1809–1847
Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy

Introduction

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Born: Feb­ru­a­ry 3, 1809, Ham­burg, Ger­ma­ny.

Died: No­vem­ber 4, 1847, Leip­zig, Ger­ma­ny.

Buried: Drei­fal­tig­keits­fried­hof, Kreuz­berg, Ber­lin, Ger­ma­ny.

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Anecdote

It is said that Men­dels­sohn used to wan­der through the vil­lag­es of Eng­land, vis­it­ing the Epis­co­pal church­es. One day he en­tered an an­cient church where the old or­gan­ist was strum­ming the or­gan, do­ing his best. Men­dels­sohn went up to him, and said:

Would you let me play on the or­gan?

The old or­gan­ist said in a gruff man­ner: We do not al­low pe­ople who do not know how to play.

But I wish you would let me play, said Men­dels­sohn.

Well, it is against the rules of the church, but you may sit down and try it.

Mendelssohn sat down, and his fin­gers be­gan to sweep over the key­board. The old man stood, and looked, He had nev­er heard the or­gan talk like that be­fore, and as Men­dels­sohn con­tin­ued to play the old man seemed trans­fixed. He put his hand on the play­er’s shoul­der as he got through, and said:

Who are you?

I am Men­dels­sohn, was the re­ply.

Mendels­sohn! said the old or­gan­ist, and to think that I re­fused per­mis­sion to Men­dels­sohn to play on this or­gan!

Friend, let Je­sus have the key­board of your life! If he has it, oh, the mu­sic he will bring out of it! And how we shall glor­i­fy Him in these lives of ours.

Record of Chris­tian Work (East North­field, Mas­sa­chu­setts: Rec­ord of Chris­tian Work Com­pa­ny), vol­ume 40, num­ber 1, Jan­u­ary 1921, p. 779

Sources

Music