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<<  -- 4 --  Jennifer Paull    THE BONSAI SEQUOIA

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The production in Berlin under his direction when he was twenty is a testimony to Mendelssohn's early maturity. In the eighty or so years between Bach's death and Mendelssohn's revival of the neglected works, the Baroque Master had been virtually forgotten.

His father did not wanted him to make music his profession, but finally acquiesced upon the condition that Felix should accept fixed employment and live by his own, independent means. Abraham distrusted Beethoven's figure, which loomed upon the horizon, darkly! However, he did live to know the satisfaction of his son's success.

Felix was deliriously happy and with him, happiness germinated music. Together with his friend Klingemann, he visited Scotland in 1829. It was the visit to dark, ruined Holyrood, which started him on his Scottish Symphony and The Hebrides Overture.

The latter work of such perfect form far transcends much of his oeuvre. It is indeed a masterpiece of delicate and polished orchestration and as Wagner said, an aquarelle by a great landscape painter. Indeed, the bud burst and the flower blossomed.

Mendelssohn was actually standing in Fingal's Cave when he jotted down the first bar of the overture that contains some of his greatest melodic inventions. He had visited the Isle of Staffa near Mull and made the acquaintance of Sir Walter Scott upon this same occasion.

Captivated by the breathtaking scenery, his sensitive response to nature encapsulated his impression of the roar of the waves rolling into the cavern and the cries of the seabirds. Perhaps more than anything else, that radiant and translucent clearness of air when mist is completely dissolved held him in its luminescent spell. At last, music, pure music and not construction's grammar books filled his heart and soul. However, he shied away from any programmatic interpretations of his work, voicing the opinion that music was to be interpreted solely by the listener.

Everything you've learned in school as 'obvious' becomes less and less obvious as you begin to study the universe. For example, there are no solids in the universe. There's not even a suggestion of a solid. There are no absolute continuums. There are no surfaces. There are no straight lines. -- R Buckminster Fuller (1895-1983,) engineer, designer, and architect

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Copyright © 4 November 2002 Jennifer Paull, Vouvry, Switzerland

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