My Recollections of Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy, and His Letters to Me

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Actor and baritone Eduard Devrient (1801-77) first met Felix Mendelssohn (1809-47) in 1822, and they remained close friends thereafter. During his lifetime, Mendelssohn achieved celebrity status as a composer, virtuoso pianist and conductor, and it was Devrient who secured in 1829 the famous performance in Berlin, under Mendelssohn's direction, of the St Matthew Passion, which began the Bach revival. First published in German in 1869, this work is reissued here in the English translation of the same year by Natalia Macfarren (1827-1913), singer and wife of the composer Sir George Macfarren. Her work as a translator included the first English versions of Wagner's Lohengrin and Verdi's Rigoletto. Although Devrient does not always exactly reproduce the correspondence, particularly where Mendelssohn is critical of others, the letters and commentary here serve to illuminate the development of a great composer.