<< -- 4 -- Jennifer Paull THE BONSAI SEQUOIA
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
Copyright © 4 November 2002
Jennifer Paull, Vouvry, Switzerland