The Cambridge Companion to Mendelssohn
The Companion to Mendelssohn, is written by leading scholars in the field. In fourteen chapters they explore the life, work, and reception of a composer-performer once thought uniquely untroubled in life and art alike, but who is now broadly understood as one of the nineteenth century's most deeply problematic musical figures. The first section of the volume considers issues of biography, with chapters dedicated to Mendelssohn's role in the emergence of Europe's modern musical institutions, to the persistent tensions of his German-Jewish identity, and to his close but enigmatic relationship with his gifted older sister, Fanny. The following nine essays survey Mendelssohn's expansive and multi-faceted musical output, marked as it was by successes in almost every contemporary musical genre outside of opera. The volume's two closing essays confront, in turn, the turbulent course of Mendelssohn's posthumous reception and some of the challenges his music continues to pose for modern performers.