A CHRONOLOGICAL VIEW OF WESTERN MUSIC HISTORY IN THE CONTEXT OF WORLD EVENTS

Felix Mendelssohn

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February 3, 1809: Felix Mendelssohn is born in Hamburg (currently occupied by France), the second of four children born to Abraham Mendelssohn, a banker, himself the son of the Enlightenment philosopher Moses Mendelssohn, and Lea Solomon, daughter of the Prussian court jeweler and granddaughter of Daniel Itzig, a financial advisor to King Friedrich II of Prussia and one of the most affluent citizens of Berlin.
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November 14, 1817: Felix Mendelssohn (8) dedicates a piano arrangement he made of the overture to The Marriage of Figaro to his sister Fanny on her twelfth birthday.
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October 28, 1818: Felix Mendelssohn (9) takes part in a concert in Berlin given by the horn player Friedrich Gugel. It is his first public performance.
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March 4, 1820: Fanny Mendelssohn (14) begins writing down her compositions in her new music album.
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March 7, 1820: Three days after his sister Fanny (14), Felix Mendelssohn (10) begins writing down his compositions in his new music album.
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December 11, 1820: Die Soldatenliebschaft, a singspiel by Felix Mendelssohn (11) to words of Casper, is performed for the first time, with piano accompaniment, at the Mendelssohn home in Berlin for the fiftieth birthday of the composer’s father. See 3 February 1821.
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February 3, 1821: Die Soldatenliebschaft, a singspiel by Felix Mendelssohn to words of Casper, is performed for the first time with orchestra, in a specially constructed theatre in the Mendelssohn home, Berlin. It is the composer’s twelfth birthday. See 11 December 1820.
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March 15, 1821: Die beiden Pädagogen, a comic operetta by Felix Mendelssohn (12) to words of Casper after Scribe, is performed for the first time, in Berlin to celebrate the birthday of the composer’s mother.
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June 18, 1821: 19:00 Carl Maria von Weber’s (34) romantic opera Der Freischütz to words of Kind after Apel and Laun is performed for the first time, at the opening of the rebuilt Berlin Schauspielhaus to great success. In the audience is an interested 12-year-old named Felix Mendelssohn. Within the next two years, Der Freischütz will be staged in all the important theatres of Germany.
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September 18, 1821: A setting of Psalm 19 for two solo voices, chorus and piano by Felix Mendelssohn (12) is performed for the first time, in Berlin.
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November 2, 1821: Carl Friedrich Zelter arrives in Weimar from Berlin along with his daughter and a promising young student named Felix Mendelssohn (12). He wants them both to make the acquaintance of Goethe.
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November 4, 1821: In Weimar, Felix Mendelssohn (12) meets Johann Wolfgang von Goethe for the first time. In spite of the vast difference in their ages, the two begin a strong friendship over the next two weeks. Felix has brought several songs by his sister Fanny (15) on Goethe texts. The poet is delighted and will compose a poem for Fanny in gratitude. Also present is the Weimar Kapellmeister Johann Nepomuk Hummel (42).
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November 11, 1821: At a musical gathering at Goethe’s house in Weimar, visiting musicians play through Felix Mendelssohn’s (12) Piano Quartet in D, led by his teacher Carl Friedrich Zelter. Goethe, who heard the seven-year-old Mozart, states that Mendelssohn’s accomplishment at such a young age “borders on the miraculous.” Comparisons to Mozart begin to fly.
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October 22, 1822: The Piano Concerto in a minor by Felix Mendelssohn (13) is performed for the first time, in a private setting in Berlin. The soloist is the composer’s sister, Fanny (16).
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November 23, 1822: Fanny Mendelssohn (17) completes the composition of her first piece of chamber music, a piano quartet in A flat.
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December 5, 1822: Concerto in a minor for piano and strings by Felix Mendelssohn (13) is performed for the first time, in Berlin.
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December 24, 1822: Wilhelm Hensel presents Fanny Mendelssohn (17) with a book of poetry by his friend Wilhelm Müller. He includes his own portrait and a poem of his own.
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May 25, 1823: A Concerto in d minor for violin, piano and strings by Felix Mendelssohn (14) is performed for the first time, privately, at the Mendelssohn residence in Berlin. See 3 July 1823.
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July 3, 1823: A Concerto in d minor for violin, piano and orchestra by Felix Mendelssohn (14) is performed publicly for the first time, in the Schauspielhaus, Berlin. See 25 May 1823.
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December 7, 1823: Concerto for two pianos in E by Felix Mendelssohn (14) is performed for the first time, at the Mendelssohn residence in Berlin. The soloists are the composer and his sister Fanny (18). One of the invited guests is Friedrich Kalkbrenner (38).
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February 3, 1824: In Berlin, Carl Friedrich Zelter publicly announces that his student, Felix Mendelssohn, has completed his apprenticeship and calls him to the world of independent composers. It is Mendelssohn’s 15th birthday.
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February 7, 1824: Die beiden Neffen oder Der Onkel aus Boston, a singspiel by Felix Mendelssohn (15) to words of Casper, is performed for the first time, before a small invited audience at the Mendelssohn residence in Berlin.
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November 15, 1824: The Symphony no.1 op.11 by Felix Mendelssohn (15) is performed for the first time, in the Mendelssohn home, Berlin on the occasion of his sister Fanny’s 19th birthday.
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March 22, 1825: Abraham and Felix Mendelssohn (16) arrive in Paris to accompany Abraham’s sister Henriette back to Berlin. While in Paris, Felix will come in contact with and perform for many of the composers and virtuosos of the city including Hummel (46), Auber (43), Kalkbrenner (39), Rossini (33), Halévy (25), Liszt (13), and Kreutzer.
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March 31, 1825: Felix Mendelssohn (16) participates in a performance in Paris of Mozart's (†33) Requiem as a violinist. Here he meets Luigi Cherubini (64) for a second time.
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April 1, 1825: Felix Mendelssohn (16) hears Franz Liszt (13) for the first time, at a Concert Spirituel at the Académie Royale, Paris.
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May 6, 1825: Challenged by Luigi Cherubini (64) to compose a Kyrie for chorus, Felix Mendelssohn (16) produces a Kyrie in d minor.
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June 16, 1825: In Weimar, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe receives two packages from composers. One includes piano quartets from Felix Mendelssohn (16). The other contains some songs to Goethe poems from Franz Schubert (28). Goethe will write a long letter of thanks to Mendelssohn. He will not respond to Schubert. It is the one and only time that Schubert makes a personal approach to Goethe.
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October 13, 1825: A Kyrie in d minor for chorus and orchestra by Felix Mendelssohn (16) is performed for the first time, in Berlin.
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December 30, 1825: A Kyrie in c minor for solo voices and double chorus by Felix Mendelssohn (16) is performed for the first time, in Frankfurt.
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November 19, 1826: Fanny (21) and Felix Mendelssohn (17) play a four-hand piano version of Felix’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream overture for Ignaz Moscheles.
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February 20, 1827: Two works by Felix Mendelssohn (18) are performed for the first time, in Stettin (Szczecin), conducted by Carl Loewe (30): Concerto in A flat for two pianos and orchestra and the Overture “A Midsummer Night's Dream.”  The composer plays one piano in the concerto and conducts the overture. His music is a great success but is overshadowed by the second half of the program, the Symphony no. 9 of Ludwig van Beethoven (56), performed for the first time in northern Germany. Mendelssohn plays first violin. (The concerto could have been performed earlier, at a family concert in Berlin.)
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April 29, 1827: Die Hochzeit des Camacho, a singspiel by Felix Mendelssohn (18) to words of Klingemann after Cervantes, is performed for the first time, in the Royal Theatre, Berlin. Although the press reaction is encouraging, the work is not a success and the composer leaves the theatre before the final curtain. He will never write another opera.
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May 8, 1827: Felix Mendelssohn (18) matriculates at the University of Berlin.
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October 13, 1827: When Carl Friedrich Zelter tells Goethe that his student, Fanny Mendelssohn (21), is having trouble finding a suitable text for a song, the elderly poet writes out eight lines and asks Zelter to bring them to her. (These may be new, or something he has already written)
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December 24, 1827: A Kindersymphonie by Felix Mendelssohn (18) for his sister Rebecka is performed for the first time, in Berlin.
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April 18, 1828: Grosse Festmusik zum Dürerfest, a cantata for solo voices, chorus, and orchestra by Felix Mendelssohn (19) is performed for the first time, in Berlin to celebrate the 300th anniversary of the death of Albrecht Dürer.
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September 7, 1828: Calm Sea and Prosperous Voyage, an overture by Felix Mendelssohn (19), is performed for the first time, in Berlin. See 1 December 1832.
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September 18, 1828: Felix Mendelssohn’s (19) cantata Begrüssung for solo voices, male chorus, winds, timpani, cellos, and basses to words of Rellstab is performed for the first time, in Berlin. It was commissioned by Alexander von Humboldt for a meeting of natural scientists.
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December 8, 1828: In a letter to Carl Klingemann, Fanny Mendelssohn (23) first uses the phrase “songs without words.”
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December 24, 1828: A second Kindersymphonie by Felix Mendelssohn (19) is performed for the first time, in Berlin.
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March 11, 1829: 18:00 Felix Mendelssohn (20) conducts (from the piano) the first performance of Johann Sebastian Bach's (†78) St. Matthew Passion in nearly a century. This performance, in the Berlin Singakademie, is much more successful than the original. Among the standing room only audience are King Friedrich Wilhelm III of Prussia, Georg Friedrich Wilhelm Hegel, Gaspare Spontini (53), Alexander von Humboldt, and Heinrich Heine. The conductor uses a baton for the first time. In the alto section of the chorus is Fanny Mendelssohn (23).
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April 10, 1829: Felix Mendelssohn (20) leaves Berlin, accepting an invitation to London. He first travels to Hamburg with his father and sister Rebecka.
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April 18, 1829: Felix Mendelssohn (20) boards the packet Attwood in Hamburg for his first visit to London.
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April 21, 1829: Felix Mendelssohn (20) arrives in London, ten hours late after a rough crossing from Hamburg and engine trouble.
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May 9, 1829: Nicolò Paganini (46) gives his first performance in Berlin. Fanny Mendelssohn (23) attends, and writes “about this extremely wonderful, incredible Talent, about this man, who has the appearance of an insane murderer, and the movements of an ape. A supernatural, wild genius. He is extremely exciting and provocative.”
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May 25, 1829: Felix Mendelssohn (20) makes his English conducting debut at a Philharmonic Society concert in the Argyll Rooms with his Symphony no.1. The minuet has been replaced by an orchestral version of the scherzo from his Octet.
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May 27, 1829: Ave maris stella for soprano and orchestra by Felix Mendelssohn (20) is performed for the first time, in the Berlin Marienkirche.
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May 30, 1829: Felix Mendelssohn (20) performs Carl Maria von Weber’s (†2) Conzertstück in f minor in the Argyll Rooms, London. His performance without music causes amazement among his listeners.
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June 15, 1829: Variations concertantes for cello and piano op.17 by Felix Mendelssohn (20) is performed for the first time, in London.
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July 13, 1829: Felix Mendelssohn (20) organizes a concert in the Argyll Rooms, London to benefit flood victims in Silesia. Many of the great musicians in London take part and the four-hour concert is sold out. This evening, more than any other single event, establishes the love affair between England and Mendelssohn.
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July 22, 1829: Felix Mendelssohn (20) departs London for Edinburgh in the company of his friend Karl Klingemann.
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July 26, 1829: Felix Mendelssohn (20) and his friend Karl Klingemann reach Edinburgh. They will spend three days there attending a bagpipe competition, visiting Holyrood Castle and “the Mecca of the Romantics,” Walter Scott’s home in Abbotsford.
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July 30, 1829: Felix Mendelssohn (20) visits Holyrood Castle, home of Mary Queen of Scots and sight of the murder of Rizzio. Here he is inspired to begin his “Scottish” Symphony.
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July 31, 1829: Felix Mendelssohn (20) and Karl Klingemann make a day long trek from Edinburgh to Walter Scott's home in Abbotsford. Scott is making preparations to travel. “We found Sir Walter in the act of leaving Abbotsford, stared at him like fools, drove 80 miles and lost a day for the sake of at best one half-hour of superficial conversation…It was a bad day.” (Eatock, 40)
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August 1, 1829: Felix Mendelssohn (20) and Karl Klingemann set out on a three-week tour of the Scottish highlands. They travel mostly by foot.
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August 2, 1829: Felix Mendelssohn (20) and Karl Klngemann walk from Perth to Dunkeld. The composer makes a sketch of Birnam Wood.
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August 7, 1829: Felix Mendelssohn (20) and Karl Klingemann reach Oban on the west coast of Scotland. He looks off shore to the Hebrides Islands and conceives the theme for his overture The Hebrides.
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August 8, 1829: Felix Mendelssohn (20) crosses to the Hebrides island of Staffa, sight of Fingal’s Cave, and the island of Iona.
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August 10, 1829: Felix Mendelssohn (20) and Karl Klingemann reach Glasgow. They have traveled the Scottish highlands, mostly on foot, for the last ten days.
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August 12, 1829: Felix Mendelssohn (20) and Karl Klingemann travel from Glasgow to Loch Lomond where Mendelssohn sketches the lake.
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August 15, 1829: Felix Mendelssohn (20) and Karl Klingemann depart Glasgow by coach, heading south.
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August 19, 1829: Felix Mendelssohn (20) and Karl Klingemann reach Liverpool from Scotland.
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August 21, 1829: Felix Mendelssohn (20) reaches Mold, Flintshire in Wales where he will stay for a week at the summer home of an acquaintance, a mine owner named John Taylor. His friend Karl Klingemann has gone on to London. Here he composes three Fantasias op.16.
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September 6, 1829: Felix Mendelssohn (20) arrives back in London from Scotland.
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September 17, 1829: Felix Mendelssohn (20) is involved in a carriage accident in London and injures his knee. He will be confined to bed for two months, causing him to miss the wedding of his sister Fanny (23) on 3 October.
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October 1, 1829: Wilhelm Hensel and Fanny Mendelssohn (23) sign a wedding contract in Berlin with her parents. Fanny’s share of the family fortune is judged to be 19,000 thalers. Her father Abraham agrees to add a yearly stipend of 1,500 thalers.
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October 2, 1829: At a wedding-eve celebration in Berlin, it is noted that the organ piece to be played tomorrow as a postlude can not be found. The groom, Wilhelm Hensel, suggests that the bride, Fanny Mendelssohn (23) compose a replacement. She does, finishing after midnight.
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October 3, 1829: 16:00 Fanny Mendelssohn (23) marries the Prussian court painter Wilhelm Hensel in the Parochial-Kirche, Berlin. She has written her own music for the occasion, an organ processional in F, as well as the recessional in G composed last night.
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November 6, 1829: Felix Mendelssohn (20) leaves his London lodgings for the first time in six weeks. He has been laid up since his accident of 17 September.
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November 14, 1829: A setting of Hora est for chorus and organ by Felix Mendelssohn (20) is performed for the first time, in Berlin.
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November 28, 1829: The Philharmonic Society of London names Felix Mendelssohn (20) as an honorary member.
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November 29, 1829: After two months convalescence, Felix Mendelssohn (20) leaves England for Berlin.
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December 7, 1829: Felix Mendelssohn (20) arrives home in Berlin from Britain.
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December 26, 1829: Two new works by the Mendelssohn siblings are performed for the first time, at the Berlin home of the composers’ parents, in honor of their silver wedding anniversary: Die Heimkehr aus der Fremde, a liederspiel by Felix Mendelssohn (20) to words of Klingemann, and Festspiel for vocal soloists, chorus, and orchestra by Fanny Mendelssohn Hensel (24) to words of her husband, Wilhelm Hensel.
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May 13, 1830: Felix Mendelssohn (21) leaves Berlin to travel in Italy.
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June 1, 1830: Felix Mendelssohn (21) walks through the park in Weimar with Goethe. The two discuss literature, Schiller, and liberalism. “…it was one of those conversations which one can never forget…” (Grimes/Mace, 299)
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June 3, 1830: After an extended stay, Felix Mendelssohn (21) takes his leave of Johann Wolfgang von Goethe at the poet’s home in Weimar. Goethe is much taken with the young musician and presents him with a page of the original manuscript of Faust inscribed to my “dear young friend F.M.B., powerful, gentle master of the piano.”
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June 6, 1830: Felix Mendelssohn (21) arrives in Munich from Weimar.
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June 9, 1830: Felix Mendelssohn (21) plays at a grand soiree in Munich, which introduces him to the city’s musical world.
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August 12, 1830: Felix Mendelssohn (21) arrives in Vienna having travelled down the Danube from Linz.
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August 27, 1830: Hector Berlioz (26) is presented to Abraham Mendelssohn (father of Felix (21)) in Paris. Mendelssohn finds the newly famous composer “agreeable and interesting and a great deal more sensible than his music.”
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September 9, 1830: Felix Mendelssohn (21) arrives in Munich after leaving Milan on 20 July and traveling most of the distance on foot.
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September 10, 1830: While he is in Munich, Felix Mendelssohn (21) begins two months of music theory lessons to Josephine Lang (15).
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September 16, 1830: Aloys Fuchs, a collector of musical manuscripts, presents his new friend Felix Mendelssohn (21) with the “Wittgenstein” sketchbook of Beethoven (†3), in Vienna. It contains drafts of the Piano Sonata op.109, the Diabelli Variations and the Missa Solemnis.
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September 28, 1830: The son of Emperor Franz I of Austria becomes King Ferdinand V of Hungary. A march for the occasion is composed by Carl Czerny (39). Among those participating in the three-day festivities is Felix Mendelssohn (21).
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October 9, 1830: Felix Mendelssohn (21) arrives in Venice.
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October 22, 1830: Felix Mendelssohn (21) reaches Florence from Bologna.
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October 30, 1830: Felix Mendelssohn (21) departs Florence for Rome.
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November 1, 1830: Felix Mendelssohn (21) arrives in Rome.
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February 2, 1831: After almost two months of the papal enclave, Bartolomeo Alberto-Mauro-Cappelari is elected Pope Gregory XVI. Among the crowd receiving his first blessing is a visiting German, Felix Mendelssohn, on the eve of his 22nd birthday.
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March 12, 1831: One day after his arrival in Rome, Hector Berlioz (27) meets Felix Mendelssohn (22). The two will spend a lot of time in each other’s company over the next few weeks. Mendelssohn writes to his family from Rome, “…Berlioz, who arrived yesterday, came by, and we played his pieces, the Overture to The Tempest …and then the symphony, which is called ‘Episode from the Life of an Artist’, and for which a printed program will be distributed [that describes] how the poor artist goes to the devil, where the listeners would like to have been long ago. Now and then all the instruments have a hangover and vomit music, making us very uncomfortable. And yet he is a very pleasant fellow, he speaks well, and he has fine ideas, and one cannot help but like him.” (Grimes/Mace, 120)
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March 13, 1831: Hector Berlioz (27) and Felix Mendelssohn (22) visit the Papal Chapel and the Forum together.
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April 10, 1831: Felix Mendelssohn (23) departs Rome for a two-month visit to Naples.
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June 18, 1831: Felix Mendelssohn (22) departs Rome after a visit of almost eight months.
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October 6, 1831: Felix Mendelssohn (22) writes to his sisters from Munich praising his talented little student, Josephine Lang (16).
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October 17, 1831: At a concert made up entirely of his music, the Piano Concerto in g minor by Felix Mendelssohn (22) is performed for the first time, in Munich before King Ludwig I of Bavaria, the composer at the keyboard. The premiere has been postponed to this date until after the musicians are done with their work during the Oktoberfest. Afterward, the king proposes Mozart's (†31) Non piu andrai for the young pianist to improvise. “So my concert took place yesterday, and it came off much more brilliantly and delightfully than I had expected. The whole thing was full of spirit and went without a hitch…” (Martens, 64)
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November 5, 1831: Felix Mendelssohn (22) departs Munich for Paris.
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December 9, 1831: Felix Mendelssohn (22) arrives in Paris from Düsseldorf.
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February 15, 1832: Friedrich Wieck and his daughter Clara (12) reach Paris. Here they will meet Nicolò Paganini (49), Friedrich Kalkbrenner (46), Giacomo Meyerbeer (40), Henri Herz (29), Felix Mendelssohn (22), and Frédéric Chopin (21). Clara is introduced to Parisian music making and society.
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February 26, 1832: Frédéric Chopin (21) gives his first concert in Paris, in the Salle Pleyel. The performance is organized by Frédéric Kalkbrenner (46) and Camille Pleyel and praised by Franz Liszt (20) and Felix Mendelssohn (23). The program includes Beethoven’s (†4) Quintet op.29, Chopin’s e minor piano concerto and Introduction March and Grand Polonaise for six pianos by Kalkbrenner (Chopin and Kalkbrenner take part). Antoni Orlawski will write, “All Paris was stupefied!” Chopin “mopped up the floor with every one of the pianists here.” In fact, the hall is only one-third full, and many of the patrons are Polish emigrés.
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April 22, 1832: After recovering from Asiatic cholera, Felix Mendelssohn (23) arrives in London from Paris.
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May 5, 1832: Recognized at a rehearsal of the London Philharmonic, Felix Mendelssohn (23) is given an ovation by the musicians. To the composer this was “more precious than any distinction…”
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May 14, 1832: The Isles of Fingal, an overture by Felix Mendelssohn (23), is performed for the first time, in London, conducted by the composer. The press is mixed. It will later be known as The Hebrides or Fingal’s Cave.
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May 25, 1832: Capriccio Brillant in b minor for piano and orchestra by Felix Mendelssohn (23) is performed for the first time, in London, the composer at the keyboard.
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June 10, 1832: Felix Mendelssohn (23) gives a very successful organ recital in St. Paul’s Cathedral, London. The building is packed.
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June 22, 1832: Felix Mendelssohn (23) departs London to return home to Berlin. Before he leaves, the London branch of Erard presents him with one of their pianos. In the last few days he met Nicolò Paganini (49) at a party.
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June 25, 1832: Felix Mendelssohn (23) returns home to Berlin after his grand tour. In two years he has visited Italy, France, and England.
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October 11, 1832: Die erste Walpurgisnacht, a cantata for chorus and orchestra by Felix Mendelssohn (23) to words of Goethe, is performed for the first time, privately, in his family’s home in Berlin. See 10 January 1833.
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November 5, 1832: The Philharmonic Society of London commissions Felix Mendelssohn (23) to compose “a symphony, an overture, and a vocal composition.”
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November 9, 1832: Weihgesang for four male voices by Felix Mendelssohn (23), to words of Müller, is performed for the first time, in Weimar.
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November 15, 1832: Symphony no.5 “Reformation” by Felix Mendelssohn (23), originally intended for the 400th anniversary of the Augsburg Confession, is performed for the first time, in Berlin.
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December 1, 1832: Calm Sea and Prosperous Voyage, an overture by Felix Mendelssohn (19), is performed publicly for the first time, in Berlin. See 7 September 1828.
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January 1, 1833: Concert Piece op.113 for clarinet, basset horn, and piano by Felix Mendelssohn (23) is performed for the first time, in Berlin.
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January 10, 1833: Die erste Walpurgisnacht, a cantata for chorus and orchestra by Felix Mendelssohn (23) to words of Goethe, is performed publicly for the first time, in Berlin. The press is mixed. See 11 October 1832.
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January 22, 1833: A vote taken by the Berlin Singakademie elects Karl Rungenhagen director by 148-88 over a reluctant Felix Mendelssohn (23). Presumably Mendelssohn’s age and ethnic origin are held against him.
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February 13, 1833: Responding to a request from the music critic Ludwig Rellstab for a biographical sketch, Felix Mendelssohn (24) replies that nothing noteworthy has happened in his life other than his birth.
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March 16, 1833: Felix Mendelssohn (24) is named director of the Lower Rhine Festival.
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April 9, 1833: Two choruses for male voices for Immermann’s (after Calderón de la Barca) play Der standhafte Prinz by Felix Mendelssohn (24) are performed for the first time, in Düsseldorf.
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April 25, 1833: Felix Mendelssohn (24) arrives in London for a third time.
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May 1, 1833: Variations brillantes on a march from Carl Maria von Weber’s (†6) Preciosa for two pianos by Felix Mendelssohn (24) and Ignaz Moscheles is performed for the first time, in London by the composers. The composition was completed only two days ago.
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May 2, 1833: Musikantenprügelei for four male voices by Felix Mendelssohn (24), to words of Reinick, is performed for the first time, in Düsseldorf.
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May 13, 1833: Symphony no.4 “Italian” by Felix Mendelssohn (24) is performed for the first time, in London, directed by the composer. Nicolò Paganini (50) is among the listeners. He asks Mendelssohn to play Beethoven (†6) sonatas with him. Vincenzo Bellini (31) is also there and the two composers meet. Although the London public is growing increasingly fond of Mendelssohn, the criticisms of the symphony are mixed.
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May 17, 1833: In London, Felix Mendelssohn (24) learns from his publisher, Novello, that his Lieder ohne Worte has sold 50 copies.
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May 18, 1833: Felix Mendelssohn (24) departs London on his third trip to England, making for Düsseldorf.
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May 26, 1833: Felix Mendelssohn (24) conducts Handel’s (†74) Israel in Egypt at Düsseldorf, the first of a series of Handel oratorio performances in Mendelssohn’s arrangements. These will greatly advance the popularity of Handel’s music in Germany.
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June 5, 1833: Felix Mendelssohn (24) arrives in London from Düsseldorf accompanied by his father. It is Felix’s fourth visit to England.
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July 23, 1833: The British Parliament passes the Jewish Civil Disabilities Act, lifting restrictions on Jews to vote and hold public office. Felix Mendelssohn (24) is present for the debate and vote.
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August 5, 1833: Felix Mendelssohn (24) and his father depart England for Rotterdam after a stay of six weeks. It is Felix’s fourth trip to England.
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September 25, 1833: Felix Mendelssohn (24) arrives in Düsseldorf to take up his position as music director.
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October 1, 1833: Felix Mendelssohn (24) enters upon duties as the director of music in Düsseldorf. His duties include directing the choral and orchestral societies of the city and music for Catholic services.
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October 13, 1833: Felix Mendelssohn (24) performs his first official duty as music director in Düsseldorf, conducting a mass by Franz Joseph Haydn (†24).
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November 22, 1833: At his first concert as music director in Düsseldorf, Felix Mendelssohn (24) directs a performance of George Frideric Handel’s (†74) Alexander’s Feast.
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March 10, 1834: The Düsseldorf Theatrical Association constitutes itself to bring theatre and opera to the city. In charge of directing the operas will be Felix Mendelssohn (25).
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April 7, 1834: Felix Mendelssohn’s (25) overture Melusine, or the Mermaid and the Knight is performed for the first time, in London. It will become known as Die schöne Melusine.
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April 26, 1834: Incidental music for Immermann’s play Andreas Hofer by Felix Mendelssohn (25) is performed for the first time, in Düsseldorf.
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May 5, 1834: The last movement of the Concerto for piano and orchestra no.1 by Clara Wieck (14) is performed for the first time, in the Leipzig Gewandhaus, the composer at the keyboard and Felix Mendelssohn (25) conducting. See 9 November 1835.
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May 8, 1834: Felix Mendelssohn’s (25) Rondo brillant in E flat for piano op.29 is performed for the first time, in London.
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May 19, 1834: Infelice op.94 for soprano and orchestra by Felix Mendelssohn (25) is performed for the first time, in London.
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October 2, 1834: While in Leipzig, Felix Mendelssohn (25) visits Friedrich Wieck who presents his daughter Clara (14). She plays some of her own music, some Chopin (24) and some music by a student of Wieck, Robert Schumann (24). Mendelssohn is favorably impressed by Clara.
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October 9, 1834: Felix Mendelssohn (25) enters upon duties as Intendant of the Düsseldorf Opera.
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October 28, 1834: Music by Felix Mendelssohn (25) for celebrations surrounding the opening of the Stadt-Theater in Düsseldorf is performed for the first time
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November 2, 1834: Felix Mendelssohn (25) resigns his position as opera conductor in Düsseldorf.
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November 19, 1834: A setting of Psalm 115 for solo voices, chorus, and orchestra by Felix Mendelssohn (25) is performed for the first time, in Frankfurt.
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January 2, 1835: Felix Mendelssohn (25) receives an offer of a professorship at the University of Leipzig. He will refuse.
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April 20, 1835: Music for Immermann’s play Alexis by Felix Mendelssohn (26) is performed for the first time, in Düsseldorf.
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May 1, 1835: The Lieder ohne Worte op.30 by Felix Mendelssohn (26) are published simultaneously in Germany, France, and Britain.
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June 13, 1835: Felix Mendelssohn (26) accepts the position of director of the Gewandhaus concerts in Leipzig for next year.
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July 2, 1835: Less than two years after his appointment as music director for the city, Felix Mendelssohn (26) gives his last concert in Düsseldorf.
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August 30, 1835: Felix Mendelssohn (26) arrives in Leipzig to take up directorship of the Gewandhaus Orchestra.
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August 31, 1835: Felix Mendelssohn (26) attends a rehearsal of the Gewandhaus orchestra for the first time since becoming its director. At this rehearsal he is introduced to Robert Schumann (25).
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September 13, 1835: Felix Mendelssohn (26) is introduced to the members of the Gewandhaus, Leipzig, and conducts his first rehearsal. Later, he is guest of honor at the 16th birthday party for Clara Wieck. He entertains the assembled by doing imitations of Chopin (25) and Liszt (23) at the piano, then plays his own music alone and with Clara. At Clara’s request Mendelssohn plays the scherzo from Schumann’s (25) new Piano Sonata. Clara receives her presents, a new Capriccio, a birthday ode, and a gold watch from the Davidsbund.
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September 27, 1835: Frédéric Chopin (25) arrives in Leipzig and spends the day making music with Mendelssohn (26). During his stay, he visits Robert Schumann (25) and the Wiecks, and declares that Clara Wieck (16) is the only person in Germany to properly play his compositions.
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October 3, 1835: Robert Schumann (25) attends a party at the home of his teacher, Friedrich Wieck in Leipzig and there meets the new musical presence in the city, Felix Mendelssohn (26).
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October 4, 1835: Felix Mendelssohn conducts his first performance as director of the Gewandhaus Orchestra, Leipzig. The program features his own Calm Sea and Prosperous Voyage and the Fourth Symphony of Ludwig van Beethoven (†8).
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October 16, 1835: After a stressful, emotional trip of two months to Karlsbad, Cieszyn, Dresden, Leipzig, and Heidelberg, where he saw his parents, former students, met Felix Mendelssohn (26), Robert Schumann (25), and Clara Wieck (15), Frédéric Chopin (25) returns to Paris.
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November 9, 1835: Felix Mendelssohn (26), Clara Wieck (16), and Louis Rakeman perform J.S. Bach’s (†85) Concerto in d minor for three keyboards and orchestra for the first time in the composer’s home city of Leipzig since his death. The performance is very successful and continues Mendelssohn’s dedication to reviving the music of Bach. This day also sees the first complete performance of Clara Wieck’s Concerto for piano and orchestra in a minor, orchestrated by Robert Schumann (25), with the composer as soloist, Mendelssohn conducting. See 5 May 1834.
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November 19, 1835: While Felix Mendelssohn (26) is in Leipzig, his father Abraham dies in Berlin. Felix enters a state of extreme grief which will last for an extended period.
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March 8, 1836: The faculty of the University of Leipzig votes to confer an honorary Doctor of Philosophy degree on Felix Mendelssohn. See 20 March 1836.
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March 20, 1836: The University of Leipzig confers an honorary Doctor of Philosophy degree on Felix Mendelssohn (27).
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April 11, 1836: Hoping to make the acquaintance of Felix Mendelssohn (27) and gain a wider audience for his music, Richard Wagner (22) sends Mendelssohn a copy of his Symphony in C major. (Mendelssohn seems not to have responded and the score has never been found.)
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May 1, 1836: Felix Mendelssohn (27) departs Leipzig to direct the Niederrheinisches Musikfest in Düsseldorf. While stopping in Frankfurt, he will meet Cécile Jeanrenaud, the daughter of a Protestant minister.
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May 4, 1836: Felix Mendelssohn (27) arrives in Frankfurt on his way to Düsseldorf to direct the Niederrheinisches Musikfest. Upon his arrival he is introduced to several people, including a young chorus member Cécile Jeanrenaud. She will eventually become his wife.
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May 22, 1836: St. Paul, an oratorio by Felix Mendelssohn (27) to words of Schubring after the Bible, is performed for the first time, at the Niederrheinisches Musikfest, Düsseldorf, the composer conducting. This performance, and others at the festival, assure the international stature of Mendelssohn. At one point, a soloist playing a “false witness” against St. Stephen loses his way. An alto named Fanny Mendelssohn Hensel (30) steps out of the chorus and sings the correct notes for him, whereupon he resumes his part and Frau Hensel returns to the chorus.
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June 6, 1836: Felix Mendelssohn (27) arrives in Frankfurt where he plans to spend the summer. He will see Gioachino Rossini (44) every day for a week. Mendelssohn plays JS Bach (†85) for him at Rossini’s request. The Italian is very impressed. Mendelssohn also spends time with two young women who live in the house where he is staying.
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July 13, 1836: Felix Mendelssohn (27), in Leipzig, mentions in a letter for the first time “an especially beautiful girl whom I should love to see again.” She is his future wife, Cécile Jeanrenaud.
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September 9, 1836: In the woods near the Krontal spa north of Frankfurt, Felix Mendelssohn (27) proposes marriage to Cecile Jeanrenaud. She agrees. Mendelssohn was encouraged by her mother.
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January 4, 1837: In Frankfurt auf der Zeile, da steht ein junger Mann for male voices by Felix Mendelssohn (27) is performed for the first time.
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January 22, 1837: Robert Schumann (26) visits Felix Mendelssohn (27) in Leipzig. Mendelssohn plays through his new Preludes and Fugues op.35. This inspires Schumann to investigate further the music of JS Bach (†86).
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February 12, 1837: Beata mortui in Domino morientes for male voices by Felix Mendelssohn (28) to words of the Apocalypse is performed for the first time, in Leipzig.
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February 24, 1837: Clara Wieck (17) gives her first full-length recital in Berlin. This and the five to follow are given a fairly positive critical response. She is compared to Mendelssohn (28). The public love her. Her father reports, “Triumph, triumph, Clara created a furore last night. Her masterly playing was rewarded by an hour and a half of thunder and formidable bravissimos...Even Paganini (54) did not have such accolades here.”
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March 28, 1837: Felix Mendelssohn (28) marries Cécile Charlotte Sophia Jeanrenaud, daughter of a pastor, in the French Reformed Church of Frankfurt-am-Main. Mendelssohn’s mother and two sisters are absent. His mother is ill and his sisters are both pregnant.
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June 24, 1837: Felix Mendelssohn (28) writes to his mother from Frankfurt that he will support and help his sister, Fanny Mendelssohn Hensel (31), to publish if that is the wish of Fanny and her husband. But he will not encourage her to publish. He thinks that publishing should be part of a lifetime career and that Fanny is “too much a Frau, as is proper…” It might take her away from her first and preferred calling.
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August 24, 1837: Felix Mendelssohn (28) departs Düsseldorf for England. His wife remains at home because she is pregnant.
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August 27, 1837: Felix Mendelssohn (28) once again arrives in England.
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September 8, 1837: Lowell Mason (45) attends a rehearsal of St. Paul by Felix Mendelssohn (28) at Exeter Hall, London and is introduced to the composer.
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September 10, 1837: Felix Mendelssohn (28) performs during a service at St. Paul’s Cathedral in London. After the service, he continues to play and most of the congregation stay on to listen. The sexton, desirous to clear the Cathedral, orders those pumping the bellows to stop. Thus, the concert is concluded. Three or four clergymen publicly berate the sexton and call for his dismissal. The crowd makes a fuss, crying shame at the sexton.
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September 12, 1837: Samuel Wesley (71) attends a recital by Felix Mendelssohn (28) at All Saints, Newgate Street, London. After the concert, Wesley is asked to play. He does so and receives praise from Mendelssohn. “The frail old man improvised with great artistry and splendid facility, so that I could not but admire. His daughter was so moved by the sight of it all that she fainted and could not stop crying and sobbing.” (Eatcock, 63) Wesley replies to Mendelssohn’s praise, “You should have heard me forty years ago.”
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September 20, 1837: Felix Mendelssohn (28) conducts his St. Paul at the Birmingham Festival to great acclaim.
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September 21, 1837: Piano Concerto no.2 op.40 by Felix Mendelssohn (28) is performed for the first time, in Birmingham, the composer at the keyboard.
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September 27, 1837: Felix Mendelssohn (28) arrives in Frankfurt from London where he joins his wife to return to Leipzig.
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October 1, 1837: Felix Mendelssohn (28) arrives in Leipzig from London via Frankfurt hours before he is to conduct the first concert of the new Gewandhaus season.
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October 10, 1837: On a visit to her brother Felix (28) in Leipzig, Fanny Mendelssohn (31) meets her new sister-in-law Cécile for the first time. Fanny was pregnant and could not attend the wedding.
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November 19, 1837: String Quartet no.4 op.44/2 by Felix Mendelssohn (28) is performed for the first time, in Leipzig.
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January 1, 1838: A setting of Psalm 42 for solo voices, chorus, orchestra, and organ by Felix Mendelssohn (28) is performed for the first time, in the Leipzig Gewandhaus.
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February 15, 1838: Felix Mendelssohn (29) conducts the first of four “historical concerts” featuring the music of JS Bach (†87), Handel (†78), and Gluck (†50).
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April 2, 1838: The Serenade und Allegro giojoso op.43 for piano and orchestra by Felix Mendelssohn (29) is performed for the first time, in Leipzig, the composer at the keyboard. He wrote the work in two days, leaving out the last 15 measures of the piano part. Those he composed during the concert.
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April 3, 1838: String Quartet no.5 op.44/3 by Felix Mendelssohn (29) is performed for the first time, in Leipzig.
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April 19, 1838: Festgesang for chorus and piano by Felix Mendelssohn (29) is performed for the first time, in Schwaz.
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February 13, 1839: The lawyer Heinrich Blumner dies in Leipzig leaving a bequest of 20,000 thaler. Through the intercession of Felix Mendelssohn (30), the money will be used to found the Leipzig Conservatory.
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February 16, 1839: String Quartet no.3 op.44/1 by Felix Mendelssohn (30) is performed for the first time, in Leipzig.
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February 21, 1839: A setting of Psalm 95 for solo voices, chorus, and orchestra by Felix Mendelssohn (30) is performed for the first time, in Leipzig.
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March 11, 1839: Felix Mendelssohn’s (30) overture and incidental music to Hugo’s (tr.Dräxler) play Ruy Blas is performed for the first time, in Leipzig.
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March 21, 1839: Symphony in C major “Great” D.944 by Franz Schubert (†10) is performed for the first time, in the Gewandhaus, Leipzig, conducted by Felix Mendelssohn (30). The score was found three months ago when Robert Schumann (28) visited Schubert’s brother Ferdinand in Vienna. See 1 January 1839.
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October 30, 1839: Verleih’ uns Frieden for chorus and orchestra by Felix Mendelssohn (30) is performed for the first time, in Leipzig.
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December 12, 1839: A second performance of Schubert's (†11) Great C Major Symphony D.944 takes place in the Leipzig Gewandhaus conducted by Felix Mendelssohn (30).  Robert Schumann (29) is in attendance to review it for his journal.
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January 1, 1840: A setting of Psalm 114 for chorus and orchestra by Felix Mendelssohn (30) is performed for the first time, in Leipzig.
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January 4, 1840: Felix Mendelssohn (30) writes from Leipzig to his sister Fanny Hensel (34) that he recently played her Caprices for piano to Ferdinand Hiller. “...and we were both astonished and wanted by all means to discover the club-foot in them (Pferdefuss), but there was nothing. They remained a genuine delight.”
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February 1, 1840: Piano Trio no.1 op.49 by Felix Mendelssohn (30) is performed for the first time, in Leipzig, the composer at the piano.
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February 29, 1840: String Quartet no.5 op.44/3 by Felix Mendelssohn (31) is performed for the first time, in Leipzig.
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March 18, 1840: Franz Liszt (28) cancels his second concert in Leipzig scheduled for today. He suffers an attack of “violent shuddering” in the afternoon. He is attended by Felix Mendelssohn (31), Robert Schumann (29), and Ferdinand Hiller.
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March 21, 1840: Felix Mendelssohn (31) gives a large musical soiree in honor of the visiting Franz Liszt (28) in the main hall of the Gewandhaus, Leipzig. There are 350 guests, 200 of which are chorus members and 40 instrumentalists.
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March 30, 1840: Franz Liszt (28) gives the last concert on his current visit to Leipzig. To honor his hosts he plays music of Mendelssohn (31), Ferdinand Hiller, and Schumann (29).
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April 8, 1840: Felix Mendelssohn (31) writes to Minister Baron Johann Paul von Falkenstein asking that the estate left by the lawyer Heinrich Blümner to be disposed of by the King of Saxony, be used to found a music school. It will become Leipzig Conservatory.
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June 25, 1840: Felix Mendelssohn (31) conducts music for the Leipzig Festival commemorating the 400th anniversary of the invention of the printing press. Mendelssohn, who was commissioned to compose music for the festival, directs the premieres of his Symphony no.2 “Lobgesang” for solo voices, chorus, organ and orchestra, and the Festgesang for male chorus to words of Prölss. The second section of this last work will later be adapted as Hark! The Herald Angels Sing.
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July 1, 1840: King Friedrich August II of Saxony offers Felix Mendelssohn (31) the post of Kapellmeister. The composer will decline.
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September 18, 1840: Felix Mendelssohn (31) arrives in London on his sixth trip to Britain. His shortest visit there, he will spend a week in Birmingham and a week in London conducting and performing on the piano and organ.
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October 9, 1840: Felix Mendelssohn (31) arrives back in Leipzig after his shortest trip to England.
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October 30, 1840: Josias von Bunsen, advisor to King Friedrich Wilhelm IV of Prussia, recommends to the king that Felix Mendelssohn (31) be called upon to help make Berlin the cultural center of Germany. He desires a musical educational institution, appropriate sacred music, and encouragement of old and new oratorios.
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December 11, 1840: King Wilhelm IV of Prussia offers the directorship of a proposed Berlin music academy to Felix Mendelssohn (31).
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January 21, 1841: Owing to the new popularity of Baroque music, Felix Mendelssohn (31) directs an ambitious program of music by JS Bach (†90) and Handel (†81) in Leipzig. Mendelssohn himself plays Bach’s Chromatic Fantasia and Fugue and Handel’s Theme and Variations on “The Harmonious Blacksmith.”
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March 31, 1841: Symphony no.1 “Spring” by Robert Schumann (30) is performed for the first time, in the Leipzig Gewandhaus, directed by Felix Mendelssohn (32). Also premiered today is Mendelssohn’s Allegro brillant op.92 for piano duet, and a song by Clara Schumann, Am Strande to words of Burns. Overshadowing all the music is the return to the Leipzig stage of Clara Schumann (21) for the first time since her marriage. She receives thunderous and lasting applause after each piece. And she is four months pregnant.
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April 4, 1841: Felix Mendelssohn (32) is appointed Kapellmeister to King Friedrich August II of Saxony.
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August 1, 1841: Felix Mendelssohn (32) and his family move to Berlin where he is to take up nebulous duties given to him by King Friedrich Wilhelm for the reestablishment of musical culture in the city.
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October 13, 1841: Felix Mendelssohn (32) is appointed Royal Kapellmeister by King Friedrich Wilhelm IV of Prussia.
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October 28, 1841: Incidental music to Sophocles’ play Antigone by Felix Mendelssohn (32) is performed for the first time, before King Friedrich Wilhelm IV of Prussia and invited guests at the Potsdam Court Theatre, including Giacomo Meyerbeer (50) and Fanny Mendelssohn Hensel (35). See 13 April 1842.
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November 27, 1841: 17 Variations sérieuses for piano by Felix Mendelssohn (32) are performed for the first time, in the Gewandhaus, Leipzig by the composer.
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December 15, 1841: Felix Mendelssohn (32) writes to Reinhold Köstlin, the fiancé of Josephine Lang (26), “For heaven’s sake, keep her composing diligently. Truly it is your responsibility towards us all, seeking and thirsting as we constantly are for what is good and new.” (Porter, 88)
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January 19, 1842: An advertisement for a new “Beethoven-Album” for piano by the Vienna music publisher Pietro Mechetti appears in the Wiener Zeitung. Intended to raise money for a monument to Beethoven (†14) in Bonn, Mechetti has secured contributions from many of the most important living composers: Nocturne in E flat op.647 by Carl Czerny (50), L’echo! Scherzo brillant by Frédéric Kalkbrenner (46), 17 Variations sérieuses op.54 by Felix Mendelssohn (32), Prélude in c sharp minor op.45 by Frédéric Chopin (31), Marche funèbre de la Symphonie héroique by Franz Liszt (30), Romance sans paroles op.41/1 by Sigismond Thalberg (30), Wiegenlied op.13/1 by Adolf von Henselt (27), as well as music by Theodor Döhler, Ignaz Moscheles and Wilhelm Taubert.
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February 5, 1842: Felix Mendelssohn (33) writes to Ferdinand David about the playing of Franz Liszt (30), “...he sacrificed a large part of my esteem by the foolish antics he plays not just with his audience (there is no harm in that) but with the music itself as well. He played Beethoven (†14), Bach (†91), Handel (†82) and Weber (†15) with such wretched shortcomings, so untidily and ignorantly, that I had much rather have heard them played by mediocre pianists.”
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March 3, 1842: Symphony no.3 “Scottish” by Felix Mendelssohn (33) is performed for the first time, in Leipzig under the direction of the composer.
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March 5, 1842: Incidental music to Sophocles’ play Antigone by Felix Mendelssohn (33) is performed publicly for the first time, in Leipzig. See 28 October 1841.
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May 20, 1842: Anton Rubinstein (12) gives his first important performance in London, at the Hanover Rooms.
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May 29, 1842: At the invitation of William Sterndale Bennett, Felix Mendelssohn (33) arrives in London for the seventh time, bringing his new Symphony no.3. For the first time, he is accompanied by his wife.
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June 14, 1842: Felix Mendelssohn (33) meets with Prince Albert at Buckingham Palace carrying a letter of introduction from King Friedrich Wilhelm IV.
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June 16, 1842: At the Prince Consort’s request, Felix Mendelssohn (33) performs before Victoria and Albert at Buckingham Palace. He plays some songs without words and then asking for two themes he improvises on Rule Britannia and the Austrian national anthem simultaneously. (There is some discrepancy about the date. This appears as 16 June in Victoria’s diary, but it is 20 June according to Mendelssohn).
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July 9, 1842: Felix Mendelssohn (33) makes a second visit to Buckingham Palace at the request of Prince Albert. The royal couple sing sections of St. Paul to his organ accompaniment. When the Queen ably sings Mendelssohn’s Italien op.8/3, he tells her that it was written by his sister, Fanny (36).
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October 16, 1842: Determined to leave his royal appointment, Felix Mendelssohn (33) meets with King Friedrich Wilhelm in Berlin. The king does not agree. He needs Mendelssohn to be part of his reorganization of the musical culture of the city.
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October 26, 1842: Felix Mendelssohn (33) meets with King Friedrich Wilhelm of Prussia for a second time in Potsdam to tell him that he feels his appointment is a failure and that he wishes to leave Berlin. Rather than be angry, the king negotiates a more reasonable set of responsibilities for Mendelssohn. He will create a new court chapel which Mendelssohn will conduct and compose for. Before it is established, he is free to travel.
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November 13, 1842: Felix Mendelssohn (33) meets with King Friedrich August II in Dresden. He turns down an appointment as Kapellmeister but urges the king to found a conservatory in Leipzig.
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November 21, 1842: King Friedrich August II of Saxony informs Felix Mendelssohn (33) that he will use the estate of Heinrich Blümner to fund a conservatory in Leipzig.
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November 22, 1842: The agreement between Felix Mendelssohn (33) and King Friedrich Wilhelm of Prussia of 26 October is formalized in a Supreme Cabinet Order naming Mendelssohn Generalmusikdirektor for church music.
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December 29, 1842: Josephine Lang Köstlin (27) gives birth to her first child in Tübingen. The child is named Felix after Mendelssohn (33).
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January 23, 1843: In Weimar, Hector Berlioz (39) writes to Felix Mendelssohn (33) in Leipzig, asking whether there is a possibility that he might perform some of his music in that city.
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January 26, 1843: Felix Mendelssohn (33) writes back to Hector Berlioz (39) informing him that he has arranged for concerts of Berlioz’ music in Leipzig on 4 and 22 February.
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January 28, 1843: Hector Berlioz (39) arrives in Leipzig and immediately goes to the Gewandhaus where Felix Mendelssohn (33) is rehearsing for the premiere of the revised version of Die erste Walpurgisnacht. They have not seen each other since Rome, 1830.
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February 2, 1843: Hector Berlioz (39) travels by train from Leipzig to Dresden (c.110 km) in three-and-a-half hours to prepare a concert there, and returns in the afternoon for the Mendelssohn (33) premiere in the evening. It is his first trip on a train.
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February 2, 1843: Felix Mendelssohn, on the eve of his 34th birthday, conducts the revised version of his cantata Die erste Walpurgisnacht at a Gewandhaus performance attended by Hector Berlioz (39). The Frenchman is very enthusiastic.
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February 4, 1843: Hector Berlioz (39) performs at the Gewandhaus, Leipzig, including the King Lear Overture and the Symphonie Fantastique. Felix Mendelssohn (34) plays the harp part on piano. The audience, which includes Robert Schumann (32) is appreciative, the critics unimpressed.
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April 3, 1843: Leipzig Conservatory opens for business. The man chiefly responsible for its existence, Felix Mendelssohn (34), is an instructor.
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April 13, 1843: The city of Leipzig makes Felix Mendelssohn (34) an honorary citizen.
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April 23, 1843: The memorial to Johann Sebastian Bach (†92) is unveiled before the Thomaskirche, Leipzig. Felix Mendelssohn (34) leads an all-Bach concert in the Gewandhaus.
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May 15, 1843: Charles Gounod (24) leaves the Hensels in Berlin with a letter of introduction to Felix Mendelssohn (34) in Leipzig.
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May 17, 1843: At the request of Charles Gounod (24), Felix Mendelssohn (34) performs works of JS Bach (†92) upon the organ in the Thomaskirche, Leipzig for Gounod and other invited guests. Mendelssohn plays for two hours. Gounod will recall, “Great shivers ran down my spine, and every time I think of it I seem to feel those shivers again.” (Little, 70)
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June 7, 1843: Richard Wagner (30) conducts music for the unveiling of a statue of the late Friedrich August I in Dresden, including the premieres of his own Festgesang “Der Tag erscheint” WWV 68 for male chorus to words of CC Hohlfeld and Felix Mendelssohn’s (34) setting of the national anthem of Saxony, Gott segne Sachsenland for male chorus and winds.
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June 8, 1843: Richard Wagner (30) writes to Felix Mendelssohn (34) saying, “I am proud to belong to the nation that produced you and your St. Paul.”
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July 10, 1843: At a meeting in Berlin with King Friedrich Wilhelm IV of Prussia, attended by Generalmusikdirektor of the opera Giacomo Meyerbeer (51), Felix Mendelssohn (34) is instructed to direct two oratorios and orchestral soirees each year, and to oversee church music for high holy days.
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August 6, 1843: Herr Gott, dich loben wir for solo voices, double chorus, orchestra, and organ by Felix Mendelssohn (34) is performed for the first time, in Berlin Cathedral. The music helps mark the 1,000th anniversary of the founding of the German Reich.
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August 19, 1843: Andante and Variations for two pianos by Robert Schumann (33) is performed for the first time, in Leipzig by Clara Schumann (23) and Felix Mendelssohn (34). The concert is interrupted by a fire alarm.
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September 2, 1843: An order of the Prussian cabinet ratifies the agreement between King Friedrich Wilhelm and Felix Mendelssohn (34) of 10 July.
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October 14, 1843: Incidental music to Shakespeare’s (translated by Tieck) play A Midsummer Night’s Dream by Felix Mendelssohn (34) is performed for the first time, at the Neuer Palais, Potsdam. The overture written by Mendelssohn in 1826 is also performed. It is a great success.
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November 18, 1843: Cello Sonata no.2 op.58 by Felix Mendelssohn (34) is performed for the first time, in Leipzig.
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November 25, 1843: Felix Mendelssohn (34) leaves Leipzig and moves to Berlin.
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December 3, 1843: A setting of Psalm 24 for chorus by Felix Mendelssohn (34) is performed for the first time, in Berlin.
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December 24, 1843: A setting of Psalm 2 for solo voices and chorus by Felix Mendelssohn (34) is performed for the first time, in Berlin along with the first performance of his Frohlocket, ihr Völker for double chorus.
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January 1, 1844: A setting of Psalm 98 for double chorus, orchestra, and organ by Felix Mendelssohn (34) is performed for the first time, in Berlin along with the first performances of his Wachet Auf for chorus and winds and Herr Gott, du bist unsre Zuflucht for double chorus.
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January 10, 1844: Richard Wagner (30) writes to Felix Mendelssohn (34), “I am really happy that you like me. If I have come a little closer to you, that is the nicest thing about my whole Berlin expedition.”
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January 21, 1844: A setting of Psalm 100 for chorus by Felix Mendelssohn (34) is performed for the first time, in Berlin along with the premiere of Mendelssohn’s Ehre se idem Vater for chorus.
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February 25, 1844: A setting of Psalm 43 for chorus by Felix Mendelssohn (35) is performed for the first time, in Berlin along with the premiere of Mendelssohn’s In der Passionszeit for chorus.
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April 5, 1844: Two works for chorus by Felix Mendelssohn (35) are performed for the first time, on Good Friday in Berlin: Psalm 22 for solo voices and chorus, and Um unserer Sünden for double chorus.
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May 8, 1844: Felix Mendelssohn (35) arrives in London for his eighth journey to Britain. He will conduct several Philharmonic concerts.
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May 27, 1844: At the request of Felix Mendelssohn (35), Joseph Joachim (13) makes his London debut playing the Beethoven (†17) Violin Concerto with Mendelssohn and the Philharmonic Society. Mendelssohn’s popularity was enough to overcome the Society’s ban on child prodigies.
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May 30, 1844: Felix Mendelssohn (35) once again visits Buckingham Palace where he plays his own music and improvises on others’. He accompanies Queen Victoria in one of the songs by his sister Fanny (38). “He is such an agreeable, clever man…and his countenance beams with intelligence and genius.” (Eatcock, 86)
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June 10, 1844: Felix Mendelssohn (35) conducts a Philharmonic concert on his eighth trip to London. In the audience are Queen Victoria, Prince Albert, and King Friedrich August II of Saxony.
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June 16, 1844: Felix Mendelssohn (35) dines with Charles Dickens in London. The author has just completed Martin Chuzzlewit.
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June 25, 1844: Variations in B flat op.83a for piano duet by Felix Mendelssohn (35) is performed for the first time, in London.
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July 11, 1844: Felix Mendelssohn (35) leaves London to return to Germany to direct the Zweibrücken music festival at the end of July.
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September 2, 1844: Denn er hat seinen Engeln befohlen über dir for double chorus by Felix Mendelssohn (35) is performed for the first time, in Königsberg Cathedral, directed by Otto Nicolai (34). King Friedrich Wilhelm IV is in attendance.
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September 30, 1844: King Friedrich Wilhelm IV of Prussia gives Felix Mendelssohn (35) his freedom from conducting requirements provided he remains available for special commissions and occasional conducting.
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November 30, 1844: Freed from his obligations in the capital, Felix Mendelssohn (35) moves from Berlin to Frankfurt.
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January 8, 1845: Hear My Prayer, a hymn for soprano, chorus, and organ by Felix Mendelssohn (35) to words of Bartholomew after the Bible, is performed for the first time, in London.
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March 13, 1845: Felix Mendelssohn’s (36) Violin Concerto op.64 is performed for the first time, in the Leipzig Gewandhaus.
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June 11, 1845: The Committee of the Birmingham Festival votes to ask Felix Mendelssohn (36) to conduct the next festival and to provide a new oratorio for that occasion.
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August 13, 1845: Felix Mendelssohn (36) and his family move to 3 Königstraße in Leipzig, his last residence.
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September 15, 1845: Six Sonatas for Organ by Felix Mendelssohn (36) are published simultaneously in London, Leipzig, Milan, and Paris.
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November 1, 1845: Incidental music to Sophocles’ play Oedipus at Colonos by Felix Mendelssohn (36) is performed for the first time, before King Friedrich Wilhelm IV in the Neues Palais, Potsdam. Public and press are unimpressed.
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November 11, 1845: Die Frauen und die Sänger for chorus by Felix Mendelssohn (36) to words of Schiller, is performed for the first time, in Leipzig.
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November 22, 1845: Robert Schumann (35) sees Tannhäuser again and changes his previously hostile view of the score. He writes to Mendelssohn (36) that he will have to retract most of what he wrote about it.
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December 1, 1845: Incidental music to Racine’s play Athalie by Felix Mendelssohn (36) is performed for the first time, at the Charlottenburg Palace, Berlin. See 8 January 1846.
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December 4, 1845: The demand to see Jenny Lind at a Gewandhaus concert directed by Felix Mendelssohn (36) is so great that ticket prices are increased and the usual free admission for students of the Leipzig Conservatory is cancelled. The students protest and their leader, Otto Goldschmidt (later accompanist and husband to Jenny Lind), negotiates with Mendelssohn. At the conductor’s wish, Ms. Lind will give a benefit concert for the Gewandhaus musicians pension fund.
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December 20, 1845: Piano Trio no.2 by Felix Mendelssohn (36) is performed for the first time, in Leipzig, the composer at the keyboard.
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January 1, 1846: Concerto for piano and orchestra op.54 by Robert Schumann (35) is performed publicly for the first time, in the Leipzig Gewandhaus, Clara Schumann (26) at the keyboard, conducted by Felix Mendelssohn (36). Clara is eight months pregnant. See 4 December 1845.
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January 8, 1846: Incidental music to Racine’s play Athalie by Felix Mendelssohn (36) is performed publicly for the first time, in Potsdam. See 1 December 1845.
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April 12, 1846: At a memorable concert in Leipzig, Felix Mendelssohn (37) accompanies Jenny Lind and later Ferdinand David. He also performs the Moonlight Sonata and plays duets with Clara Schumann (26).
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June 11, 1846: A setting of Lauda Sion for solo voices, chorus and orchestra by Felix Mendelssohn (37) is performed for the first time, in Liège to celebrate the six hundredth anniversary of the city.
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June 14, 1846: Festgesang an die Künstler op.68 for male voices, brass, and organ by Felix Mendelssohn (37) is performed for the first time, in Cologne.
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July 8, 1846: Felix Mendelssohn (37) gives Robert Schumann (36) a copy of Tristan und Isolde by Karl Librecht Immerman, rekindling his interest in opera.
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July 9, 1846: Fanny Mendelssohn (40) writes to her brother Felix (37) that she has decided to publish her music.
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August 12, 1846: Felix Mendelssohn (37) finally gives his blessing to Fanny’s decision to publish. He congratulates her with his “professional blessing on becoming a member of the craft.”
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August 18, 1846: Felix Mendelssohn (37) arrives in England to conduct Elijah. It is his ninth visit to the country.
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August 23, 1846: Felix Mendelssohn (37), soloists, orchestra, and press all board a train from London to Birmingham for the premiere of Elijah.
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August 26, 1846: Elijah, an oratorio by Felix Mendelssohn (37) to words of Schubring after the Bible, is performed for the first time, in Birmingham, directed by the composer. The Times of London reports that the audience reaction was a “volley of plaudits, vociferous and deafening.”
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August 28, 1846: The Lord God Almighty for tenor and instruments by Felix Mendelssohn (37) is performed for the first time, in Birmingham.
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September 6, 1846: After the triumph of Elijah, Felix Mendelssohn (37) departs London for Belgium.
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November 5, 1846: Symphony no.2 by Robert Schumann (36) is performed for the first time, in Leipzig directed by Felix Mendelssohn (37). The response is lukewarm. Some in the press blame Mendelssohn.
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November 10, 1846: Felix Mendelssohn’s (37) choral song Der Sänger to words of Schiller is performed for the first time, in Leipzig.
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November 30, 1846: Im Advent for chorus by Felix Mendelssohn (37) is performed for the first time, in Berlin.
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November 30, 1846: A Te Deum in A for solo voices, chorus, and organ by Felix Mendelssohn (37) is performed for the first time, in London.
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December 25, 1846: Die deutsche Liturgie for chorus by Felix Mendelssohn (37) is performed for the first time, in Berlin.
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January 1, 1847: Robert (36) and Clara (27) Schumann give their third concert in Vienna. Clara plays Schumann’s piano concerto, conducted by the composer, as well as music of Chopin (36) and Mendelssohn (37). Eduard Hanslick reports, “Attendance was very poor, the applause cool and obviously only directed to Clara.” It is the first time that a concert involving Clara Schumann loses money.
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March 15, 1847: Felix Mendelssohn’s (38) concert aria On Lena’s Gloomy Heath for voice and orchestra to words of Ossian is performed for the first time, in London.
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April 2, 1847: Felix Mendelssohn (38) conducts a performance of his oratorio St. Paul. It is his last conducting appearance in Leipzig or Germany. He will soon be in England again to conduct several performances of Elijah.
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April 12, 1847: Felix Mendelssohn (38) arrives in London for the tenth, and last time.
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April 13, 1847: While standing on a bridge over the Thames in London, Felix Mendelssohn (38) suffers a brief period of dizziness.
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April 16, 1847: Felix Mendelssohn (38) conducts a revised version of his oratorio Elijah at Exeter Hall, London.
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April 26, 1847: Felix Mendelssohn (38) gives his last concert with the London Philharmonic Society, in the presence of Queen Victoria, Prince Albert, and Jenny Lind.
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May 1, 1847: Felix Mendelssohn spends an hour with Queen Victoria and Prince Albert at Buckingham Palace.
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May 4, 1847: Jenny Lind makes her London debut in Giacomo Meyerbeer’s (55) Robert Le Diable. At the conclusion, Queen Victoria, in an unprecedented gesture, throws a wreath at the singer’s feet. It is a glittering triumph, for the singer and the music. Felix Mendelssohn (38) is also present.
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May 8, 1847: Felix Mendelssohn (38) departs London for the last time.
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May 12, 1847: Felix Mendelssohn (38) arrives in Frankfurt from his tenth trip to England.
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September 18, 1847: After a stop in Frankfurt, Felix Mendelssohn (38) and his family return to their home in Leipzig from Switzerland.
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October 9, 1847: While rehearsing songs in Leipzig, Felix Mendelssohn (38) begins exhibiting symptoms of his final illness, including shivering, cold hands, and headaches.
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October 10, 1847: By a doctor’s orders, leeches are applied to Felix Mendelssohn (38).
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October 14, 1847: Otto Nicolai (37) is named Kapellmeister at the Royal Opera House, Berlin and artistic director of the cathedral choir. In this capacity he succeeds Mendelssohn (38).
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October 25, 1847: Felix Mendelssohn (38) writes to his brother that his health is improving daily.
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October 28, 1847: While eating lunch with his wife, Felix Mendelssohn (38) suffers a mild stroke and is brought to bed. He loses the ability to speak for 15 minutes.
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November 3, 1847: Felix Mendelssohn (38) suffers another stroke and loses consciousness.
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November 4, 1847: 21:24 Jakob Ludwig Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy dies at his home at Königstraße 5 (Goldschmidtstraße 12) in Leipzig, Kingdom of Saxony, probably from a ruptured brain artery, aged 38 years, nine months, and one day. Attending him are his wife, brother Paul, Heinrich Schleinitz, the pianist Ignaz Moscheles and his doctors.
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November 7, 1847: Thousands accompany the body of Felix Mendelssohn from his home to the Paulinerkirche, Leipzig. There, a funeral service takes place. Among the pallbearers are Robert Schumann (37) and Ignaz Moscheles. At 22:00 thousands accompany the mortal remains to the train station, there to be placed upon a train bound for Berlin.
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November 8, 1847: After an all night train trip from Leipzig, stopping at several towns to receive honors, the funeral train arrives in Berlin at 06:00 The body is borne to the Church of the Holy Trinity for a service, after which the earthly remains of Felix Mendelssohn are laid to rest in the cemetery of the church, near those of his sister Fanny (†0).
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November 14, 1847: Elijah by Felix Mendelssohn (†0) is given its Vienna premiere. “Music stands draped in black, singers dressed in black; on the conductor’s desk lay a score and a laurel wreath, but there was nobody standing at the desk, the performance being led from a lower stand by the chorus master.”
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June 8, 1848: Franz Liszt (35) and Richard Wagner (35) spend an evening with Robert Schumann (38) at his home in Dresden. Unfortunately, Liszt and Schumann argue over the abilities of Mendelssohn (†0) and Meyerbeer (56). Soon, Wagner will ask Liszt for money.
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September 8, 1852: Loreley, an unfinished opera by Felix Mendelssohn (†4) to words of Geibel, is performed for the first time, in Birmingham.
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November 4, 1853: O Haupt voll Blut und Wunden for solo voices, chorus, and orchestra by Felix Mendelssohn is performed for the first time, in Leipzig on the sixth anniversary of the composer’s death.
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June 11, 1854: While her husband Robert (44) resides in an asylum, Clara Schumann (34) gives birth to their eighth and last child, a boy, whom she names Felix after Mendelssohn (†6).
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November 2, 1854: Felix Mendelssohn’s incomplete oratorio Christus to words of von Bunsen after the Bible is performed for the first time, in Leipzig two days before the seventh anniversary of the composer’s death.
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January 25, 1858: Princess Victoria of Great Britain and Prince Friedrich of Prussia marry in the Chapel Royal, St. James’s Palace. Their use of Felix Mendelssohn’s (†10) “Wedding March” from A Midsummer Night’s Dream will greatly popularize the practice.
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May 4, 1860: A bronze statue of Felix Mendelssohn (†12) by Charles Bacon, measuring eight feet (2.4 m) high, is unveiled at the Crystal Palace, London.
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June 4, 1867: Paul Mendelssohn (brother of Felix), writes to Ferdinand Hiller, inspired by his essay of 29 May. He asks if Josephine Lang Köstlin (52) will accept a gift from the royalties of Felix Mendelssohn (†19). She will, and he will send her 1,000 Thaler. Lang will receive many other smaller gifts as a result of the essay.
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April 20, 1890: Enrique Granados (22) makes his official debut at Barcelona’s Teatre Líric, premiering Arabesca, selections from Danzas españolas, and Serenata española. He also plays music of Saint-Saëns (54), Bizet (†14), Mendelssohn (†42), Chopin (†40), Beethoven (†63), Mozart (†98), and Schubert (†61). The critics are enthusiastic about his compositions and his playing.
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April 17, 1933: The Münchener neueste Nachrichten publishes an open letter condemning Thomas Mann. Mann gave a lecture commemorating the 50th anniversary of the death of Richard Wagner and criticized Wagner for his anti-Semitism and attacks on the music of Felix Mendelssohn (†85).
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November 10, 1936: During the night, the acting mayor of Leipzig (a Nazi named Haake) has the memorial statue to Mendelssohn (†89), which stands before the Gewandhaus, removed to a cellar. There his henchmen hack it to bits.
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April 28, 1962: Die Soldatenliebschaft, a comic opera written by Felix Mendelssohn (†114) at the age of 10, to words of Casper, is performed for the first time, in Wittenberg 142 years after it was composed.
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July 9, 1967: Leonard Bernstein (48) conducts Mahler’s (†56) Resurrection Symphony and the e minor Violin Concerto of Felix Mendelssohn (†119) on Mt. Scopus after the Six-Day War.