A Day with Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy

A Day with Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy

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A Day with Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy by George Sampson

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A Day with Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy

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Book Excerpt

supreme tragedy of all."

The last words were murmured as if to himself rather than to us, and he accompanied them abstractedly with tentative, prelusive chords, which gradually grew into the most strangely moving music I have ever heard.

Its complex, swelling phrases presently drew together and rose up in one great major chord. No one spoke. I felt as if some mighty spirit had been evoked and that its unseen presence overshadowed us.

"What was it?" I presently whispered to Bennett; but he shook his head and said, "Wait; he will tell you."

At length I turned to Mendelssohn and said, "Is that part of the new work of yours you mentioned just now?"

"Of mine!" he exclaimed; "of mine! I could never write such music. No, no! That was Bach, John Sebastian Bach--part of his St. Matthew Passion. I was playing not so much the actual notes of any chorus, but rather the effect of certain passages as I could feel them in my mind."

"So that was by Bach!" I said in wonder.

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