mendelssohn spent the pleasant hours with Queen
Victoria and Prince Albert, of which he gives so graphic a description
in his letters to his mother.

       *       *       *       *       *

BERLIN, Oct 8, 1842.

DEAR MRS. MOSCHELES,--I returned three days ago, and will not delay
writing you a letter on this broad sheet of paper. What it will contain,
you guess; but I write it in fear and trembling, for my mother assures
me she has it from you yourself that you intended leaving Hamburg at the
beginning of October, to return to England, without stopping at either
Leipzig or Berlin. That would really be too bad! But I cannot quite
believe it, and so venture to write you a regular letter of
invitation:--

       *       *       *       *       *

Mr. Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy presents his compliments to Mr. and Mrs.
Moscheles, and is simply craving for Mr. and Mrs. Moscheles’s visit to
Berlin for at least a fortnight. The country, music, and that sort of
thing, in and about Berlin, are, to be sure, not worthy to be placed
before them; if, however, a most hearty welcome can make the sandy soil
appear fruitful, and the musicians inspired, nothing shall be neglected
to produce the desired effect. The whole population of No. 3
Leipzigerstrasse joins in this most humble invitation. _Dinner on the
table at three o’clock._ _Il y aura un violon._

       *       *       *       *       *

I wish you would say “Yes,” and come. Wouldn’t we enjoy it!

But, joking apart, dear Mrs. Moscheles, and you, my dear friend, should
you still be in Hamburg, and these lines reach you there, then do not
break our hearts by passing us by. Had I but known a little sooner when
I should be here again, I should have written ere this; but we returned
only four days ago from Switzerland and the South of Germany. Everything
was uncertain, as it is still. However, here we are, and shall certainly
remain for the next fortnight, so I say again, Come! If I could only
send you a starling trained to say, Come! Come! True, my dear Moscheles,
I should have nothing newer to show you in the way of compositions than
the Song without Words in A major, which you had to hear but too often
last spring. What with eating, drinking, walking, sketching, enjoying
myself, and not caring for the morrow, I have not been able to write
anything new. You, I am sure, will have all the more new and interesting
things to show me. But even supposing we made no music at all, how
delightful would it be to spend

[Illustration: 26. MENDELSSOHN.

A BUST MODELLED FROM LIFE BY PROFESSOR RIETSCHEL]

some time together in Germany! We should see and hear much more of one
another, in peace and quietness, than we could in the rush of a London
season, crowded as you are there with work, and I with leisure. You
would meet Klingemann too; we are daily expecting him; he must have been
in Hanover for some time already. Once more, to wind up, Come!

Now that our wanderings are concluded, we doubly feel what a happy
summer we have spent, what English comfort we have enjoyed, what
happiness and what never-to-be-forgotten kindness we have experienced.
It was delightful indeed! And then, on our return home, we could not
help saying that in the whole five months in which we wandered over land
and sea, by steam or on muleback, across roads and rocks, we could not
remember one unpleasant moment, not one dull day, but that we had been
enabled to enjoy everything in undisturbed delight and health. Then I
felt as though we never could be thankful enough, and ought never to
pray for anything but a continuance of such happiness. From first to
last we have felt deeply grateful for the mercies showered upon us, the
remembrance of which will never leave us as long as we live. In
Switzerland--oh, well, of that I could talk for whole evenings, till you
were thoroughly tired of my long stories, as dull and dry as the
incidents they would describe were lively and bright. Then came a
delightful fortnight with the Souchays at Frankfurt, then Leipzig and
the first Subscription Concert. They flattered themselves you would have
come to it, dear Moscheles; for David told me they had specially invited
you. Hauptmann’s first Mass was performed at St. Thomas’s Church; then
we had three new violin Quartets by Schumann, the first of which most
particularly delighted me. Madame Schumann played Weber’s Concertstück,
and some Thalberg, as beautifully and with as much fire as ever. Here I
found all well,--that is, music excepted, which, Heaven knows, is
anything but well. They are performing “William Tell” for the wedding
festivities, curtailed into three acts, and they call it “the composer’s
arrangement for the Parisian stage,” and are racking their brains to
discover whether Rossini had any call to write operas or not. The
_Weissbier_, the cabs, cakes, and officials are wonderful here, but not
much besides.

I have requested an audience of the King, with a view to obtaining his
most gracious permission to depart; but what with the wedding, his
journey, etc., I have not yet been received. Should I be more successful
next week, I hope to be in my well-known Leipzig home in another
fortnight; but it must be with a really good grace that he allows me to
retire, for I love him too well, and owe him too much, to let it be
otherwise.

Oh, how my pen has run away with me! I dare not touch the next page,
which Cécile wants. So let me add, on this one, love to the children,
and my wishes for your welfare, but, above all, the wish for an early
and happy meeting.

Ever your

FELIX MENDELSSOHN BARTHOLDY.

       *       *       *       *       *

LEIPZIG, Nov. 18, 1842.

MY DEAREST FRIEND,--How busy I have been lately you may gather from the
fact of my only answering your delightful letter of the 20th to-day. But
my chief reason for delay was that I wished to answer with due care and
full consideration that part of it which mentions your intention of
returning to Germany. This is a matter of so much importance to all of
us, and I am so immensely delighted at the prospect, that at first I
could not bring myself to think of it quietly and impartially. Now I
have looked at it in every light, and of nothing else will I write
to-day. If you really mean to leave England,--and from what you say I
can no longer doubt you are in earnest,--this is the best time you could
select, particularly if you thought of giving Berlin the preference. It
appears to me that just now, when the King is so unmistakably anxious to
secure for his capital artists of great reputation, a mere hint from you
would suffice to elicit the most acceptable offers from that quarter.
Such a hint is necessary, as, without it, nobody would believe, any more
than I did at first, that you are really inclined to give up your
position in England. Now, you have the very man in London to whom you
might casually drop a word. You are on a confidential footing with him;
and whilst, on the one hand, he has the warmest friendship and esteem
for you, on the other, his suggestions and counsels have the greatest
weight with the King of Prussia. Of course, I mean Bunsen.[48] If you
were to speak to him, mentioning in a general way your intention of
returning to Germany, I am sure a few words would suffice, and he would
do his very best to secure to the King and to Berlin the honor of
possessing you,--for as an honor any town of Germany you may select will
look upon it. That, perhaps, you do not know; but then I do, most
positively. To be sure, there is no official position--I mean no regular
programme of musical duties--suitable for you, any more than there is
for me, or for any musician whose heart is in his work; so my departure
from Berlin would leave no place vacant for another to occupy. The very
fact that no such place exists is the cause of my hesitating so long.

Now, however, it is decided that I am to have nothing to do with the
Berlin public, but only with the King, whose qualities of head and heart
I value so highly that they weigh heavier in the scale than half a dozen
Berlin publics. Whether I am there or not, an excellent and honorable
position would be open to you. But just think how delightful it would be
if I did return, and we lived in the same place and saw our old dreams,
that seemed so unattainable, actually realized! But that is a picture I
will not attempt to draw in this letter. That I may have to return to
Berlin, you see from the above. Probably it may be next year.

But suppose, now, that the thing you thought feasible in Berlin should
take shape in Leipzig! Not that I should think of offering you the post
I have held here, merely as conductor of the Subscription Concerts; but
there is every reason to believe that that office may be supplemented by
the directorship of a musical school, which will probably be started
within the next twelvemonth. Might not a combination of that kind suit
you? The salary would scarcely be more than twelve hundred thalers, to
begin with; but I have no doubt things would soon improve all round. The
King of Saxony will probably grant the funds requisite for founding the
institution; and considering the influential and central position of
Leipzig, I am confident that excellent results might be anticipated. The
principal outlines of the scheme are to be settled before the end of the
year. I am bound up with it, heart and soul. But then the first and most
important question arises, Who is to be at the head of it? Now, just see
how all difficulties would be at once solved if, in answer to that
question, we could put your name! Regular lessons there would be
scarcely any to give,--only the general supervision of the whole
institution to undertake. You would have Hauptmann (who is at the head
of the St. Thomas choir), David, Becker, etc., to work with you; and
there would be the twenty Subscription Concerts to conduct.

Now, what do you think of it? Just turn it over in your mind, and let me
know the result soon, very soon. I fancy these will not be the only
letters we shall exchange on the subject. The matter is of importance,
not only to yourself but to all Germany; and the former consideration,
you know, would be quite enough for me.

So now give me your views as candidly as I have given you mine; and let
me thank you a thousand times, and tell you how proud I am of being
taken into your confidence. I do hope and trust we Germans shall get you
back amongst us.

If you do not like to mention the matter to Bunsen, I am quite ready to
look about for another opening. But Bunsen is the right man, I am
certain. However, first of all, let us see what you think of the two
different plans.

Kindest remembrances to your wife. I will try to fit an orchestral dress
on to the Broadley piece; and if I succeed, will send it to you without
delay. For the present, I am still without books or music, and have
composed nothing but a Sonata for piano and cello. However, the boxes
arrived yesterday; to-morrow we unpack them, and then we will set to
work in good earnest.

Remain ever my friend, as I am yours,

FELIX MENDELSSOHN BARTHOLDY.

       *       *       *       *       *

The above-mentioned scheme concerning the establishment of a
Conservatorio in Leipzig was carried out in March of the following year.
The other plan, that of living and working together in the same city,
was ardently pursued by the two friends, until it was realized in the
autumn of 1846, when Moscheles left London to accept an appointment as
professor at the Conservatorio of Leipzig. The next letters show the
friendly spirit in which Mendelssohn worked to bring about the result,
and the solicitude with which he entered into every detail that might
smooth the path for Moscheles and make his new home attractive.
Moscheles, on the other hand, did not hesitate to abandon the brilliant
and more lucrative position he occupied in London, in order to devote
himself, by the side of his friend, to what he believed to be the
highest and truest aims of Art.

       *       *       *       *       *

LEIPZIG, Jan. 16, 1843.

MY DEAR FRIEND,--I have to thank you and your wife for three very kind
letters; excuse my not having done so before. At a time like that which
we have passed through, when one feels completely unhinged and cannot
regain one’s peace of mind, when all seems dark and hopeless, it is but
gradually one can attempt to return to one’s occupations, even to the
pleasantest of them.[49]

During the first days of darkness not even music, or the thought of
music, could afford me any consolation; but my old love for it soon
returned, and now my little study, with its view on to the fields and
far beyond, is a refuge, in which I gather fresh strength, and can
sometimes feel more cheerful. Any attempt to divert my thoughts into
another channel only tends to increase my sorrow, and leaves me more
depressed than before. I am sure you will forgive my not having written
sooner; you may read between the lines that I really could not have done
so, and that even now I find it difficult to take up the pen.

The Scena for Mr. Broadley accompanies this letter. I have thrown in a
Fugue, and fancy it is the best piece of the whole. It is the
gingerbreadnut they give into the bargain at the sweet-stuff shop. The
idea of it occurred to me in happier days, and I then scored the first
three pieces; the fourth I had commenced when the great trouble came
upon us, and I had to leave everything for weeks just where it was. Now
I have finished it, and beg you to give it with my regards to Mr.
Broadley. Perhaps I may write and enclose a line to him, besides. Thanks
for your kind offer about publishers in England. Under other
circumstances I would have accepted, as I have so often done before; but
just now I need not trouble you, having every reason to be satisfied
with my present publishers.

The transaction with Addison and Benedict was of quite a different
nature. Benedict told me last spring they wished to have my Symphony;
that was all that was said about it. So I wrote to them offering it on
the same terms as the former one. They certainly had given me a better
price than the other publishers, either at that time or since. They
thought it too much, and so I gave the piece to my ordinary publishers
at the ordinary price, and therewith the matter ended. Lately, Benedict
wrote me one of the kindest letters imaginable, that truly delighted and
touched me, and in which I only regretted one thing,--that towards the
end he mentions this long-forgotten incident. But the beginning is so
kind and good that it would take a hundred such allusions to business
transactions to outweigh the impression of his affectionate words. Tell
him that, with my best love. And now I have not yet thanked you for your
very kind and valuable present to Carl.[50] I was going to say you had
given me more pleasure than him, because I so thoroughly enjoy these
bright and graceful combinations; but the boy is so much in love with
the music, and is so proud of his present from Uncle Moscheles, that
nothing can surpass his delight,--in fact, you have started him on his
musical career, for every morning after breakfast he insists on my
teaching him his notes. And the other day, when he had to write to his
godfather Bendemann, and Cécile asked what she was to put for him to
copy, he said, “I have got notes from Uncle Moscheles;” which he wrote
somewhat in this style:--

[Illustration]

But, for all the crookedness of his letters, he feels just as happy and
grateful as you or I would. Why, _our_ letters are quite as crippled, if
we compare them and their words to the sense they should convey.

I postpone saying anything in reference to the chief subject of our last
letters till I am in a fresher and brighter mood. But I should like to
know soon if you have really spoken to Bunsen, and what he said. The
King of Prussia, I know, does not confine himself to native talent.
Proposals would certainly not be expected _from_ you, but would be made
_to_ you, whether coming from here or elsewhere.

Ever yours,

FELIX MENDELSSOHN BARTHOLDY.

       *       *       *       *       *

LEIPZIG, April 15, 1843.

MY DEAR FRIEND,--Thanks for your letter of March 10, which was anything
but a dry business memorandum, as it announced itself, but one of those
kind and friendly letters which I always most heartily welcome. But
now, do tell me what can have given you the idea that I was appointed
Director of the Leipzig Music School, and that “all plans of our living
together in Germany would vanish into thin air,” etc. I am not
appointed, and I am as anxious to have you here as ever, and confidently
trust our plans will not prove castles in the air. You must have taken
some newspaper paragraph for gospel truth; and you know that in my
opinion they have been known to fall very short of that. These are
really the facts:--

Three years ago I endeavored to found a music-school in Leipzig; and
after endless interviews and exchanges of letters with some prominent
men here, and also with the King, I felt, on my return from Berlin, that
there was no time to be lost, and that it was a case of now or never. My
engagements in Berlin did not allow of my accepting a permanent
appointment here; but I took the matter in hand last November, and,
having got the necessary funds, the school was opened, and I engaged to
act as one of the teachers during the time I should remain here. I wrote
to you then, and expressed my ardent desire to see you eventually at the
head of the institution. Nothing has changed my desire since; only, what
was then a long-cherished plan became four weeks ago a reality, and
promises to bear good fruit.

Now, if we could only persuade you to come! Whether I am here or not,
it would be equally desirable to have you at the head of the
institution. So far the Board of Directors is composed of only five
gentlemen, none of whom are musicians. The six teachers are subordinate
to them, but amongst themselves they are on an equal footing. But I
believe that later on, when the institution develops, as seems very
likely to be the case, a change will be necessary, and a musical man
will have to join the Directors, or even to take the lead independently.
And that is the position which, in connection with the Subscription
Concerts, would be worthy of your acceptance. The difficulty is to get
them to make you a definite proposal, both from a business and a musical
point of view. No doubt, they would all like to have you here; but
liking and wishing and thinking alone will not do it; and how absolutely
necessary it is to come to a clear understanding in such matters, I
should have learnt during the course of my negotiations in Berlin, had I
not already been aware of the fact.

Have you received an offer from Prague to take the directorship of the
Conservatorium there? Spohr’s name was mentioned in connection with it,
and so was yours. That he was asked, and that he refused, I know for a
fact. I am anxious to hear whether there is any foundation for the rumor
connecting your name with it.

I do not know what the appointment is like, but am enough of a patriot
to wish that you lived in Germany rather than in England. The paper is
at an end, so good-by.

Yours ever,

FELIX MENDELSSOHN BARTHOLDY.

       *       *       *       *       *

LEIPZIG, April 30, 1843.

MY DEAR FRIEND,--Our last letters crossed on the road. A thousand thanks
for yours that I received a few days ago. You know what heartfelt
pleasure it gives me every time I see that well-known handwriting of
yours on the address, and how grateful I am to you for writing to me,
overwhelmed as you are by every kind of claim on your time. It would
certainly be better if we need never correspond, and could exchange
ideas verbally from one end of the year to the other, and that in
Germany too! That is a prospect I am less than ever inclined to give up;
only, I don’t quite see my way to the where and the how. So, in the mean
while, accept my thanks for the letter. The terms at our music school
are two hundred thalers per annum; the cost of living here, at all
decently, would amount at least to two hundred thalers. Young
Englishmen, who usually live rather better, would probably require from
two hundred and fifty to three hundred thalers,--say fifty or sixty
pounds per annum.

The school has made a fair start; new pupils are almost daily joining,
and the number of lessons and of teachers has had to be considerably
increased. There are already thirty odd pupils, twelve of whom are
instructed free of charge, and some of them are very promising.

We are afflicted, however, with two veritable maladies, which I mean to
fight with all my might as long as I have anything to do with the
institution. First, the Directors want to enlarge and to expand,--build
houses and hire rooms,--whilst I maintain that for the next ten years
the two large rooms that we have, and in which instruction can be given
simultaneously, are quite sufficient. And then the pupils all want to
compose and to theorize, whilst I believe that the principal thing that
can and ought to be taught is sound practical work,--sound playing and
keeping time, sound knowledge of sound music, etc. Out of that, all
other knowledge grows of itself; and what is beyond is not a matter of
teaching, but must come as a gift from above. Don’t you agree with me?
That I am not the man to turn art into mere mechanism, I need not say.
But whither am I wandering? I have got into chatting instead of writing
the two lines I intended. So now good-by.

Yours ever,

FELIX MENDELSSOHN BARTHOLDY.

       *       *       *       *       *

In a letter of the 5th of April, 1844, Moscheles communicates to
Mendelssohn the desire of the Handel Society, that Mendelssohn should
prepare a new edition of the “Messiah.” Moscheles had announced a
concert for the 1st of June; and, in view of Mendelssohn’s expected
visit to England, he writes to ask him whether he is inclined to play on
that occasion some new piece of his own composition for two performers.
“Have you got anything of that kind amongst your manuscripts,” he says;
“or, if not, might not Jupiter evolve something Minerva-like from his
fertile brain?”

       *       *       *       *       *

LEIPZIG, April 12, 1844.

MY DEAREST FRIEND,--A thousand thanks for that dear, kind letter of
yours, that I received (with the one from the Handel Society) just as I
was leaving Berlin. Several weeks must elapse before I can knock at your
door, as I shall be travelling slowly, and stopping at various places.
But I will not postpone thanking you for your letter, and telling you
how much pleasure it has given me. If you knew how deeply rooted is my
heart-felt regard, how warm my admiration for you and your music, there
would be no need to say how delighted I am that you will allow me to
play at your concert and to appear in public by your side. But I know
you are too unassuming ever to listen to anything of the kind; and the
fact is, when it is put into words it really does not look genuine. So I
had better write nothing more about it,--only this much, that I am at
all times truly happy to make music with you, whether in public or in
private. In whatever way you can use me, I am at your service. Let me
write out parts, or collect tickets, or do anything else. If you can
turn me to account, you will make me truly happy and grateful.

I do not think I have anything ready for two pianofortes. There are
those Variations on a theme in B flat; I like them very well in a room,
but they are not at all suited for public performance. What I should
like best would be to write something new by that time; but time is
short. Could not we play something on the organ, or even improvise
together, or write ourselves a four-hand Fugue for the organ? Well, as I
said before, you decide as to the what and how, and I am ready. At the
latest, I shall be in London by the first week in May.

I have the greatest desire to accept the very gratifying offer of the
Handel Society; but I have written to Macfarren to say that I cannot
give a definite answer until I have had an opportunity of verbal
communication. There can be no objection, I suppose, to the delay. Some
of the editorial duties (especially preparing the Introduction) I doubt
if I should be able to undertake; and that makes a verbal understanding
desirable.

Thank you for correcting the proofs of my “Book of Songs;” thank you for
the invitation to play at your concert; in fact, thank you for all these
twenty years that I have known you, and in which you have shown me
nothing but kindness.

Ever yours,

FELIX M.

[Illustration: 27. Mendelssohn’s Congratulations to Moscheles, May 30,
1844. (See page 245.)]

Mendelssohn had been requested by the Handel Society to prepare an
edition of the Oratorio “Israel in Egypt.” Later on, a difficulty arose
in reference to the notation. Moscheles says, in a letter to
Mendelssohn: “A meeting was convened to discuss the subject; and after a
lively debate it was decided that the only way to put before the public
that notation which you saw in the original manuscript, and which you
wish to adopt, would be to publish a fac-simile of it. But that, to be
sure, would be out of keeping with the three works already published by
the Society.”

On the 8th of May Mendelssohn came to London, where he was as
enthusiastically received as ever, whether he appeared before the public
as a composer, a conductor, or a pianist. In Moscheles’s concert he
played, with him and Thalberg, Bach’s Triple Concerto; in which his
performance, and especially his improvisation of the Cadenza, is
described as simply miraculous. On another occasion he played
Moscheles’s “Hommage à Handel,” for two performers, with the composer;
at the Philharmonic he conducted for the first time his
“Walpurgisnacht.”

As on former occasions, he was a constant and welcome guest in Chester
Place. In celebration of Moscheles’s birthday, he drew a second page of
illustrations, referring to Moscheles’s works, as a sequel to the one he
made in 1832. “The writing,” he says, “is again Emily’s; the poem,
Klingemann’s; the design is again invented and the ink-blots omitted by
Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy.” Amongst the various humorous allusions to
Moscheles’s works, we find his song “Silent Love,” represented by a
padlock closing the composer’s mouth. The “March of intellect,
Miss-understanding,” allude to the “Harmonized Scales” written by
Moscheles for his youngest daughter, Clara. The “Scène champêtre”
illustrates the “Concerto Pastorale.” “Les Roses et les épines de la
dédication” show us Moscheles presenting his Concerto to Mendelssohn,
who is bowing and profusely thanking, quite unconscious of the difficult
passage which is lying in wait for him behind his back. The following is
the translation of the lines in the centre of the page:--

    “On and still on, the journey went,
       Yet has he kept us all in view--
     Working in age with youth’s content,
       In living--fresh, in loving--true.”[51]

Mendelssohn left London on the 10th of July; two months later he and
Moscheles met in Frankfurt. Another drawing illustrates an amusing
incident at a concert that Moscheles gave in that city. It is described
in a letter from Moscheles’s daughter Emily:--[52]

       *       *       *       *       *

“The room, long before the concert began, was crammed full, and still
the people were coming. ‘What will the Frankfurters say when they find
no seats?’ said Mendelssohn to Rosenhain. ‘Let us try to hire some
chairs. Come along!’ Off they were, but it was no easy matter to get
chairs; for, it being the time of the fair, there were none to spare in
the crowded hotels. At last they found four dozen in a small inn. ‘These
must be sent immediately,’ says Mendelssohn. ‘But who is to pay?’
inquires the landlord. ‘A great artist, Moscheles, who is giving a
concert. It is all right; your money is safe.’ ‘Stop a minute!’ says the
canny landlord; ‘those great artists often give concerts, pocket the
money, and then disappear. I must have something down.’ Mendelssohn and
Rosenhain empty their pockets, which happen to be poorly filled. The
landlord, however, is satisfied, and they hurry off to the concert-room
with an instalment of chairs inside and outside their cab, the rest
following.

“Another little incident that pleased Mendelssohn mightily, was a
certain C far down in the bass, which my father unexpectedly put in as
he was playing his A flat Study. ‘That took me by surprise,’ he said;
‘it has a splendid effect, and ought not to be forgotten. I must put it
down at once in Mrs. Moscheles’s album.’ He did so, drawing at the same
time the cab, Rosenhain, himself, chairs, and all, but only half a
horse. ‘I can’t draw that by heart,’ he said.”

       *       *       *       *       *

FRANKFURT, March 7, 1845.

MY DEAR FRIEND,--It really was too kind of you to sit down and have a
talk with me on paper, in the good old style. Now I will just leave
everything to take care of itself till I have returned your chat and
thanked you for your never-varying kindness to me. What you say of
musicians and their doings in England, is certainly far from
satisfactory; but where are doings ever satisfactory? Our inner life it
is that is worth living; but then that is a very different thing to our
outer doings,--something very much better. Conducting and getting up
public performances is all very well in its way; but the result, even
for the public, does not go far. A little better, a little worse, what
does it matter? How soon it is forgotten! And what is it but our inner
life, our calm and peaceful moments, that act and react on all this,
that impel us and lead us onwards, taking all that public business in
tow, and dragging it here and there, whichever way it should go?

That is the language of a Philistine (you will say), of a domestic
animal, or a snail. And yet there is some truth in it; and one book of
your “Studies” has had more influence on the public and on art than I
don’t know how many morning and evening concerts in I don’t know how
many years.

Do you see what I am driving at? I should so much like to get that
four-hand Sonata of yours, or some four-hand Studies, or, for that, some
two-hand ones, or whatever else you might send. But, to be sure, your
season is beginning; and how little time is left you for composing and
for your own

[Illustration: 28. Incidents of a Concert at Frankfurt. A Pen Drawing by
Mendelssohn. (See page 246.)]

self, I know full well. But don’t let the English Misses make you forget
the German Misses, and their necessary adjuncts the Misters, who are
waiting for that four-hand Sonata.

As for your feeling hurt by anything the Directors of the Philharmonic
may have decided upon amongst themselves, I can only say you do them too
much honor; their counsels can scarcely pretend to such distinction. On
the contrary, I must confess that after I saw more of them last year, my
good opinion was very much shaken, and my belief, too, in the future
prospects of the Society. I very much doubt whether anything important
can be expected of it; although, to be sure, the end will not come as
long as the public opens its purse-strings. But the fact of the matter
is, there are some very indifferent representatives of the musical
profession that want to take the lead, and are allowed to do so; and the
consequence is, as usual, that misunderstandings arise, intrigues
follow, and the main object to be pursued is neglected. _C’est tout
comme chez nous._ Do not ask where the _nous_ is. It is everywhere. Just
the old thing,--the inner life I was speaking of on the other page: _da
capo del segno fino al_ [Illustration: segno symbol] _e poi_.

I regret the difficulty with the Handel Society, but I cannot alter my
views on the subject. On less important points I am ready to give way;
as, for instance, in reference to the accidentals,--although there, too,
I prefer the old method, on account of the long bars. But I cannot
possibly introduce my marks of expression into a score of Handel’s, nor
my tempi, nor anything else, unless it is to be made perfectly clear
what is mine and what Handel’s; and as he has put his pianos and fortes
and his figured basses where he thought them necessary, I must either
omit them or leave the public in doubt as to which is his marking and
which mine. It would be no great trouble to any one who agrees with my
marking, to have it copied from the pianoforte arrangement into the
score. On the other hand, it would be no slight evil if the edition did
not clearly distinguish between Handel’s and the editor’s views. I must
say that the interest I take in the Society is entirely dependent on the
decision in reference to this point. The edition of the “Anthems” was so
unsatisfactory, on account of the new marking, that I would never use it
for the purposes of a public performance. I wish to know, above all
things, what is Handel’s and what is not. This desire the Council shared
with me last year; but now the opposite views seem to prevail, and if
they are adopted, I for one (and a good many with me, I believe) will
much prefer the old edition, with its incorrect notes, to the new one
with its various conceptions and consequent marking. All that I have
written to Macfarren. I trust you are not angry with me for speaking out
so plainly. My opinion is so intimately connected with what I have held
to be right, all my life, that I could not possibly alter it.

We have had little music here lately. But one great treat was the
performance, at a private house, of Cherubini’s second Requiem, in D
minor. They had given it six months’ study, and it went accordingly.
André has just sent the original score of Mozart’s C major Symphony
(“Jupiter”) for my perusal. I must write out something from it for you
that will amuse you. Eleven bars before the end, it formerly stood
thus:--

[Illustration: musical notation]

The whole repetition of the theme he has written on an inserted leaf;
the above passage is struck out, and only comes in three bars before the
end. Isn’t it a happy alteration? The repetition of the seven bars is
one of the passages in that Symphony I love best.

But here our gossip must end.

Yours ever,

FELIX MENDELSSOHN BARTHOLDY.

       *       *       *       *       *

“Israel in Egypt” was eventually edited by Mendelssohn, appearing in
1845-1846. On the titlepage and in the preface he most carefully guards
against any possible misconception, and says: “The editor is alone
responsible for the directions of ‘piano’ and ‘forte,’ and other marks
of expression; for all such descriptions of the movements as stand
within brackets (those which are not so placed being the only
indications for which the original manuscripts furnish authority); for
the suggestion of the tempi according to Maelzel’s metronome; and for
the figuring of the organ part. The adaptation of the instrumental parts
for the pianoforte, intended as an accompaniment to the voices in the
absence of the orchestra, is by the editor; for this, also, he alone is
responsible.”

       *       *       *       *       *

FRANKFURT, April 12, 1845.

MY DEAR FRIEND,--You must have been as delighted at the news of
Klingemann’s engagement and the prospect of his being married soon, as I
was. No, not quite so much; for when the news came, I danced about the
room for fully five minutes, to the astonishment of Cécile, who thought
I was out of my senses. Well, it has been a pet wish of mine for ever so
long, and now that it is about to be realized I can scarcely believe it.
I had given up all hopes of its coming to pass, and now that it has come
I am doubly glad. It seems, too, so desirable and excellent a match that
I feel sure it must bring happiness.

With us, thank Heaven, all is well. Cécile is in good health and
spirits, the children are flourishing, spring is approaching; what more
can mortal man desire?

You complain of the musical shortcomings in your part of the world.
Well, things are not brilliant here; yet, for all that, one does
occasionally get to hear something good. Add to that the balmy air of
spring, the piano, and some sheets of music paper, and, after all, life
is bearable.

Your old and very affectionate friend,

FELIX M. B.

       *       *       *       *       *

BERLIN, Nov. 13, 1845.

MY DEAR FRIEND,--There is a rumor afloat in Leipzig, and I have met with
it more than once since my return, that you might possibly take up your
abode there, and devote yourself chiefly to the Conservatorio, thus
carrying out, to the advantage of the Leipzigers, your old plan of
settling in Germany. I must say I did not put much faith in the report.
The difference between London and Leipzig is so great that I could
scarcely fancy you would ever make up your mind to leave the former for
the latter. But the other day I heard it asserted positively at an
evening party that you had said you were disposed to settle in Leipzig.
Some one had the news from Hamburg. Unlikely as it seems, I cannot help
writing to ask whether there possibly might be some foundation for the
rumor, and, secondly, whether I could do anything to convert such
possibility into a certainty. I need not tell you how anxious I am to
know, and how important the matter is, not only to me, but to all true
lovers of music in Germany. So pray write as soon as possible how it
really stands, and tell me point blank what steps should be taken to
persuade you, if you are to be persuaded at all; or if you are only
thinking of it in a general way and as a possible contingency, then just
give me an outline of your ideas in an equally general way.

Nothing would be better and simpler, to be sure, if you really were
inclined to decide for Leipzig, than to go straight there and to settle
all details personally. But for the present, my only question is whether
there is any truth at all in the report, or whether it is all idle talk,
such as often gets about, without any foundation whatever. I believe, if
you wrote to say there was a remote chance, the Leipzig Town Council
would petition you in a body, the burgomaster at their head. Of my
personal joy I say nothing to-day. I merely write as a Leipziger. When I
heard the report the other day, I was suddenly seized with patriotic
feelings for Leipzig, and I said to myself, “If I could but do something
to bring this about!”

Good-by. I have been here for the last three weeks, to conduct
performances of my “Athalie,” “Œdipus,” and some other things.

Yours ever,

F. M.

       *       *       *       *       *

Moscheles writes:

       *       *       *       *       *

NOV. 28, 1845.

MY DEAR FRIEND,--As in the times of the Greeks the household gods were
enthroned in every house and were surrounded by love and reverence, so
you too have a special shrine devoted to you in Chester Place,--in our
hearts rather and in our daily thoughts of you and yours.... Now let me
first thank you for the cordial and hearty words you write on the
prospects of my settling in Germany. My wishes in that direction are
ever present,--smouldering embers that your friendly intervention, your
influence, and, above all, the sacred spark of your genius, may kindle
into a bright flame. Your questions remind me of those you put to me as
we were walking arm in arm along the wide streets of London; they were
the same, and now as then I have the same answer to give: Yes--yes--yes!
I have grown indifferent to the so-called attractions of the great
world; the taste of the day does not suit me, and I do not care to make
any concessions to it, whether in public or in private life. What I
aspire to, is an appropriate sphere of musical activity, interesting
surroundings, you by my side, and finally Germany.

The position of head teacher of the pianoforte at the Leipzig
Conservatorio would be very acceptable to me; and I readily assume that
you are the Director of the whole establishment, and that I could work
in the same spirit that, from your first appearance in Leipzig, you
infused into the art life of that musical centre.

       *       *       *       *       *

LEIPZIG, Dec. 20, 1845.

MY DEAR FRIEND,--I most gladly take up the pen to-day; for I believe and
trust that this letter may be instrumental in bringing about the
realization of a wish which we Leipzigers, and more especially I
personally, have long had at heart, remote as seemed the possibility of
its fulfilment.

Yesterday I learned that the Directors of the Conservatorio were about
to write to you officially. Their offers, which will be in your hands in
a few days, will at least prove to you how fully they appreciate the
desirability of securing you and your services for Leipzig. I hear they
have based their proposals on the suggestions you made in your letter to
me, and which I submitted to them on my return. The salary they offer
you is more than double that of any other professor; they agree to the
leave of absence, and, in fact, accede to one and all of your wishes.
When you come to consider that they are ready to draw to the fullest
extent on the means at their disposal, and further, that it would be
hard to find elsewhere so influential and independent a position, I
trust you will be disposed to accept their proposals. I feel all the
more confident of the result, knowing, as I do, your ideas on the state
of things here as compared with that in England, and remembering how
much in earnest you were when we last talked the subject over.

The sum which is to be offered to you (if my information is correct) is
small, according to English notions, but not so, measured by a German
standard. Nor is it small when you take into consideration that it
represents a fixed salary for only two or three lessons daily, and when
you make allowance for the time of ten weeks’ leave of absence; so that,
if you choose to give two or three private lessons besides, you will be
in a more remunerative position than most musical men in this country,
and yet not have to give more than four or five lessons daily. That
would be light work for you, accustomed as you are to the incredible
exertions of London life. You would have leisure enough, and to spare;
and what splendid fruit that might bear for art and for your friends! I
cannot for a moment doubt that, under the circumstances, you will
appreciate the change; and I must say that, from what I hear of the
petty doings over there, and from what I experienced myself eighteen
months ago, I can fully understand that every year brings you fresh
cause for dissatisfaction, and a growing desire to turn your back on it
all. And, really, the position you are asked to occupy is not unworthy
of your acceptance.

One point I must answer, to correct a misapprehension: I am not, and
never shall be, the Director of the school. I stand in precisely the
same kind of position that it is hoped you may occupy. The duties of my
department are the reading of compositions, etc.; and as I was one of
the founders of the school, and am acquainted with its weak points, I
lend a hand here and there until we are more firmly established. I look
upon it as an element of stability that we should have no musical
director placed in authority above the professors,--head masters, as we
call them. These--Hauptmann, Becker, David, and myself (may I soon be
able to add your name!)--form a committee of management on all musical
matters, subordinate to the Directors only, inasmuch as these select the
teachers, manage the business, and are generally the representatives of
the Institute. But all musical matters are submitted to the committee of
teachers, or to the special professor whom they may concern. So, for
instance, any question relating to harmony would be referred to
Hauptmann, whilst Becker would deal with what concerns the organ. The
Board of Directors consists exclusively of prominent
citizens,--non-musicians,--who give their services gratuitously.

And now let me request that if there is anything you do not wish to
mention officially, you will inform me, and give me an opportunity of
contributing to the success of a negotiation which may prove more
fruitful in its results than any we have hitherto undertaken in the
interests of music.

“I scarcely venture to hope, so much do I wish it,” says your wife; and
I, with a better right, echo her words,--for if you both only wish it
half as much as I do, I fancy I may venture to hope.

And now, best thanks for your letter from Paris, that crossed mine on
the road; and my congratulations on your successes, and the dedication
at St. Cloud. As regards the Sonata[53] itself, it is of no use putting
the many questions about it which I am so anxious and impatient to have
answered; but I will make sure that Kistner lets me have the manuscript
without an hour’s delay. And just fancy, now, how grand it will be when
we get that kind of thing before all kings of the French! I do believe
the Leipzigers will get too proud; and yet I should be happy for their
sakes. You see I can write of nothing else to-day. Good-by; let me hear
from you soon.

Ever yours,             F. M.

       *       *       *       *       *

The following letter is in answer to Moscheles’s question in reference
to the cost of living in Leipzig:--

       *       *       *       *       *

LEIPZIG, Jan. 17, 1846.

MY DEAR FRIEND,--Your last letter, and that of your wife, gave me the
greatest pleasure, for they seem to hold out a promise that our wish to
have you here will be fulfilled. I do hope and trust we are not
mistaken. On the day that brings your consent I will drain my best
bottle of wine, and cap it with a cup of champagne. I hasten to answer
your questions, having duly consulted my wife and her account-books with
the following result: The price of a flat--consisting of seven or eight
rooms, with kitchen and appurtenances--varies from three hundred to
three hundred and fifty thalers.[54] For that sum it should be handsome
and cheerful; and as regards the situation, should leave nothing to be
desired. Servants would cost about one hundred to one hundred and ten
thalers per annum, all depending, to be sure, on what you require. Male
servants are not much in demand here, their wages varying from three to
twelve thalers per month. A good cook gets forty thalers a year; a
housemaid, thirty-two. If you add to these a lady’s-maid, who could sew
and make dresses, you would reach about the above-mentioned figure.
Should you require, in addition to these, a man-servant, that, to be
sure, would increase the expense; but living as others do here, I think
you would scarcely need one. Wood--that is, fuel for kitchen, stoves,
etc.--is dear, and may amount to one hundred and fifty or two hundred
thalers for a family of five, with servants. Rates and taxes are next to
nothing: eight or ten thalers a year would cover all. In a word, I think
you would live very well and comfortably on from eighteen hundred to
two thousand thalers. It is difficult to fix the terms for your lessons,
even approximatively, for there is no precedent in Leipzig to go by.
Madame Schumann-Wieck had two thalers, but at that price found only few
pupils, and those mostly among foreigners spending a short time here. I
think that would be different with you, and am confident that if you
chose to say one thaler and a half you would be overrun by applicants.
The same probably would be the case at two thalers. And so I return to
what I said in my last letter: I believe that, putting together the
salary from the Conservatorio and what you would make by private lessons
and the publication of compositions (even if you published ever so
little, but I trust it would be ever so much), your income would suffice
for your expenditure, and it would still be open to you to draw on your
capital or to leave it to bear interest. I do not think I have in any
way looked at things in too favorable a light in giving you these
estimates. I certainly made them after due consideration, and in
accordance with my experience of this place.

Now I have but to add that I have no doubt your furniture will be
allowed to pass free of duty (in fact, I don’t mind making bold to
guarantee that at once); further, that I certainly have composed a
“Lauda Sion” for a church festival at Liege; and finally, that we are
all well, and thinking of you, and expecting with the greatest
impatience your next letter, which is to bring us the welcome news that
you are coming.

Ever yours,

FELIX MENDELSSOHN BARTHOLDY.

       *       *       *       *       *

Moscheles writes:--

       *       *       *       *       *

LONDON, Jan. 26, 1846.

A thousand thanks, my dear friend, for that kindest of letters. In its
way it is as complete as you are yourself in all your creations. Whether
at the Piano or the Organ, from the Song to the Oratorio, in Canon,
Fugue, or Symphony; with the pen (_vide_ certain birthday illustrations)
or with the brush on the Bridge of Sighs--always the same: bright,
gifted, and genial. I am only sorry that my warm appreciation of your
qualities gives me no great advantage over your other admirers; however,
in one respect I am in advance of them, and that is, in the thanks I owe
you. My answer to the Directors I enclose; please seal and deliver it.

       *       *       *       *       *

On the 3d of February Moscheles writes:--

       *       *       *       *       *

“Elated as we were at the prospect before us, our spirits were further
raised by an unexpected invitation to conduct the Birmingham Festival
that I received the other day. Coupled with that, is the good news that
you have promised to take part in it, and to produce a new work of yours
on that occasion; so you can fancy that all is indeed sunshine to me.”

       *       *       *       *       *

LEIPZIG, Feb. 11, 1846.

Hurrah! your decision is taken, you are coming! Let every one of these
lines rejoice! A more welcome piece of news I have not received since I
have been here, and one that promises so rich a harvest for all of us.
There was a flutter of excitement, such as I have never witnessed in our
ranks, when I produced your letter at the Board meeting the other day. I
had kept it all to myself, to lay before the Directors on that occasion;
and when the time came, I announced that I had received your answer, and
here it was with your acceptance, black on white. They were for
answering at once; but as there were several of them, it took a few
days, so that you get their letter with mine to-day. Not only the leave
of absence for three months, but anything and everything you may desire,
will, I am sure, be agreed to. In fact, it is in everybody’s interest
that you should be made perfectly comfortable; and I do believe you will
be satisfied, and will not be unfavorably impressed by the difference
between the stirring metropolis and our petty provincialism. This much
is certain, that you can nowhere find better intentions, and a heartier
desire on all sides to make you feel at home, than here. Since the Fates
have decreed that you shall return to Germany, and since you cannot, in
this most excellent but somewhat peculiar country, hope to escape a
certain amount of gossip and twaddle, whichever place of abode you may
select, I think you will have no reason to regret your choice having
fallen on Leipzig, and I trust you will like it better and better every
year.

My personal feelings I cannot adequately express. How could I tell you
what it is to me, when I think that you are really coming; that you are
going to live here for good, you and yours, and that what seemed a
castle in the air is about to become a tangible reality; that we shall
be together, not merely to run through the dissipations of a season, but
to enjoy an intimate and uninterrupted intercourse? I shall have a few
houses painted rose-color as soon as you really are within our walls.
But it needs not that; your arrival alone will give the whole place a
new complexion. But what is the use of my scribbling, when you are
coming, and we can thank you verbally? Not that that is necessary; you
know too well, without words, how overjoyed we are. Cécile will write a
few words for herself.

Now, you must soon let me have a long, domestic, non-musical letter,
like my last one, so that we can arrange and settle various things for
you before you arrive. Isn’t it delightful that we have got to that
point already?

Your second letter, with the Birmingham news, just comes too. They have
truly done well in securing you as a conductor; and how splendid it
would be if we could meet there! About my “Elijah,” however, I shall not
be able to decide

[Illustration: 29. From a Cast of Mendelssohn’s Hand.]

anything before the middle of next month. The fact is, my health
frequently leaves much to be desired; and all this conducting and
performing often fatigues me greatly. At such times I scarcely believe I
shall be strong enough to go through a musical festival again. If I
possibly can, I most certainly shall go; but as there is considerable
doubt of my being able to do so, I am doubly glad to know that the
matter is in your hands, feeling sure that thus all must go well.

The letter to Jenny Lind I have sent to Berlin; and when I see her a few
weeks hence, I will put it strongly to her, but I scarcely believe she
will be at liberty to accept. It is wonderful how she is sought after on
all sides, and I believe her engagements are fully made up to the end of
the year.

Beethoven’s “Ruins of Athens,” or rather my selections from that work,
would be appropriate, but they have not yet appeared in print. I believe
Ewer & Co. have the score and the copyright. Pischek, I trust, you will
be able to secure; he would be an important acquisition. More of all
that next time. For to-day, good-by. Once more, thanks and--hurrah! you
are coming!

Ever yours,

FELIX.

       *       *       *       *       *

In reference to the “Sonate Symphonique,” Mendelssohn wrote to Messrs.
Stern & Co., publishers, in Berlin:--

       *       *       *       *       *

LEIPZIG, March 20, 1846.

TO MESSRS. STERN & CO., _Music Publishers, Berlin_:

GENTLEMEN,--Kapellmeister Taubert, who is leaving to-morrow for Berlin,
brings you the proofs of Moscheles’s Sonata. I have played it with him,
and have looked it carefully through without having discovered a single
fault, and am happy to find the work of my friend and teacher so
judiciously and correctly presented. I am

Yours truly,

FELIX MENDELSSOHN BARTHOLDY.

       *       *       *       *       *

LEIPZIG, April 20, 1846.

MY DEAR FRIEND,--Many thanks for your last letter, which I received
yesterday. Although I dare say you have heard through Klingemann that I
hope to complete my Oratorio, I write myself to-day to tell you so. If
my health continues as satisfactory as it is at present, I feel
confident I can be ready in time, and will give some sheets to the
copyist within the next few days, with a view of forwarding them to you
without delay. Towards Whitsuntide I trust the chief pieces of the first
part and some of the second will be in your hands. That will be soon
enough, will it not? I am still undecided whether I shall have the parts
printed, as Mr. Moore desires. Why should they not be copied out just as
well? If, contrary to expectation, I should not have finished, I have
enough other manuscripts in readiness, so that I might, as Mr. Moore
suggests, conduct some other new piece of mine. My “Athalie,” for
instance, is now in England, and, if I am not mistaken, is being
translated by Bartholomew; so, if the worst comes to the worst, those
Choruses could be sung. But, as I said before, I trust that will not be
necessary; and if it is not otherwise decreed, I most surely mean to go
to Birmingham. How delightful to see you all again! Excuse my writing so
hurriedly; I am quite incapable of putting together a sensible
letter.--But just one more question: Is it not quite time that you
should give me your orders for Leipzig? That you will be here by next
autumn, I take for granted, and my wife and I ought to set about making
all the necessary preparations. So please let us know.

Thanks for your kind and friendly words in reference to my work, and a
thousand thanks for that beautiful four-hand Sonata of yours, the proofs
of which I corrected and then got as a present into the bargain. I only
wish the time had come already for us to sit together at the piano and
play it.

Best love to your wife and children from

Yours ever,

FELIX.

       *       *       *       *       *

LEIPZIG, May 8, 1846.

MY DEAR FRIEND,--In about a fortnight I hope to send you the score of
the first part of my Oratorio (with the exception of some of the Solo
numbers), that is to say, considerably more than one half of it. The
Choruses of the second part will, I trust, be in your hands in June, the
rest to follow early in July. I should much like Bartholomew to make the
translation, with Klingemann’s occasional advice. Could that be managed?
Then I absolutely require a first-rate high baritone. Can such a one be
found? And what I most require now is an answer to my last letter,
saying that you are all well and happy, and thinking of me.

Yours ever,

FELIX MENDELSSOHN BARTHOLDY.

       *       *       *       *       *

LEIPZIG, May 11, 1846.

MY DEAR FRIEND,--I see by Mr. Moore’s letter, which you enclosed, that
he would rather have the parts printed. I have no objection; but the
question arises whether an English firm would be ready to publish them
under the conditions that Simrock agreed to; namely, that any
alterations I might think necessary should be made in the plates, even
if that necessitated new ones being engraved. Will you be so kind as to
talk this point over with Mr. Buxton, of Ewer & Co., to whom I should
best like to give the manuscript for publication. As there are so many
copies required for Birmingham (42 Sopranos, 20 Violins, etc.), I have
no doubt of his assent.

Then there is another point on which I want your help, or at least your
advice. I mean the question of terms for the work (Choral edition,
etc.). What do you think I ought to ask for it in England? I wished Mr.
Buxton to make me an offer, as I had had some applications for the
copyright from other quarters; and whilst giving him the preference, I
should not like him to be the loser, or to lose myself by the
transaction. He, however, leaves the matter entirely in my hands, and
says he will be agreeable to whatever I propose. What do you think, in
justice to him and to myself, I ought to ask? Please give me your
advice; this matter ought to be settled before the parts are printed.
But now please let me have definite instructions by return of post
whether I am to send the score only, or a copy of the parts also. If, as
Mr. Moore desires, I am to send the latter, that will not prevent my
forwarding the score of the first part of the Oratorio to you in ten or
twelve days; so that the translation can be made from that, whilst the
parts can be copied from my manuscript.

If after all there is no baritone to be got, the whole thing falls to
the ground and the Oratorio cannot be performed. Are neither Pischek,
Staudigl, or Oberhöfer _possible_, as the French say? The latter, I
believe, does not know English; so it rests with the two others.
Good-by. Don’t forget instructions about house-hunting in Leipzig.
Please copy the enclosed; it too concerns the Birmingham Festival.
Excuse trouble and haste.

As ever yours,

FELIX M. B.

P. S. How would it be if I had the orchestra parts printed in Germany
and brought them over with me? The vocal parts, at any rate, would have
to be printed in England, on account of the English words.

       *       *       *       *       *

Of the singers named, it was Staudigl who was eventually selected to
sing the part of Elijah at Birmingham.

In answer to Mendelssohn’s question, what terms he should make for the
copyright of his Oratorio, Moscheles writes:--

       *       *       *       *       *

“I quite feel the responsibility of advising you in the matter; for if
fifty years hence it is said, ‘Mendelssohn received only so many pounds
sterling for this grandest of works, this inexhaustible mine of wealth
to the editor, and that at the suggestion of Moscheles,’ my ashes will
be disturbed in their rest. Well, well, you will nod your venerable
head, and say, ‘Never mind; Moscheles meant well.’

“You do not say what other offers you had, besides that from Buxton. I
think you will find him straightforward in his dealings, and ready to
recognize that the market value of your productions is constantly
increasing. So I should say you might ask £50 more than you did for the
‘Hymn of Praise.’

“One point to take into consideration is whether this work is richer
than the other in Solos, these being a better source of income to the
publisher than Choruses.”

       *       *       *       *       *

Moscheles had probably forgotten the fact that Mendelssohn received only
£25 for his “Hymn of Praise” from Messrs. Novello. The same firm bought
the copyright of his “Elijah,” in June, 1847, for 250 guineas.

It may be interesting to mention here some of the prices given for other
works of Mendelssohn by Messrs. Novello. For his music to Sophocles’s
“Antigone,” £30 10_s._; Duo for Piano and Violin in D, Op. 58, £12
12_s._; “Walpurgisnacht,” £24; Music to “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” (not
including Overture), £47 5_s._; “Hear my Prayer, O Lord,” £4; Concerto
for Violin and Orchestra, Op. 64, £10 10_s._; Book 6 of “Songs without
Words,” Op. 67, £25; Trio in D minor for Piano, Violin, and Violoncello,
Op. 49, £10 10_s._; Trio in C minor for ditto, Op. 66, £20; Six Songs,
Op. 71, £20.

       *       *       *       *       *

LEIPZIG, May 23, 1846.

MY DEAR FRIEND,--As I am leaving this evening for the Rhine, and have
not yet heard from you in answer to my last letter, I send to-day a
complete copy of the first part of my “Elijah” to Messrs. Hüttner & Co.,
Ewer’s correspondents in Hamburg, to be forwarded to you through Mr.
Buxton. I enclose also a copy of the words. This and the score please
place at once in Mr. Bartholomew’s hands, for the purposes of
translation.

May you find something in my score to please you; and may you at least
recognize my good intentions, and reward them with your usual kindness
and friendship!

Ever yours,

FELIX.

       *       *       *       *       *

The next letter refers to the following incident: Mendelssohn had
conducted the Philharmonic Concerts during the season of the preceding
year. On one occasion he arrived late at a rehearsal, owing to
unavoidable causes, and was so discourteously received by some of the
members of the orchestra that he laid down his baton and refused to
proceed. Some of the Directors who were present succeeded, not without
difficulty, in pacifying him; the offenders were requested to leave the
room, and he was finally persuaded to resume his office.

       *       *       *       *       *

LEIPZIG, June 26, 1846.

MY DEAR FRIEND,--The occasion of these lines is a passage in Mr. Moore’s
letter, in which he says: “Nearly the whole of the Philharmonic band are
engaged; a few only are left out, who made themselves unpleasant when
you were there.”

Now, I strongly object to this restriction; and as I fancy you can
exercise your authority in the matter, I address my protest to you, and
beg you to communicate it to Mr. Moore. There is nothing I hate more
than the reviving of bygone disputes; it is bad enough that they should
have occurred. This one of the Philharmonic is, as far as I am
concerned, dead and buried, and must on no account have any influence on
the selection made for the Birmingham Festival. If men are to be
rejected because they are incompetent, that is not my business and I
have nothing to say in the matter; but if it is because “they made
themselves unpleasant when I was there,” I consider that an injustice,
against which I protest. Any further disturbance on the part of these
gentlemen, I am sure, is not to be feared. That at least is my belief,
shared probably by all concerned. So you will sincerely oblige me by
having the selection made exactly as if I were not coming to England.
The only consideration that can be shown me is not to take me into
consideration at all. You will do me a favor by putting this very
strongly to Mr. Moore, and requesting him to let the matter drop. If my
wishes are to be complied with, the incident must herewith end. Should
it be otherwise, I shall write another dozen letters in protest against
what I should consider a spirit of vindictiveness. Excuse all this.

Ever yours,

FELIX.

       *       *       *       *       *

LEIPZIG, July 12, 1846.

MY DEAR FRIEND,--In answer to your letter let me say without delay that
the last time I passed through Birmingham the touch of the organ
appeared to me so heavy that I could not venture to perform upon it in
public. If however it is materially improved, I shall be happy to play
one of my Sonatas; but I should not wish this to be announced before I
had tried the organ myself.

With great pleasure, or rather with--Well, you know what it is to me to
sit at the piano with you, and it needs no words to assure you that I am
at all times ready. You decide, please, what it shall be; my head is
quite full of “Elijah” just now. The Double Concerto of Bach is
beautiful, but not brilliant; that of Mozart rather the other way.
Anyhow, I will bring the former. But I must really be excused as regards
playing a Solo. As it is, I feel the strain of conducting more than I
used, and am no longer capable of playing a Solo and conducting a new
piece of my own at the same concert. Some other instrumental number had
better be put on the programme; that seems to me more appropriate, too,
than having two pieces for the piano. Now, please let me know soon the
date fixed for the Festival, as Mr. Moore has not yet informed me; also
who is going to sing the Solos in my Oratorio. When “Saint Paul” was
performed in Birmingham, it was followed by a selection from Handel’s
Oratorios; I much disapproved of this, and trust it is not to be the
case this time.

Please answer all these questions, and tell me the latest date you can
allow for my arrival;

[Illustration: 30. Medallion of Mendelssohn. Modelled by Knauer, of
Leipzig, soon after the composer’s death, and presented to the Directors
of the Gewandhaus.]

earlier I shall not be able to come, but I hope I may find time to
remain a little afterwards. In the course of next week I will send the
last part of the manuscript.

It is not yet settled whether my wife goes with me, but I think she
will.

With kindest messages, ever yours,

FELIX M. B.

       *       *       *       *       *

LEIPZIG, July 28, 1846.

MY DEAR FRIEND,--Many thanks for your letter of the 18th, giving me the
dates of the Festival and of the rehearsals. Your and Mr. Moore’s former
letters had not stated these definitely; but now that I know them I can
make my plans accordingly, and will be in London on the 17th, in good
time for the rehearsal of the 20th. I should be glad if the Solos could
be rehearsed at the piano on the 19th.

As the morning performances are to last three hours, the “Elijah,” which
according to my calculation takes two hours, will not be enough by
itself. But then I hope it can be so arranged that a whole piece, not a
selection, can be given in addition to it, in the same way as the
“Stabat Mater” stands on the programme for the first day. To be sure, it
must rest with the Committee whether they will give one or two pieces
before; but, however that may be, don’t let us have a ragout afterwards.
If there must be three hours, do pray arrange it so that a single piece
of three quarters of an hour’s duration be chosen. Besides, it would be
a pity to spoil a programme which, as a whole, has a certain look of
distinction about it.

And now I hope and trust we may soon meet again. Best love to all. My
Cécile, I am sorry to say, will not be able to accompany me; too many
reasons stand in the way of her doing so.

Yours ever,

FELIX MENDELSSOHN BARTHOLDY.

       *       *       *       *       *

Notwithstanding Moscheles’s efforts, Mendelssohn’s wishes were not
complied with. After the performance of the Oratorio, Mario sang an air
from Mozart’s “Davide penitente,” Grisi an air by Cimarosa, and the
concert ended with a Chorus by Handel.

       *       *       *       *       *

LEIPZIG, Aug. 9, 1846.

MY DEAR FRIEND,--Once more a line (as our letters have crossed) to say
that I hope to be in London on the 17th, travelling _viâ_ Ostend and
Dover.

All else about Miss Bassano, etc., verbally.

I have just gone through the orchestra parts of the Oratorio, and have
corrected a number of faults, whereby I hope to have saved you much
time. Good-by,--soon to meet.

Yours ever,

FELIX M. B.

       *       *       *       *       *

On the 18th of August Mendelssohn arrived in London, and on the
following day a first rehearsal of the Solos was held at Chester Place.
The Oratorio was performed on the 28th of August. On the 29th Moscheles
wrote: “Your visit to Birmingham, and the production of your ‘Elijah,’
have opened a new world of art to me; your work has made an impression
on my mind that can never be effaced. If I did not tell you so last
night, when so many were pressing forward to congratulate you, it was
because I fancied I felt more, and had more to say, than they. Besides,
I preferred writing, to tell you how deeply impressed I am; for if I do
so verbally, you will only give me the obsolete answer that dates from
your boyhood,--‘There is much room for improvement; give me your
advice,’ etc.,--and that, from you to me, is out of place. Improve,
correct, as much as you think right; tell me why and wherefore you make
this or that alteration; let me learn from you, and gratefully
acknowledge that it is so. You might well put Beethoven’s motto,[55]
‘Man, help thyself!’ on your coat of arms; for God has endowed you with
rare gifts, that permit you to approach Him in the true spirit of
devotion and reverence.”

       *       *       *       *       *

HOBART PLACE, EATON SQUARE, Aug. 29, 1846.

MY DEAR FRIEND,--Your letter, which I just receive, makes me truly
happy. Let me thank you cordially for the friendly sympathy and for the
indulgence with which you have listened to my music. Your kind words of
praise are more to me than words from any other quarter, and a great
deal more than I deserve, according to my own estimation. Thanks,
thanks! that is all I can say just now, although I should like to add so
much. But I will wait till we meet in a day or two, or perhaps till we
are taking some quiet stroll together round the city walls of Leipzig or
elsewhere. Thanks again, and may you ever preserve your friendship and
kind indulgence for me.

Yours for ever and a day,

FELIX MENDELSSOHN BARTHOLDY.

       *       *       *       *       *

LEIPZIG, Oct. 8, 1846.

MY DEAR FRIEND,--I hasten to answer your kind steamer letter, and to say
that I ordered the rooms in the “Blumenberg” a few days after my return,
according to the memorandum in my pocket-book, which your wife dictated.
I called once more at the hotel, on receiving your letter, and made sure
that all was prepared for your arrival on the 21st. The maid with the
requisite capacity for sewing is engaged, and we have been offered two
most eligible suites of rooms for you, which are now anxiously awaiting
your arrival.

The main point, however, I want to answer, my dear Moscheles, is that
referring to your best mode of travelling. I must decidedly advise you
to take _Extrapost_, not only because it is far more convenient when you
are a party of five going so long a distance, but because I believe it
to be no more expensive, in fact rather less so, than the _Schnellpost_,
_Courier_, or any other means of conveyance, all necessitating your
travelling day and night. The only difficulty might be your not having a
carriage of your own,--that is, if, as I believe, you have not taken one
with you. But it just happens that my mother-in-law, who is here,
intends returning to Frankfurt towards the end of the month or early in
November, and wishes to take _Extrapost_. Now, if you could hire a
carriage, you would have the use of it one way, and my mother-in-law
would be glad to take it for the return journey. Thus the only
difficulty is overcome, and you would be obliging her into the bargain.
I have not the slightest doubt this mode of travelling would be far the
most convenient and agreeable for all of you, and therefore most
decidedly advise it in preference to any other. You know that if you
want to travel as quickly in Germany as you do in England, you must not
take _Extrapost_, but _Courier_-horses, which is expensive, although not
as compared to England. If however you do not care for such extra speed,
you give the postilion a tip of ten or twelve groschen, and you will do
the German mile in about three quarters of an hour. Leaving at seven
o’clock in the morning, you will be the first evening in Butlar, the
second in Weimar, where you will find very good accommodation in the
Erbprinz. Please let me know when you start, and about what time you
expect to be here, so that we may meet and welcome you on your arrival.

Everybody here is rejoicing at the prospect of your coming, especially
the musicians, more especially those of the Conservatorio; but far ahead
of any of them,

Yours,

FELIX M. B.

       *       *       *       *       *

Moscheles writes that he expects to arrive on the 21st of October, and
adds: “I go to Leipzig hopeful of the future, and filled with the most
pleasant expectations. On the one hand I look back to England and its
art-aspiring people with the warmest appreciation. On the other I
rejoice at the prospect of living amongst the cultivated and art-loving
citizens of Leipzig.” He arrived on the day fixed, when, as his diary
says, Mendelssohn received him with the affection of a brother, and
rendered him the services of a practised courier. The long-cherished
plan was realized, and Moscheles soon entered on his new duties at the
Conservatorio.

Moscheles was soon comfortably settled in his new quarters in Gerhard’s
Garten,--a spot of historical interest. There the Battle of Leipzig was
once fiercely contested; now, however, it was peaceful and pleasant
enough to make an exceptionally charming place of abode.

At the Conservatorio Moscheles entered on his new duties, which proved
as congenial to his taste as he had expected. The pleasures, too, of
daily musical and friendly intercourse with Mendelssohn he now enjoyed
to the fullest extent.

On the 6th of January Moscheles writes: “It was a pleasant evening we
spent at the Mendelssohns’. Our Felix was invited too, and was
privileged to enjoy such music as usually falls to the lot of the
initiated only. Joachim, our favorite, was there also. Mendelssohn
played us some parts of his yet unpublished ‘Elijah,’ in which, since
its performance in Birmingham, he has made sundry alterations, to which
he attaches much importance; for instance, in those passages where the
widow seeks help of Elijah he has given much more prominence to the part
of the prophet.”

_January 24._--“With David at Mendelssohn’s, who played and sang parts
of his ‘Elijah’ to us. Among the changes and additions he has made, I
was particularly struck by a Terzet in D major for two sopranos and one
alto. All seems now to combine to make this work as varied as it is
great.”

_January 28._--“Mozart’s G minor Symphony at the Gewandhaus. Mendelssohn
took the time of the last movement more moderately than is usually done,
all chromatic modulations thus being brought out much more clearly than
I have been accustomed to hear them.”

During a choir rehearsal of the “Elijah” in the Gewandhaus, Moscheles
took notes of some of Mendelssohn’s directions:--

“‘Out with the vowels! The h_ea_-thens. Who made the heavens and the
w_a_-ters.’

“No. 5. ‘Rather err on the side of vigor than on the side of
drowsiness.’

“No. 8. ‘From the very beginning the music must sound fresh--not only
towards the end.’

“No. 20. ‘I want to hear _Tone_,--what one might call _Music_.’”

Mendelssohn’s last birthday, the 3d of February, 1847, was celebrated by
his friends in Gerhard’s Garten. Old and young had made festive
preparations for the occasion; in the Moscheleses’ drawing-room a stage
had been erected, and every scrap of domestic talent was enlisted to
entertain the hero of the day. Cécile Mendelssohn and her sister, Mrs.
Schunck, opened the proceedings with a comic dialogue between two
lady’s-maids, spoken in the Frankfurt dialect. Then the word
“Ge-wand-haus” was enacted as a charade. Joachim, adorned with an
eccentric wig, appeared as Paganini, and executed a brilliant
improvisation on the G-string (in German, _Ge_-Saite). The scene
between Pyramus and Thisbe in the “Midsummer Night’s Dream” followed and
stood for _Wand_ (wall). To illustrate the syllable _Haus_ (house), Mrs.
Moscheles had written a little domestic scene; and when, in the course
of this, Moscheles, dressed as a cook, made his appearance, Mendelssohn
burst into a truly Homeric fit of laughter. He was sitting in a large
wicker-work arm-chair; and as, in the fulness of his enjoyment, he
rocked to and fro, the chair joined in, bending and creaking in
sympathetic rhythms. It was not till after a long interval that the cook
could get a hearing. As a finale, the whole word was represented by the
combined juvenile forces of the two families, each of the children being
provided with some instrument, and Felix Moscheles wielding the
conductor’s baton. Joachim led with a toy-violin. Of however doubtful a
nature this musical treat may have been to Mendelssohn, he certainly
entered most fully into the spirit of the thing, and appreciated every
allusion to the real Gewandhaus; especially when Joachim made certain
remarks in imitation of the master himself, Mendelssohn started off
again, and the endurance of the sympathetic arm-chair was put to the
utmost test.

After the performance, actors and public adjourned to the first floor,
occupied by the Schuncks. In the centre of the supper-table stood the
birthday cake, around which burned thirty-seven candles. At the foot of
each, Mrs. Moscheles had written a few words descriptive of the year it
represented,--from the cradle to the piano and the conductor’s desk;
from his first attempt at composition to “Saint Paul,” “Elijah,” and the
“Opera _in spe_.” In the centre stood the “Light of Life,” that was so
soon to fail!

In the month of April of this year Mendelssohn visited England for the
last time. He conducted three performances of “Elijah” in Exeter Hall,
and was again active at the Philharmonic Concerts. On his return from
England, the news reached him of the death of his sister Fanny Hensel.
To her he had been linked throughout life by the closest musical
sympathy and affinity, and it was thought he never quite recovered from
the shock caused by her sudden death, rendered doubly painful by its
occurring during his absence from Berlin, and at one of her own musical
matinées.

At this time Moscheles and his wife, who were making a short visit in
England, received the following letter from Mendelssohn:--

       *       *       *       *       *

BADEN-BADEN, June 9, 1847.

MY DEAR MRS. MOSCHELES,--When I received your very kind letter, but
could not answer it at once in the hurry of the last London days, I
pictured to myself the pleasure of writing to you in a cheerful,
pleasant tone, from some favorite spot in Switzerland, perhaps with
illustrations or something of the sort. Now all that is changed. You
know the heavy affliction which has befallen us, and how our inward and
outward life has been shaken to its innermost depths, for a long, long
time to come, perhaps forever. I am sure you sympathized with us in our
irreparable loss, although you and Moscheles knew my sister but little.
You can fancy, however, what I feel,--I, to whom she seemed present at
all times, in every piece of music, and on all occasions, whether of
happiness or of sorrow. Indeed, such is the case with us all; words are
nothing at such a time; and yet I cannot speak of anything else. Forgive
me, then, if these lines contain little else than hearty thanks for the
letter above mentioned, which was another kindness added to the many
which followed every step of my last visit to London.

We shall not go to Switzerland under the circumstances; for we could not
now derive any real pleasure from the journey, and probably I shall
return to the North sooner than I intended. I often feel irresistibly
drawn to Berlin, where my youngest sister is now all alone. My brother
has been here for the last week; and certainly nothing can do us so much
good as our walks in the woods, the secluded and regular life we are
leading here, and, above all, the hours we spend with the children. My
brother has brought his contingent of young people; and they, as well as
mine, are in excellent health and spirits, and delight everybody who
sees them. Cécile too is quite well, thank Heaven; however, deeply
afflicted.

I hope to hear a favorable account of your visit to England, and trust
you will not remain too long; so that the Leipzigers, and, above all,
those pianoforte pupils of yours, may get their full share of that
instruction which they are thirsting for. The Londoners will, to be
sure, say the same thing; but you have spent so many years amongst them
that you must now do something for the German cockneys, or country
cousins, or whatever you may choose to call them, whose faults I know as
well as anybody, but who have also their good and admirable qualities,
provided one can get over their cockneyism and old-fashioned ways. But
that requires time, and it is for this reason I want you to come soon.
What! I hear you say, that I may lose no time in getting used to the
manners and customs of the natives? No, I answer; but to help us wage
war on the pigtail.

Remember me kindly to all our dear English friends. I need not say that
this letter is meant for Moscheles as well. Heaven grant health to you
and yours! and remember kindly your

FELIX MENDELSSOHN BARTHOLDY.

       *       *       *       *       *

Of the numerous notes exchanged after Mendelssohn’s return we transcribe
only the following:

       *       *       *       *       *

LEIPZIG, Oct. 7, 1847.

_My dear Friend_,--As you kindly promised me your visit for to-morrow
afternoon, could you not make it convenient to stay and spend the
evening with us? And would not your wife, Mr. and Mrs. Roche, Serena,
Felix, and Clara join you then, and take tea with us? That arrangement
would give great pleasure to Cécile and the children.

Now, I hope you all think as they do, and will say yes, and delight

Yours (in the singular and plural),

FELIX M. B.

       *       *       *       *       *

This was the last note from the hand of Mendelssohn that Moscheles
received. The days that the two friends should spend together on earth
were numbered, but nothing foreboded the hour of separation that was so
soon to strike. In Moscheles’s diary we find daily memoranda of the
usual friendly intercourse with Mendelssohn.

So on the 3d of October:--“In the afternoon we treated ourselves to some
Fugues and Gigues of Bach’s, and I was struck by Mendelssohn’s intimate
acquaintance with them. Then he gave us an imitation on the piano of a
certain Polka which had been inflicted on him daily by a band of street
musicians in Frankfurt. The trivial as well as the serious is food to
his mind, and his impressions on all sides are turned to account in his
compositions.”

_October 5._--“I spent the whole afternoon with Mendelssohn. He was
pleased to see me, and we chatted confidentially on art and artists and
Leipzig affairs generally. He played me a manuscript Quartet for string
instruments in F minor, the four pieces of which are all in that sombre
key. The impassioned character of the whole seems to me in keeping with
his present frame of mind, shaken as he is to the heart’s core by the
loss of his sister.”

_October 7._--“Mendelssohn called to fetch me for a walk. In spite of
the falling rain, we went to the Rosenthal, and time flew amid the most
interesting conversations.”

_October 8._--“Examination of pupils for reception at the Conservatorio.
Mendelssohn, who took an active part in the proceedings, tested them in
thoroughbass and wrote out examples on the blackboard. Whilst they were
at work, he sketched the most delightful landscapes--ever a creative
genius!... Passed a most interesting afternoon and evening with
Mendelssohn. He played his Violoncello Sonata in D major with Rietz, and
the two Beethoven Sonatas, Op. 102; then my Sonate Symphonique with me.”

On the following day, the 9th, another walk in the Rosenthal is recorded
in the diary. It was a day not to be forgotten. Mendelssohn had much to
tell of his last stay in England. He related the charming incidents of
his visit to Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, and spoke of many mutual
friends. At one o’clock he parted from the Moscheleses in the most
cheerful mood; but it was only a few hours later that he was attacked
by the illness from which he never recovered; and now followed days of
anxiety and suspense, broken only by hopes that were not to be realized.

_November 3._--“Mendelssohn better in the morning. In the afternoon
another apoplectic stroke, depriving him of all consciousness. In the
evening Charlotte and I, Madame Frege, David, and Schleinitz remained in
the house till eleven o’clock.”

“_Thursday, November 4._--Before the day dawned my Felix had been to
inquire, but could only bring us the most disheartening news.”

The end was approaching. Moscheles’s own words best describe the
incidents of this, Mendelssohn’s last day. In the anteroom of the
death-chamber he wrote:[56]--

“Nature! demandest thou thy rights? Angels above, in heavenly spheres,
do ye claim your brother whom ye regard as your own, as one too high for
intercourse with us ordinary mortals? We still possess him, we still
cling to him; we hope, by God’s grace, to keep still longer amongst us
one who has ever shone upon us, a pattern of all that is noble and
beautiful, the glory of our century! To thee, O Creator, it is known why
Thou hast lodged those treasures of heart and soul in so frail a
tenement, that now threatens to dissolve! Can our prayers win from Thee
the life of our brother? What a glorious work hast Thou accomplished in
him! Thou hast shown us how high he may soar heavenwards, how near he
may approach Thee! Oh, suffer him to enjoy his earthly reward,--the
blessings of a husband and father, the ties of friendship, the homage of
the world!”

“_Noon._--The doctors Hammer, Clarus, and Walther watch in turn by his
bedside. Schleinitz writes out a bulletin that gives no hope. Dr. Frege
and his wife and I are waiting anxiously near the sick-room. The doctors
say that if no fresh attack on the nerves or lungs supervenes, the
apparent calm may lead to a happy turn....

“_Midnight._--From two o’clock in the afternoon, at the hour when
another paralytic stroke was dreaded, he gradually began to sink; he lay
perfectly quiet, breathing heavily. In the evening we were all by turns
assembled around his bed, contemplating the peaceful, seraphic
expression on his countenance. The memory of that scene sank deeply into
our hearts. Cécile bore up with fortitude under the crushing weight of
her sorrow; she never wavered, never betrayed her struggle by a word.
The children had been sent to bed at nine o’clock. Paul Mendelssohn
stood transfixed with grief at the bedside of his dying brother. Madame
Dirichlet and the Schuncks were expected in vain,--Dr. Härtel had
travelled to Berlin to fetch them and Dr. Schönlein, but they could not
arrive in time to witness the closing scene.

“From nine o’clock in the evening we expected every moment would be the
last; a light seemed to hover over his features, but the struggle for
life became feebler and fainter. Cécile, in floods of tears, kneeled at
his pillow; Paul Mendelssohn, David, Schleinitz, and I, in deep and
silent prayer, surrounded his death-bed. As his breathing gradually
became slower and slower, my mind involuntarily recurred to Beethoven’s
Funeral March, in the ‘Eroica Symphony,’--to that passage where he seems
to depict the hero, as he lies breathing his last, the sands of life
gradually running out:

[Illustration: musical notation]

“The suppressed sobs of the bystanders and my own hot tears recalled me
to the dread reality.... At twenty-four minutes past nine he expired
with a deep sigh. The doctor persuaded the widowed Cécile to leave the
room. I knelt down at the bedside, my prayers followed heavenwards the
soul of the departed, and I pressed one last kiss on that noble forehead
before it grew cold in the damp dew of death.”

       *       *       *       *       *

Moscheles remained in Leipzig, henceforth looking upon the Music School
as on a precious heirloom, bequeathed to him by its founder; and during
a period of twenty-three years--that is, until but a few days before his
death in March, 1870--he labored with untiring energy and devotion to
instruct the rising generation of musicians, and to instil into their
minds those artistic convictions and principles that had always been
dear to him and to Mendelssohn.



INDEX.


Academy, at Berlin, sadness of its aspect, 31.

Addison & Beale, Messrs., pay twenty guineas for a
    copyright of Mendelssohn’s works, 181;
  draw money from, 188.

Addison and Benedict, transactions with, 237.

“Alexander’s Feast,” choruses from, 88.

Alexander, Mary, “Impromptu” for, 85;
  good things in “Impromptu,” 85.

Andante in B flat, description and analysis of, 58.

“Anthems,” new edition of, unsatisfactory, 252.

Arnim, conductor of musical affairs, 46.

Art Exhibition, open at Berlin in October, 34.

Art should be a mirror reflecting the character of the times, 112;
  grateful for that which has a life of its own, 194.

“Athalie,” translated by Bartholomew, 269.

“Au Clair de la Lune,” popular song of, 20.

Auber, his “Gustave III.,” 129.

Aix-la-Chapelle, musical festival at, 103.


Bach, Johann Sebastian, his “Passion,” performance of,
    for benefit of charitable institution, 8;
  public loud in demand for third performance, 8;
  pieces played together, 31;
  similar compositions, 31;
  his Concerto, 52;
  Fugues of, 70;
  monument to, 198;
  Triple Concerto, 245.

Ball, Mr., translator, 155.

Bärmann, his enchanting concert, 53.

Bassano, Miss, reference to, 278.

“Becken,” its double meaning, 57.

Becker, head-master of music school, 260.

Beethoven, his musical sketch-book, ideas from, for grand Mass, 47;
  chaotic appearance of its pages, 47;
  a puzzle even to the initiated, 47;
  description of, 47;
  the cherished master, 47;
  his Concerto and Sonata, 52;
  his habit of conducting, 93;
  motto, “Man, help thyself,” 279.

Belleville, Madame, her success, 26;
  not attractive to Berlin people, 26;
  performs at the theatre between two comedies, 26;
  her playing lacks soul, 26;
  not a “Bellevue,” 29;
  burlesque of her performance, 30;
  reference to her performance, 53;
  affectation of, 62.

Bellini, gazetted Knight of the Légion d’ Honneur, 129.

Bennett, his new Concerto, 170.

Berger, Symphony by, 52;
  its execution bad, 52;
  dissatisfaction of, 52.

Berlin, letter from, 201.

Berlin Society, an awful monster, 61.

“Berliners,” type of, 25;
  their musical taste, 34.

Berlinese, not exactly noted for good nature, 115.

Berlioz, recognized as a genius by the French, 93;
  his Overture, is prosaic and chaotic, 97;
  his scores, a frightful muddle, an incongruous mess, 97;
  his Symphony, 133.

Biography of Mendelssohn and Moscheles, compiled chiefly from diaries, xii.

Birmingham Festival, full particulars of, 115;
  reference to, 122.

Birmingham, invitation to, 201.

Blagrove visits the Choral Society, 88.

Blahetka, Madame, her superiority, 27.

Blahetka, Mademoiselle, 53.

“Blue Devils” stand for melancholy, 20;
  first movement is styled “Malin-conico,” 144.

“Blumenberg,” rooms ordered in, 280.

Book of Songs, collection of, 219.

Books, returned by Mendelssohn with thanks, 74.

Breitkopf and Härtel publish book of unknown compositions, 31.

Broadley, Mr., instructions in reference to German publication, 218;
  Scena for, 236.

Browning, tribute to Moscheles’s memory, 21.

Bunsen, Prussian ambassador at St. James, 232;
  his counsels have great weight, 232.

Burghersh, Lord, and the Philharmonic, 202.

Burton, Mr., desired to make an offer for the Oratorio, 271;
  straightforward in his dealings, 272.

Byron, Lord, is read by Mendelssohn, 42;
  chorus on, in “Faust,” 90.


“Calm Sea, and Prosperous Voyage,” 141.

Cantata, “Hora est,” 10;
  on a Chorale in A minor, 12.

Capriccios, or Fantasias for pianoforte, 107.

Carnival, excuse for keeping aloof from, 91.

Cécile, wife of Mendelssohn, 158.

Cerberus, intimations from a, 73.

Chappell, mention of, 11;
  opera for, 195.

Cheapside, calm and quiet of, 86.

Cherubini, his new opera, “Ali Baba,” 119;
  his Faniska and Lodoiska, difference between a man and a scarecrow, 119;
  caters to depraved musical taste, 120;
  his “Abencerrages,” 198;
  his second Requiem in D minor, 253.

Chester Place, two years’ absence from, 22;
  changes there, 28;
  maze of its associations, 22;
  more than a dream, 22;
  wish to be there, 22;
  a constant visitor at, 66;
  its brilliant circle, 66.

Cholera, a Russian gift, 25.

Chopin, his book of Mazurkas, 129;
  at Hamburg, 138;
  his new things not satisfactory, 156;
  his Studies have much charm, 171.

Choral Society, its performance, 120.

Chorley, H. F., cultivated young man on the “Athenæum,” 192;
  mention of, 194;
  a truly good fellow, 195;
  and Moscheles, 210;
  letters from, 214.

Chorus, “Hora est,” 12.

City of Steeples, 85;
  “Alsterbassin,” 26;
  no comfort wanting in, 25.

Clarus, Dr., attends Mendelssohn in his last sickness, 292.

Collard, mention of, 11.

Cologne, return from a trip to, 99;
  its public, 100;
  its musicians, 100;
  intolerable as a residence, 100;
  visit to, not pleasant, 166.

“Come to Berlin,” fugue in fifteen parts, 28.

Coming of the Spring the best opera, 63.

Commercial Club, called “The Parliament,” 126.

Composer, his mind preoccupied, 95.

Composition, kind required, 102.

Concert, money value of, 33;
  best time for, 33;
  hall expenses, etc., 33;
  terms stipulated for, with directors of opera, 40.

“Concerto Pastorale,” Moscheles refers to, 174;
  letter accompanying, 182;
  announcement of, 185;
  dedication of, 194.

“Cortez,” new opera of, 39;
  sons of Mars applaud mightily, 39.

“Court,” its meaning in conjunction with title, 41.

Court in Berlin, 91.

Cramer, mention of, 11, 66.

Cravat, practice in tying, 74.


David, F., wishes to go to London, 178;
  an excellent performer, his compositions brilliant, 178;
  played his new Concerto at the Philharmonic, 180;
  a favorite at Chester Place, 182;
  colleague to Moscheles at Leipzig Conservatorio, 182;
  Mendelssohn invokes a kind reception for, 186;
  a fine musical critic, 187;
  head-master of music school, 260.

“De la Vie d’un Artiste,” new symphony for, 112.

Denmark, visited by Moscheles, 13.

Derossi, Signor, call for, 87;
  opposition to, 87.

“Der Schmidt,” by Uhland, 219.

De Vrughtat Chester Place, 104.

Devrient, Eduard, actor and writer on dramatic art, 4.

Directors of the Philharmonic, 251.

Dirichlet, professor of mathematics, etc., 77.

Dirichlet, Madame, mention of, 141.

Discourtesy at rehearsal, 274.

Dispute with the Philharmonic, a dead and forgotten issue, 275.

Döhler is lionized, 170.

“Don Juan,” opera, theatrical success of, 86.

Double Concerto in E in Clementi’s piano manufactory, 13.

Dreyschock, a young pianist from Prague, 187, 203.

Dresden, Moscheles’s visit to, 40.

Düsseldorf, musical festival at, 66;
  its pleasant impression on Mendelssohn, 81.


“Egmont,” performed with Beethoven’s music, 90.

Elberfeld, village near Düsseldorf, 127.

Eldon, Lord, overture to, 114.

Elsslers, the, called the “Telegräfinnen,” 53.

“Elijah,” copy of, placed in Bartholomew’s hands for translation, 274;
  alterations of parts of, 283;
  time taken for its performance, 277.

Elkamp, Mr., writes a “Saint Paul,” 138.

England, the impression it gives, 16;
  regard of, for Moscheles, 17;
  country makes a lasting impression on Mendelssohn, 17;
  many years spent there, 288.

English, Mendelssohn rusty in, 168.

English, their custom of putting everything in the papers, 189.

English comfort, the happiness of, 229.

English Misses should not forestall German, 251.

Envy, like Hercules, throttled in its cradle, 155.

Erard, compliment from, 54;
  offers to repair piano, 166;
  presents Mendelssohn with new instrument, 166.

“Eroica Symphony,” suggestive passage in, 293.

Ewer & Co., Mendelssohn prefers to give manuscript to, 270.

Exeter Hall, 286;
  “Elijah” performed there, 286.

Extracts, how made, x;
  substance embodied in commentary, x;
  subject-matter of, from the pen of Moscheles, x.

“Extrapost,” slow transit of, 282.


“Fall of Paris,” and Alexandrian Variations, 20, 134.

Family, transformation of, 60.

Fantasie, “Gipsies’ March,” 63;
  manuscript of, 63;
  joint work of authors, 64;
  the share of each, 64;
  the intimate fusion of two musical minds, 64;
  Moscheles’s letter on, 64.

Fates, decree of, 265.

Fétis, disagreeable qualities of, 197.

First visit to a foreign land, 16.

Fleming, Mr., re-elected to a seat in Parliament, 126.

Foreigner, things difficult made easy to, 16.

Francilla, mention of, 152.

Frank, Dr., Mendelssohn wishes to show A major Symphony to, 111;
  errors of, 111;
  minuet and finale of, 111.

Frankfurt, Oratorio to be brought out at, 137.

Frege, Dr., waits anxiously near the sick-room, 292.

Friendship, characteristics of Moscheles’s and Mendelssohn’s, ix.


Ganz Brothers desire to visit London and Paris, 62.

“Gazette Musicale” exalts Berlioz’s Requiem, 165.

Gerhard’s Garten, a spot of historical interest, 283.

German Diet, allusion to, 24.

Giermann, Mr., commissioned to pay for disbursements, 29.

“Gipsies’ March,” “April Variations” of, 89.

Goethe, the “Pole-star of poets,” 19;
  correspondence with Zelter, 90.

Goethe’s and Zelter’s letters, great merits of, 100.

Goethe, Frau von, sends thanks for Variations, 115.

Graban, Mademoiselle, “prima donna,” 145.

Grabbe, immersed in the bottle, 128.

Gratitude for happy days, way of showing, 22.

Great composers, the way to honor them, 197.

Green-Score Hotel, Leipzigerstrasse, 28.

Guhr, the only man who succeeds, 151.

Guildhall, meetings at, 24.

Gusikow, mention of, 152.


Hamburg, letter in sixteen parts from, 25;
  to Berlin, journey requires thirty-four hours, 45;
  fire, sufferers from, 227.

Hammer, Dr., watches Mendelssohn, 292.

Hand-clapping, time of continuance, 13.

Handel, his glorious style, 119.

Handel Society desires a new edition of “Messiah,” 242;
  its generous offer, 244;
  request for Oratorio, 245;
  difficulty with, 251.

Handel’s Oratorios, selections from, 276.

Handley, Mrs., Mendelssohn a warm admirer of, 99;
  her appearance beside her husband, 99.

Härtel, Dr., his effort for Mendelssohn, 292.

Hauptmann, his first Mass performed at St. Thomas’s Church, 230;
  head master of music school, 260.

Hauser, beautiful joke of, 139;
  sends Bach’s Concertos, 153.

Health, book on, 73.

Hegel lectures at Berlin University, 4.

Hensel, painter, marries Mendelssohn’s eldest sister, 15.

Henselt’s Studies, interest in, 171.

Herz, hissed by the public, 112.

Hiller, studies of, 133;
  Paris, bad soil for, 133;
  his merit as a pianoforte player, 151.

Hogarth, Mr., certificate enclosed for, 168.

“Hommage à Handel,” piece for two performers, 140, 245.

Hôtel de Rome in Berlin, recommended, 45.

House-hunting, instructions about, 271.

Hübner, Madame, dress critic, 92;
  asks if cravat is English, etc., 102.

Hummel, Septet of, and Herz’s Variations, 26;
  mention of, 66;
  a good man needed to supersede him, 176.

Hüttner & Co., Ewer’s correspondents in Hamburg, 273.

“Hymn of Praise,” value of, 209, 272.


“Im Herbst,” by Uhland, 219.

Immermann, poet and dramatist, 127;
  his “Münchhausen,” and epic poem “Tristan and Isolde,” 127.

“In Autumn,” a song and words by Uhland, 130, 131, 132.

“Infelice,” inspires Mendelssohn’s praise as a popular song, 4;
  Scena written for the Philharmonic, 86.

“Israel in Egypt,” choruses selected from, 117, 245;
  edited by Mendelssohn, 253.

Italian mannerism of Thalberg, 153.

Italian symphony, 60.

Italy, visited by Mendelssohn, 18;
  stupid book about, 123.


“Jagd,” Lutzow’s, 126.

Jenny Lind, letter to, 267.

Joachim, musical favorite, 283;
  appears as Paganini, 284.

“Joan of Arc,” overture to, 118;
  begged to be repeated, 144.

“Judas Maccabæus,” first part of, 120.


Kalkbrenner at Hamburg, 138;
  the little fish patty, 139.

Kammerherr, surprise and astonishment of, 145.

Kistner sends “Gipsies’ March” to Frau von Goethe, 94;
  anxious about new book of Studies, 159.

Klingemann, Carl, a gifted poet, 4;
  meeting with, 19;
  fit to flirt but
not to marry, 37;
  a Knight of the Order of Bachelors, 37;
  becomes engaged in 1846, 37;
  his Septet, 51;
  writes out eleven notes of Septet, 57;
  report in his last letter, 60;
  goes to London, 61;
  arrival of, 78;
  not prodigal of words, 85;
  will make alterations, 96;
  his engagement and prospect of marriage, 254.


Lafont, expected at Berlin, 53.

“Lauda Sion,” composed for church festival, 263.

Leipzig, Rondo to appear at, 85;
  Abonnement Concerts held at, 137;
  its cultivated and art-loving citizens, 252;
  cost of living there, 262;
  Conservatorio, Moscheles enters upon his duties there, 283;
  the pleasures of daily musical and friendly intercourse, 288.

Leipzigers wish to secure Moscheles for direction of Conservatorio, 256;
  large salary offered, 258;
  a position influential and independent, 258.

Leipzigerstrasse, Mendelssohn’s father safely lodged in, 77.

“Les Francs Juges,” Overture by Berlioz, 93.

Letters, passages in, not suppressed, ix.

“Light of Life,” emblem of, 286.

Lindblad, Swedish composer, 152.

Lindenan, his kindly remembrance of Mendelssohn, 41;
  pleased with him as violinist, 139.

Liszt, his depressing harmonies, 136;
  writes from Milan, 165;
  and Chopin, difference of their genius, 170;
  masterly execution and subtle musical feeling, 203;
  lack of original ideas, 203;
  more than a mere pianist, 204.

Littleton, Messrs, manuscript of assignment, etc., 66.

London, advantages for travel, as compared with Vienna, 7;
  reception in, 17;
  arrival in, 19;
  the best way to make enjoyable, 128;
  Mendelssohn’s triumphs there, 164;
  life in, requires great exertions, 259.

“Lord God of Israel,” may be sung to “Ave,” 126.

“L’Ours et Pacha,” vaudeville melody in, 94.

“Lovely City,” reference to, 26.

“Lyre and Sword,” Weber’s, 120.


“Maitrank,” drink of hock, herbs, and sugar, 104.

Malibran, mention of, 66.

Manuscript, offers to bring a cab-full, 12.

Matrimonial alliance, playful allusion to, 40.

“Meeresstille,” 52.

Meerti, Miss, has won golden opinions, 196;
  goes to Dresden, and is invited to sing at Court, 196.

“Melodies for the Pianoforte,” 65;
  number of copies disposed of, 66.

“Melusine,” Overture of, 92;
  has vigorous spirit and conception, unity and originality, 92;
  it is studied with Mori, 92;
  piano parts of, 92;
  the Philharmonic did not like it, 102.

Mendelssohn, A., letter to Moscheles, 5;
  invokes a welcome for his son, 5;
  states the plans and purpose of his son’s travels and education, 5;
  death of, 147.

Mendelssohn, Carl, eldest son of composer, x;
  supplies copy of Moscheles’s letters, x.

Mendelssohn, Cécile, wife of Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy, xiv;
  carries her burden with dignity and resignation, xiv;
  her care of his study, xiv;
  admires his love of order, xiv;
  his study her sanctuary, his music her secret treasure, xiv;
  opens its door to Felix Moscheles, xv;
  no sigh or murmur escapes her, xv;
  bond of union between her and Mrs. Moscheles, 224.

Mendelssohn, Felix, Bartholdy, his letters arranged by Ignaz Moscheles, ix;
  manuscript book, ix;
  his genial expression of personal feelings, ix;
  letters of, addressed to Mrs. Moscheles, x;
  incident truly characteristic of, xiv;
  lively discussion with Rietz, David, and Moscheles, xiv;
  the _aoristus primus_ of τὑπτω, xiv;
  his death, xiv;
  description of his study, xv;
  busts of Goethe and Bach there, xv;
  cultivates his natural gifts, 4;
  attends lectures of Hegel, Ritter, etc., 4;
  position as composer and pianist, 4;
  seeks advice
from Moscheles at to best travel route, 5;
  wishes to make a long stay in Italy and France, 6;
  purpose to visit Vienna, Munich, London, 6;
  seeks acquaintance of men eminent in art, 6;
  completion of his compositions interfered with, 9;
  seeks Klingemann’s address, 9;
  arrival in London, 10;
  favorite in London circles, 13;
  welcomed as genial companion and artist, 13;
  his sin of excuses, 14;
  gratitude to Mrs. Moscheles, 14;
  his Highland tour, 15;
  returns to London, 15;
  his injury by accident, 15;
  celebrates the silver wedding of his parents, 15;
  finishes “The Son and Stranger,” operetta, 15;
  stops a fortnight at Weimar, invited to Goethe’s house, 18;
  starts on his continental tour, 18;
  writes “The Isles of Fingal” at Rome, 20;
  his curiously illustrated drawing, 20;
  excuses for, on score of genius, 24;
  an egotist, 27;
  his fits of depression, 32;
  sees the whole world in pale gray tints, 32;
  would sometimes rather be a carpenter or turner, 35;
  feels unspeakably dull, 36;
  color of his mother’s shawl, 38;
  his splenetic mood, 38;
  living much as an asparagus, 44;
  his is not a drawing-room melancholy, 45;
  wrote stupidly because stupid, 45;
  not a “spoilt child,” etc., 45;
  fête for Moscheles and grand music, 45;
  his childlike joy, 48;
  his interest in music and musicians, 48;
  feels the fog lifting, 48;
  his aspirations as godfather, 51;
  his godchild, 57;
  first present he makes to him, 57;
  happy in the happiness of his friends, 57;
  traces of moodiness in his compositions, 58;
  enjoys the quiet of his room, 58;
  suffering of his father, 58;
  joins his sister in Sunday morning music, 58;
  receives grass-green volume of Moscheles, 58;
  congratulates Moscheles on his new-born son, 59;
  allusion to the children of the family, 59;
  his love of London, 60;
  how he escapes bores, 61;
  evening spent with his parents, 61;
  first present to his godchild, 69;
  his peculiar autograph album, 69;
  Cradle Song in B flat, 69;
  anxiety on account of accident to his father, 69, 77;
  assumes the duties of Musik-director at Düsseldorf, 74;
  feels quite at home, 81;
  promise of new compositions, 81;
  hard at work there, 81;
  his poverty in shaping new forms, 85;
  toils and labors with difficulties, 85;
  his birthday celebrated, 90;
  joy, ease, and success in work, 90;
  is offered liberal terms for Gipsy Variations, 97;
  his title of “Herr Musik-director,” 121;
  his periods of monotony and depression, 123;
  regard for his parents, 135;
  his appearance at head of Leipzig orchestra, 140;
  he is advised not to alter his work, 149;
  misses Moscheles in England, 163;
  his arrival in London, 208;
  he cannot change the opinions of a lifetime, 252;
  the prices paid for his works by Novello, 273;
  his birthday celebrated at Gerhard’s Garten, 284;
  description of parts in the performance, 285;
  great affliction at his sister’s death, 287;
  his last hours, 291;
  the scene at his death, 291;
  reflections of Moscheles on, 292.

“Merit has its crown,” etc., 65.

Meyer, Mademoiselle, gone to London, 104.

Meyerbeer is invested with his title, 41.

“Midsummer Night’s Dream,” performed with enthusiastic reception, 13.

Milder, Madame, her concert, when to be given, 41;
  sings Scenas by Gluck, 52.

Moore, Mr., wishes to print Oratorio, 269.

Mori, his indiscretion, 98;
  presented with a manuscript, 98;
  waiting for Rondo, 98.

Morning Service, for Novello, working at, 30.

Moscheles, Mrs. Charlotte, letters of Mendelssohn to, x;
  is his guide and mentor in London society, x;
  her “grandmotherly” advice, x;
  she is still active in body and mind in her eighty-third year, x;
  cherishes memories of the past, and joins in the joys of the present, x;
  is heard with delight when she talks of Mendelssohn, x.

Moscheles, Felix, comes into possession of Mendelssohn’s letters, ix;
  manuscript book and index of his father, ix;
  his use of the “Life of Moscheles,” edited by his wife, x;
  his juvenile recollections and impressions of Mendelssohn, xi;
  his godfather, and parents’ best friend, xi;
  claims Mendelssohn’s attention and enjoys it, xi;
  race with, across Regent’s Park, xi;
  battle of snowballs, xi;
  improvisation of a funeral march, xi;
  his account of the drawing of the hatchet curve, xi;
  “took a most lively interest in everything concerning me,” xi;
  refuses to go to bed at the accustomed hour, xii;
  his account of improvised playing of Mendelssohn and Moscheles, xii;
  shows how they fraternized in perfect harmonies, xii;
  “music-making in my father’s house,” xiii;
  his mention of their motto, “Res severe est verum gaudium,” xiii;
  refers to his own name and its significance, xiii;
  his special privileges, hears Mendelssohn, Liszt,
    the Schumanns, and Joachim, xiii;
  pleasure of editing the correspondence, xv.

Moscheles, Ignaz, engaged on a professional tour, 1;
  gives instruction to Mendelssohn, 1;
  recognizes the genius of the young composer, 1;
  feels that he is sitting next to a master, 1;
  is requested to give lessons, 1;
  he is invited to dinner, 1;
  “prince des pianistes,” 2;
  invitation to visit “Akademie” and to a tea-circle, 2;
  the friendship of teacher and pupil, its lasting character, 3;
  his appreciation of youthful genius, 3;
  he is senior of Mendelssohn by sixteen years, 3;
  spends many happy hours with his friends, the Mendelssohns, 3;
  his appreciation of, 3;
  his mention in diary of Mendelssohn’s genius, 3;
  his “Studies,” 4;
  his acquaintance with musical men in London and Vienna, 7;
  “Studies,” second book of, 7;
  advises Mendelssohn to begin his tour with a visit to London, 8;
  his description of London attractive, 8;
  his new symphony, 9;
  he secures rooms for Mendelssohn, 10;
  his house, and the pleasant hours in, 11;
  plays with wonderful brilliancy, 13;
  at home with Mendelssohn, 19;
  his wife’s kindness to Mendelssohn, 19;
  his birthday celebrated, 20;
  his visit to his sister, 25;
  visit to Hamburg, 27;
  has many claims upon his time in London, 28;
  his twelve days stay in Berlin, 46;
  success of his concert, 47;
  goes from Berlin to Leipsig, 47;
  plays in public at Frankfurt and Cologne, 47;
  presented with a musical sketch-book, 47;
  Concerto in E flat, 51;
  his complete works, 130;
  his overture to “Joan of Arc,” 130;
  description of its parts by Mendelssohn, 131;
  letters written to his wife, 141;
  his Concerto Fantastique, 143;
  visits his mother in Prague, 213;
  leaves London, 235;
  he is appointed professor at the Conservatorio of Leipzig, 236;
  his birthday is celebrated, 245;
  goes to Frankfurt, 246;
  his wife wishes to live in Leipzig, 261;
  last days he spent with Mendelssohn, 289;
  his regard for the Music-School, 294.

Mozart, his good taste, 152;
  his C major Symphony, 253;
  his “Davide penitente,” sung at festival, 278;
  his G minor Symphony at the Gewandhaus, 284;
  Mendelssohn’s directions in reference to the “Elijah,” 284.

Music paper, sheets of, 11.

“Musical Review,” Mendelssohn asked to edit, 128.

Musical school, programme of, 233;
  King of Saxony may grant funds for, 233;
  that at Leipzig, its need of Moscheles, 239;
  its plan of organization, 240;
  cost of educating Englishmen in this school, 241;
  the number of its pupils, 242;
  fault in its organization, 242;
  kind of instruction needed in, 242.

Musicians, prominent ones unreservedly criticised, ix;
  complaint of, 32;
  their abuse of each other, 173;
  their doings in England, 248.


Nathan, volume of, 74.

Neukomm, his estimate of net receipts, 33, 35;
  his beautiful lecture, 36;
  preached to conscience, 36;
  thinks one should only write according to one’s mood, 36;
  large number of works in his programme, 116;
  his style, that of Haydn bordering on Handel, 116;
  has not done much for art, 116;
  his “David” shows wonderful workmanship, 116;
  lacks the poetical element in other of his works, 116;
  his music and its qualities, 118.

“Nicht allein,” chorus in second part of “Faust,” 90.

Nicolai, his description of Italian scenery, 124.

Nightingales, Inspector of, title conferred on an old lounger, 104.

Novello, Miss, cordially greeted by the public, 160;
  success marvellous, 170.

Novello, V., appointment with, 65.

“Nursery Tale,” his greatest favorite, 159.


Onslow, inquiries about, 198.

Opera House holds nearly two thousand persons, 40.

Orchestra Pension Fund, 185.

Orinoco, allusion to, 117.

Overtures, for two performers, 179;
  description of parts, 179;
  to appear at Simrock’s in Bonn, 179;
  at Mori’s in London, 179.


Paganini gives a concert in Berlin, 9;
  his never-erring execution, 9;
  mention of, 66.

Paris, short stay at, 19.

“Phantasie-Stücke,” volume of, 74.

Philharmonic, G minor Concerto played at the, 20;
  the Society, its intentions toward Mendelssohn, 48;
  Septet written for, 51;
  list of concerts, 54.

“Philister,” any word in English for? 126.

Philistine, the German, with his nightcap, 194;
  his language, 248.

Philistines, the world of, 126.

Phrenology, special attack upon, 22.

Piano, its delay, and annoyance at, 41;
  “there be none of Beauty’s daughters with a magic like Erard’s,” 43;
  his own is inaugurated by Moscheles, 43;
  a “Graf,” the wonder of Vienna, 44;
  those of Berlin pianoforte-makers, 44;
  pear-shaped instruments, 44;
  giraffe, or pocket size, etc., 44.

Pianos, the, in Mendelssohn’s Overture, difficulty
    of getting them observed, 96.

“Piano Songs,” thanks for assistance in reference to, 28;
  twenty editions of, 29;
  what may be bought with the proceeds, 29.

Pixis, mention of, 152.

Planché, messages sent to, 187.

Porte Saint-Martin, rattling of brass fit for, 93.

Portland Street, quarters of Mendelssohn at, 12.

Prince, Crown, extremely gracious, 110.

Prince Frederick, giving many balls, 91.

Publication of letters, why delayed, ix.

Pupils, examination of, 290.


“Quarterly Review,” portrayal of composers in, 192.

Quartet in A minor, 12.


Redern, Count, director and autocrat of the drama, 39;
  conference with, 41;
  inserts advertisements, 43;
  has gone to his estates, 45;
  takes Mendelssohn under his wing, 53.

Reissiger & Co., their compositions shallow, 136.

Rhenish Musical Festival, 134.

Rhine, journey by, 181;
  leaving for, 273.

Ries, violin player, 103;
  Mendelssohn and he as pope and anti-pope, 104;
  leaves Düsseldorf, 109.

Rietz, plays Beethoven sonatas, 290.

Ritter, lectures at Berlin University, 4.

Rondo Brillant, dedication of, 82.

Rosen, George, Consul-General, etc., 11.

Rosen, Professor, Mendelssohn dines with him, 12;
  meeting with, 19.

Rosenhain empties his pockets, 247.

Rosenthals, visit to the, 290.

Rossini, mention of, 152.

Rubini, mention of, 66.

“Ruins of Athens,” selections from, 267.

Russians, seem more thoroughbred than the Hamburgers, 62.

Rylands, Miss, reference to, 118.


Saaling, Marianna, cousin of Mendelssohn, 110.

Saint Cecilia Choir, directed by Mendelssohn, 148.

“Saint Paul” performed in England, 154.

“Sakontala,” by Klingemann, 219.

Schleinitz, lawyer, friend of Mendelssohn, 140;
  is Director of Leipzig Conservatorio, 140.

Schlesinger, Moritz, not slow to triumph at hissing of Herz, 112;
  may be King of the Belgians, or Fire-King, 112;
  the “Study” is sent to him, 197.

Schmidt, Aloys, takes his ease in the country, 151.

Schneider, Mademoiselle, her success, 53.

“Schnellpost-coupé,” comfortable travelling in, 25.

Schröder-Devrient, mention of, 66.

Schubert, Franz, Symphony of, 191.

Schumann, Robert, mention of, 141;
  quartets performed by, 230.

Schumann-Wieck, Madame, her effort to obtain pupils, 263.

Schunck, Mrs., takes part in comic dialogue, 284.

Scotch Symphony and Overture, 14.

Scotland, visit to, by Mendelssohn and Klingemann, 14.

Scott, Sir Walter, dedication to, 11;
  piece dedicated to, 20.

“Seasons,” the performance of, 120.

Septet, arrangement of, 70.

Shakspeare, his “King John,” downright heavenly, like all else of his, 100.

Shaw, Mrs., inquiries about her, 170;
  makes many friends, 173.

Shopping, Book on, 73.

Siboni, recipes of, for salad mixing, 104.

Simrock, of Bonn, German publisher, 218.

Simrock’s, a piece to appear at, 82.

“Sinfonia Eroica,” 120.

“Sinfonia Pastorale,” allusion to, 174.

Sing-Akademie, 54.

Smart, George, interest in “Saint Paul,” 155.

“Son and Stranger,” selections from, 47.

Sonata, four-hand, Moscheles’s, 81.

Sonate Symphonique, played at the court of King Louis Philippe, 262.

Songs, new book of, 157.

“Songs without Words,” reference to, 65, 191;
  price of copyright, 66.

Sophocles’ “Antigone,” performed at Moscheles’s house, 228.

Souchays, at Frankfurt, 230.

Spohr, his Symphony, 191;
  and Mendelssohn, attempt to create antagonism between, 222.

Spring, its balmy air makes life endurable, 255.

Spring, Mr., cannot be “digested,” 88.

St. Pancras, Church of, 207.

Stage, society for improvement of, 86;
  difficulty of writing verses for, 150.

Staudigl sings the part of Elijah at Birmingham, 272.

Stone, Fanny, piece dedicated to her, 98;
  will compose something easy for, 98;
  a trump card, 186.

“Strains of the Scottish Bards,” a Fantasia, 11.

“Stumme Liebe,” by Probald, 219.

Subscription Concerts, 203;
  plan to supplement the directorship of, 234.

Swiss landscape, its meadows, houses, etc., 124.

Switzerland, visits to, 19, 287;
  things lovely and bright there, 229.

Symphony, can play parts by heart, 18;
  can reckon on a brilliant success, 18.

Symphony in A major, 66.


Taubert has not much talent, 152.

Taylors’, remarks about the soirée at, 99.

Templower Berg, camp at, 39.

Thalberg, musical merit, 151;
  his style interesting and genuine, 153;
  perfect in his way, 204;
  visits Mendelssohn and goes to Mecklenburg, 206;
  visits London for Festival, 206.

“The Harmonized Scales,” for juvenile performers, 237.

“The Last Rose of Summer,” variations on, 20.

“The Old English Gentleman,” song of, 126.

“The Smith,” a song, with words by Uhland, 130, 131, 132.

Time, its judgments of critics and those criticised, ix.

“Travels of an Irish Gentleman in Search of Religion,”
    goes through seventy editions, 100;
  praised by Orthodox and Catholics, 100.


Uechtritz, immersed in æsthetics, 128.

Urban writes “Lettres à Elle,” 130.

Use, Miss, her beauty, 102.


Valentins, the, at Berlin for the winter, 54.

Vanity, its prominence among Parisian artists, 193.

Variations, by Herz, for the thirtieth time, 30;
  not more pleasant than rope-dancers or acrobats, 30;
  endanger not necks, but ears, 30.

Varnhagen, going to be married, 110.

Vernet, Louise, marries Delaroche, the artist, 129.

Victoria, Queen, visit to, 290.

“Viennese in Berlin,” 94.

Vrught, his natural and unnatural voice, 114.


“Walpurgisnacht,” 53.

Walther, Dr., in attendance at the death of Mendelssohn, 292.

“Wasserträger,” rehearsal of, 86.

Water colors, taking lessons in, 100.

Weber’s Sonata, 93.

Weimar, referred to, 175;
  court circle, 176;
  its good points as a residence, 176;
  Grand Duchess of, 177;
  accommodations at, 282.

Westminster Abbey Festival, unable to attend, 104.

Wieck, Clara, her execution as an artist, 141.

“William Tell,” performance of, 230.

Woods, walks in, and their solace, 287.

Work, pressure of, 66;
  deeply buried in, 82.

Wunderhornlied, Mendelssohn alters beginning of, 113.


“Zauberflöte,” best performance nowadays, 63.

Zelter, Professor, Mendelssohn’s attachment for, 20;
  death of, 20.

Zoölogical Gardens, visit to, 70.

Zschokke, volumes of, 74.

University Press: John Wilson and Son, Cambridge.


FOOTNOTES:

 [1] F. Rosen, Professor of Sanscrit at the London University. He,
 like Klingemann, was attached to the Hanoverian Embassy, and became
 an intimate friend of Mendelssohn and Moscheles. His brother, Georg
 Rosen, himself a distinguished Orientalist, and for many years
 Consul-General for Prussia in Jerusalem, married Serena, the second
 daughter of Moscheles.

 [2] The Mendelssohn Family, by Hensel, vol. i. p. 190.

 [3] The _work_ alluded to was the Operetta, “The Son and Stranger,”
 in which every member of the family wished to take part. The painter
 Hensel, who had married Mendelssohn’s eldest sister, being totally
 unmusical, had the part of _one and the same note_ composed for him,
 which even then he was not able to catch.

 [4] Mendelssohn’s Letters (Reisebriefe), vol. i. p. 357.

 [5] Accompanying this translation by Robert Browning was the following
 tribute to the memory of Moscheles:--

     Were my version but as true to the original as your father’s life
     was to his noble ideal, it would be good indeed. As it is, accept
     the best of

Yours truly ever,

ROBERT BROWNING.



 [6] Chester Place, No. 3, in the Regent’s Park, was the Moscheleses’
 residence.

 [7] The Mendelssohns’ house and garden, No. 3 Leipzigerstrasse,
 Berlin, now form part of the building in which the Reichstag is held.

 [8] A certain beadle in a country church, being reprimanded by the
 clergyman for appearing at a funeral in a scarlet waistcoat instead of
 a black one, retorted, “What matters it, your Reverence, provided the
 heart is black?”

 [9] The compass of Mrs. Moscheles’s voice.

 [10] Mendelssohn used to delight in attending meetings at the
 Guildhall to hear Liberal speakers.

 [11] “Klavierlieder,” meaning the “Songs without Words.” On the copy
 sent to Moscheles he had called them “Melodies.”

 [12] Moscheles lived at No. 3 Chester Place, Regent’s Park.

 [13] Mendelssohn became engaged in 1836, and Klingemann in 1845.

 [14] Emily, Moscheles’s eldest daughter, then six years old. She
 married Mr. A. Roche, of London.

 [15] The Septet was written for the Philharmonic Society.

 [16] The German word “Becken” has the double meaning of “cymbals” and
 “basin.”

 [17] The Italian Symphony.

 [18] See Illustration, No. 10.

 [19] See Illustration, No. 9.

 [20] See Illustrations, Nos. 15, 16, and 8, respectively.

 [21] See Illustration, No. 12.

 [22] See Illustration, No. 13.

 [23] See Illustration, No. 14.

 [24] The Dirichlets were his younger sister and her husband, a
 professor of mathematics.

 [25] “Infelice.”

 [26] Meaning himself.

 [27] Alluding to Beethoven’s habit, in conducting, of crouching down
 at a _pianissimo_ and flying up at a _forte_.

 [28] Travels of an Irish Gentleman in Search of a Religion.

 [29] Immermann the poet and dramatist. Amongst his best-known works
 are “Münchhausen,” and the epic poem of “Tristan and Isolde.”

 [30] Schleinitz was a well-known figure in the musical world of
 Leipzig. He was an intimate friend of Mendelssohn’s, and for
 many years indefatigable in his work as Director of the Leipzig
 Conservatorio.

 [31] See “Life of Moscheles,” vol. i. pp. 318 and following.

 [32] The first movement of the G minor Concerto is styled
 “Malinconico.”

 [33] Court Chamberlain.

 [34] See Illustration, No. 23.

 [35] This Symphony, so often referred to in Mendelssohn’s letters of
 this time, has either entirely disappeared or was converted into the
 initial movement of the “Lobgesang.”

 [36] Rondo in B minor.

 [37] See Illustration, No. 24.

 [38] Overture to “Ruy Blas.”

 [39] The letter alluded to is not amongst the copies of Moscheles’s
 letters in the possession of the editor.

 [40] Op. 81.

 [41] After all, Mrs. Mendelssohn was prevented from going to England.

 [42] St. Pancras was the church at which Mendelssohn stood godfather
 to Felix Moscheles.

 [43] See Illustration, No. 21.

 [44] See Illustration, No. 22.

 [45] See Illustration, No. 23.

 [46] Little Carl was Mendelssohn’s eldest child. Moscheles used to
 amuse him by playing a tune on the piano with his fists.

 [47] See Illustration, No. 20.

 [48] Bunsen was then the Prussian Ambassador accredited to the Court
 of Saint James.

 [49] He had lost his mother on the 12th of December of the preceding
 year.

 [50] The work alluded to, “The Harmonized Scales,” Op. 97, is a series
 of fifty-nine pieces for a juvenile performer and his teacher; the
 former playing the scales in various time and rhythm, the teacher
 supporting him by a full accompaniment.

 [51] For the translation of these lines I am again indebted to Robert
 Browning.--EDITOR.

 [52] See Illustration, No. 28.

 [53] The Sonate Symphonique for two performers (Op. 112), which
 Moscheles, with his daughter Emily, had played at the Court of King
 Louis Philippe, to whom the work was dedicated.

 [54] The thaler equals three shillings, or seventy-five cents.

 [55] This has reference to an incident which occurred when Moscheles,
 then twenty years of age, was residing in Vienna. In 1824 Beethoven’s
 “Fidelio” was produced, and Moscheles was commissioned to make
 the pianoforte arrangement of that work. In his diaries of those
 days we find various entries recording his visits to Beethoven.
 The alterations suggested by the master were made with due care
 and deference, and the completed arrangement was finally left at
 Beethoven’s rooms. On the last page of the manuscript Moscheles had
 written, “End, with the help of God.” When the manuscript was returned
 four characteristic words had been added, in Beethoven’s bold and
 all but illegible handwriting: “Mensch, hilf dir selber!” (Man, help
 thyself!)

 [56] Translated in “Life of Moscheles.”





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