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This programme is part of a unit which studies the nature of musical performance and it draws on the unpublished notebook of Felix Mendelssohn for the year 1829, on the copy of the St. Matthew's Pa...ssion from which he conducted the performance of 1829, and on letters and drawings of the Mendelssohn family. It also suggests something of the complex character of the composer at the age of twenty, the year he revived the St.Matthew Passion. Mendelssohn inherited from his teacher Zelter and from his mother's family, a subterranean tradition of familiarity with the work of Bach; when he was still a boy he came to possess a copy of the St. Matthew Passion which had almost disappeared. At the age of twenty, he staged the first performance of the Passion since Bach's death. This was the first major public performance in Europe of music of an earlier century and it stimulated the new study of musicology. It could be said that our present musical world, dominated by the works of the past, dates from that year 1829. The programme, presented by Professor James Joll, Stevenson Professor of International History at London School of Economics, shows Mendelssohn first as a boy playing Bach to the aged Goethe; then in his revival of the Passion; then, through his notebook, on his subsequent journey to Scotland. Finally it examines the relation of his sensibility to some of the dominating artistic and intellectual movements of early nineteenth century Germany. In dealing: with the revival of the Passion itself, Professor Joll is assisted by Dr. Owain Edwards, Lecturer in music at the Open University.
Metadata describing this Open University video programme
Module code and title: A100, Humanities: a foundation course
Item code: A100; 27
First transmission date: 01-08-1971
Published: 1971
Rights Statement:
Restrictions on use:
Duration: 00:23:08
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Producer: Alasdair Clayre
Contributors: Owain Edwards; James Joll; Simon Turner
Publisher: BBC Open University
Keyword(s): Bach, J.S.; Mendelssohn; Music
Footage description: J. Joll describes Mendelssohn's visits to Goethe to play for the poet, 1829. Portraits of Mendelssohn at age of twelve by Begas and Hensel, line portrait of Goethe and photograph of the music room in Goethe's house. Quotations from F. Mendelssohns letters home giving routine of the visits. Joll gives brief history of the Mendelssohn family. Portraits in this order of Moses and Abraham. Mendelssohn, Hensel (self portrait), Fanny, Lea the former by Hensel, and of Zelter. Owaian Edwards relates Mendtlssohns work on the St Matthew Passion of Bach and of the influence on Mendelssohn of the passion.Portraits of Devrient, A.B. Marx, Fanny, Felix and shots of pages of the score. Musical quotations from the score, and quotations from the journals and letters of Fanny, Devrient and A.B. Marx concerning Mendelssohns absorbed interest in the passion, and performances in public of the work. James J'oll describes Mendelssohn's visit to Scotland in company with Klingemann. Extensive quotations from the letters of Klingemann and Mendelssohn are used. Portraits of Scott, Klingemann and Droysen, appear and shots of Holyrood House, the Tweed at Abbotsford, Melrose Abbey and of Staffa and Fingals cave. Drawings made by Mendelssohn in London and Scotland are shown. James Joll describes the period 1815-1848 in Germany as one in which the conflicting neoclassical and romantic attitudes and influences of previous generation were assimilated and reconciled. Mendelssohn is linked to this mood. Paintings by Caspar David Friedrich 'Couple grazing at moon', 'Girodet' 'Ossian meeting', 'Napoleons generals', 'David 'woman' 'Cornelius' 'Wise and foolish virgins' 'J Schnorrvon' 'Crolsfeld Frau Clara' 'Bianca Ferinand von Olivers' 'Holy Family'. Shots of Schinkel building in Berlin.
Master spool number: 6LT/70150
Production number: 00520_1327
Videofinder number: 2438
Available to public: no