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Premieres: January 2009 Archives

Mendelssohn's Lost Treasures


Mendelssohn: Lost Treasures and the Wagner Suppression

Felix Mendelssohn, one of the most popular composers of the Romantic era, is recognized as one of classical music's most prolific and gifted composers. Yet of his more than 770 compositions, over 270 are still unpublished, owing primarily to a campaign of suppression by composer Richard Wagner and his sympathizers in the post-revolution Germany of the 1850s and later during Hitler's rise to power.

After his death in 1847 at age 38, Felix Mendelssohn's reputation was vilified by composer Richard Wagner through his writings, specifically his book Judaism in Music, in which Wagner wrote that since Mendelssohn had the blood of a Jew, he was incapable of writing great music. As a result, publication of hundreds of Mendelssohn's works was suppressed as anti-Semitic feelings increased. Later, when Hitler came to power, Mendelssohn's scores were banned by the Nazis and were scattered around the globe. In a campaign to recover these lost works and to further restore Mendelssohn's reputation, Mr. Somary has rediscovered hundreds of unknown compositions of all genres, which Mendelssohn wrote from his teen years to the period just before his death.

Now on Wednesday, January 28, at 7:00 p.m. as the music world prepares to celebrate the 200th anniversary of Mendelssohn's birth, the Museum of Jewish Heritage – A Living Memorial to the Holocaust in association with The Mendelssohn Project will present a program of 13 world premieres of recital, vocal, and chamber works by Mendelssohn. Mendelssohn: Lost Treasures and the Wagner Suppression will take place in Edmond J. Safra Hall of the Museum and will feature pianists Orion Weiss and Anna Polonsky, the Shanghai Quartet, bass Kevin Deas, and mezzo-soprano Abigail Nims. Stephen Vann is artistic producer, and Stephen Somary, founder and artistic director of The Mendelssohn Project, is artistic director of this concert.

WQXR's Elliott Forrest, Peabody award-winning broadcaster and producer, will moderate a post-concert discussion with Stephen Somary and some of the evening's artists about this "new" music from Felix Mendelssohn and the preparations undertaken to ready the Mendelssohn manuscripts for performance, followed by questions from the audience.

Wednesday, January 28, 7 PM
Museum of Jewish Heritage
36 Battery Place
Battery Park City
New York, NY 10280
General Museum Info call 1.646.437.4200
Ticket Info call 1.646.437.4202

Read more about this at the Museum of Jewish Heritage website: