Mendelssohn's fairies, though, it may be observed that these certainly hop as light as bird from brier,' if we compare them with Humperdinck's stiffly pedantic elves in the famous and popular Hansel and Gretel,

Devoted as he was to Goethe the man, and boyishly proud of early winning his notice and friendship, it is easy to understand that, as a poet, Mendelssohn could prefer Schiller. Of Wilhelm Tell he writes:

My heart is so overflowing that I must tell you about it. ... I have just read half of the first scene. ... This is what I call a poem and a literary opening; first the pure, clear verse in which the lake, smooth as a mirror and all else, is so vividly described, . . . it is quite glorious ... it is so admirable in Schiller, too, to have created an entire Switzerland for himself inasmuch as he never saw it. ... The expression that Goethe once made use of to me that Schiller could have supplied two great tragedies every year, with its businesslike tone, always inspired me with particular respect, but not till this morning did the full force of its meaning become clear to me, and it has made me feel that I too must set to work in earnest.

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In spite of the fact that Mendelssohn came of perhaps the most bitingly ironical race that civilisation has hitherto conceived and brought forth, he totally lacked this trait, quality, or defect—whichever we choose to call it. He could be tenderly humorous, as in the two symphonies known respectively as the Scotch' and the Italian, but never for an instant is he witty-witty, that is, in the sense of the term as applicable to so many French and Russian composers, or to the Pole, Chopin.

Heine, like most other contemporary celebrities, was an habitué of the Mendelssohn social gatherings. No one of the family circle, least of all Felix, could quite decide whether to be solemnly shocked or merely puzzled by the poet's mocking sallies and revolutionary tirades. In this connexion we may be surprised that Mendelssohn should have set any of Heine's words, but only once, and this in Auf Flügeln des Gesanges, where Heine is at his sweetest and calmest, can he and Mendelssohn be said to blend without a perceptible discord.”

It was his excellent knowledge of Greek that helped to procure Mendelssohn a royal commission from the King of Prussia to set the Antigone and the Oedipus Coloneus of Sophocles to music. That he should miss their sombre, fateful atmosphere was inevitable ; and yet there is much in these two scores to incline one to place them in the very front rank of his compositions. His instinct for roundness of form, balance and symmetry came signally to his

? But if Mendelssohn did not quite understand Heine, there is, at any rate, one atter-day Englishman who has realised Mendelssohn's exact position and capability as & song-writer. This is Mr. Percy Pinkerton. His English translation of the words of Mendelssohn's lyrics, in Breitkopf and Härtel's latest edition, is so entirely in sympathy with the texture and spirit of the music that the achievement merits & new era and life for the songs; and this in the hands of those who should best be able to sing them.

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aid in the technical understanding of each drama as a whole; and the human characterisation, if not wholly distinctive in his Oedipus, is at least throughout his Antigone broader and more dignified, more imbued with a breath and pulse of life, than anything to be cited, for example, in Elijah. Especially genial besides is his treatment of the Greek chorus. What the fundamental characteristics of music may have been at the zenith of taste and culture in classic Greece, no one has discovered.

one has discovered. It seems, however, reasonable to surmise that a people permeated with the mellow, suave feeling for plastic beauty perceptible in their sculpture and literature must have been incapable of accepting the thin, dreary, monotonous wailing that modern pedagogues hasten to inflict upon us at any hearing of Greek plays. These ugly anomalies were already rife in Mendelssohn's days. He had the courage to reject them. He steered clear of the austere polyphonic mediævalism of our Western music in its infancy, as well as the later types of light Italian melody—both equally ludicrous anachronisms in conjunction with the nature of Greek classicism as we know it in every art but music. If that frank estimate made of his own limitations with regard to the Greek sense of tragicness in past and future' can show us how pleasantly easy it was to Mendelssohn to fathom his own nature, there are, nevertheless, various other aspects of the Greek genius to which he was most closely, albeit unconsciously, akin. In the clear, objective, sane, articulate consonance of his outlook upon the present, in his comprehension for the ideal in the real, he was neither Jew nor Christian ; but like Goethe, Greek of very Greek. It must have been this spirit perceived in him by Goethe that attracted the latter to Mendelssohn. Goethe said of him: 'He was born on

a lucky day. In Hungary he the crowning of an imperial head, and in Rome he finds a conclave, and even Vesuvius gets up a spectacle for him!' he summarised his complaisant attitude towards a tangible world; and the signal differences which must always separate the circumspect moderation of his genius from the untrammelled yet unsatisfied floating sensations of mood conveyed to us, for instance, by Chopin and Schumann, although the actual range of vision and plane of lyrism of all three composers could be identical when contrasted, let us say, with Beethoven, Wagner, and others of epic and tragic stature. Music, being the supreme art of emotion and sensation, it is only too easy to say in note and phrase what convention and propriety might make a man hesitate to utter in printed word. Distracted by more startling novelties, English amateurs, once the most ardent supporters of the indispensable Lieder ohne Worte, have wavered and faltered in their allegiance. But for all that the quality of this music still confirms it as an im

* The Greek View of Life, by Lowes Dickinson M.A.


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peccable and delectable classic for the usage of amateur circles of the highest refinement. Mendelssohn apparently never indulged in any experience, or at least he never composed a phrase, which he might not breathe in the ears of la jeune fille, be she never so immaculately and jealously guarded.

When he married, his choice of a wife was eminently judicious and suitable. Cécile Mendelssohn, née Jeanrenaud, was a young French girl of good birth and education, spiritually pretty, and as elegant as her husband. Their union was an idyll. Cécile

. painted landscapes in one room whilst Felix composed them in another. They were fully justified in satisfying the normal craving of every healthy young creature to beget offspring. In April 1845 we find Mendelssohn writing to a friend : 'All is well with us, Heaven be thanked. Cécile is splendidly fit. The children are flourishing. Spring is at hand. ..

Work prosperous.

What more can a man desire ?'

Berlin, as one gathers from the family chronicles, was the one place in which Mendelssohn failed to earn a full measure of popularity. In Berlin though, for over a century, cliques of chauvinism have remained paramount, disputing for supremacy in Semitic, as well as in artistic questions. It is somewhat curious that although he knew Paris during one of her most brilliant epochs of social and mental fecundity, he found there comparatively little to enjoy. In his frequent sojournings in London, on the other hand, those phases of our social life with which he was familiar, in the luxury of aristocratic palaces, or in the solid comfort of middleclass homes, made direct appeal to Mendelssohn. When he stayed in our country houses he was a singularly agreeable guest, composing charming caprices upon the flowers in the garden, and dedicating these to the ladies of the household. To be sure, in the strict privacy of his apartment he occasionally wrote his relatives goodhumoured diatribes upon his point of view as to the useless prettiness of English girls, with their eternal tinkling upon pianos, and their inability to cook even a pancake or a potato properly. But where Wagner and Berlioz were at pains to shake the dust of England from their feet with wrathful weariness and contumely, young Master Mendelssohn stood his ground smiling blithely. One knows of no other musician of his sincerity and magnitude who, after protracted intercourse, could still preserve cordially amiable relations with our * Royal Philharmonic Society' and our 'Royal Opera.' The latter institution elected to interpolate the latest up-to-date ballet appliances of the day into its production of his Antigone. Mendelssohn imperturbably allowed the performances to continue for forty-five nights ; and begged his family to procure the issue of Punch containing a caricature of the business, which, he wrote, gave him cause for unalloyed merriment.

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In the unendowed conditions of music-making peculiar to England, commercial exigencies must perforce be uppermost. One cogent reason for his uniformly friendly dealings with our musical authorities was his ability as a financier. Monetary calculations of profit and loss which Berlioz or Schumann might strive in vain to grasp, came to Mendelssohn with exactly the same

ease and dexterity with which he evolved his musical phraseology. In his frequent organisation of concerts for himself and others he exhibited all the patience and requisite foresight in tackling every small detail connected with the expenses of rehearsing, advertising, printing, hiring, travelling, tipping, what not. The stupidity or the astuteness of agents and entrepreneurs for once found their master in a musician. Practice makes perfect in the intelligent handling of money as in everything else ; and the moderation and frugality of Mendelssohn's speculations, in money as in music, reminds one that his grandmother, on his father's side, is famed in the family archives as an example of housewifely economy. Before any small festive gathering she was wont, we are told, to count out, one by one, the almonds and raisins for dessert.

It may be argued that Mendelssohn's sudden death in the full flush of manhood and success was a sharp and unseemly dissonance. Yet, after all, was this so ? The more he felt himself in touch with the world, the more happily he exercised his powers, the more vividly he lived in action; so much the more alien and bitter and incomprehensible must he have found the phenomenon of age, creeping on with its incapacities and disabilities.

The first heavy clouds to dim his horizon were the deaths of his parents, but as nearly as one human being may venture to decide for another, the sharpest pang of sorrow that Mendelssohn was destined to feel was his grief, just six months before his own death, over the loss of his beloved sister Fanny Hensel. The anguish and depression to which he then fell a prey are a pregnant token that he found death just as incomprehensible to contemplate as he might have found age. Was not this early end of his, therefore, absolutely opportune--a beautifully resolved cadence of bright major concords after his own most consistent manner? To have lived his complete little span of life filled to the brim with the zest of fruitful work; to have drunk deep of the happiness of sheltered friendship and family love ; to have experienced the joys of marriage and parentage; to know nothing of the hampering handicaps of poverty, or of the sting of failure ; never to have felt the weary agony of some lingering malady, nor to have to turn and flee and hide from some grim harbingers of loneliness ; never, finally, to have to watch the present tense of his fame dwindling and merging into a preterite pastwho can dream or imagine a sweeter finale to mortal symphony?





The idea has taken root in England that the object of Germany's ambitious naval policy is to strike a blow at England's maritime supremacy the moment she is equal to the task, and it is asserted on many sides that she would challenge her command of the sea to-day but for the fact that Germany takes no risks. The German Fleet cannot obtain its requisite strength before 1917 or 1918, and meanwhile sops and palliatives are being employed in order to disarm England's apprehensions and persuade her to reduce her shipbuilding programme.

Germany, they say, cannot conceivably need a fleet of the strength contemplated except for the one purpose on which she is irrevocably resolved of wiping England off the highways of the sea, and writers support this view by quotations from the Emperor's speeches and those of Prince Buelow. The growth of the Flottenverein is an additional factor in the situation, and significance is attached to the writings of certain German publicists that have as their intention to rouse the nation to a sense of their greater destiny. Some of the leading men of thought in economic science are cited as supporters of Germany's naval expansion, which is being interpreted to mean the inflaming of popular feeling against England's sea supremacy.

This is a powerful indictment against a nation that professes friendship for England and whose sovereign has recently pledged his people's conscience and his own to the view that the peace of the world depends on the friendship of the two countries.

The fact that these views are not only possible, but are held by many intelligent Englishmen, shows that suspicion and apprehension have taken deep and probably lasting root.

11. Britischer Imperialismus und Englischer Freihandel zu Beginn des Zwan. zigsten Jahrhunderts. By Dr. G. von Schulze-Gaevernitz. Leipzig. Duncker und Humblot, 1906.

2. England und Deutschland. By Professor G. von Schulze-Gaevernitz. Berlin. Schoeneberg, Buchverlag der · Hilfe,' 1908.

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