Mendelssohn

24-hours-in-pictures-Joha-001

In my experience Mendelssohn’s reputation has gone up and down with the reputation of Victoriana (Landseer’s paintings make a good parallel). Sometimes they are dismissed as outdated and vacuous, sometimes revived as misunderstood and containing unappreciated qualities.

I think contemporary taste colours our judgement of art more than we think. Maybe in fifty or a hundred years’ time a different taste will prevail and our age’s admiration for Messiaen and Stravinsky will be dismissed as naive and mistaken by a later age who consider them overrated.

I do find Mendelssohn very uneven, and this is emphasised when one hears so many of his lesser-known works. At his best he’s Schumann’s equal, if not that of Berlioz, but that doesn’t happen often.

It’s often said that what prevented him being a great composer was that his life was too easy; he never suffered the traumatic experiences which forged Mozart and Beethoven as adults. But I wonder how many people who think he’s overrated know the F minor string quartet.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: