Rupert Christiansen

The Last of the Great Unromantics

Mendelssohn: A Life in Music

By

Oxford University Press 683pp £25 order from our bookshop

IN A SENSE, the most complex and fascinating part of Felix Mendelssohn’s life began when he died in 1847, at the age of thirty-eight. His reputation was at a peak – he had recently conducted the premiere of his oratorio Elijah to tumultuous acclaim – and his personal life unblemished. Even the faint embarrassment attendant on his Jewish ancestry could be dossed over – he had converted as a child to Lutheranism and much of his music was an expression of a mainstream Protestant faith.

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