Felix Mendelssohn Quotes

Jakob Ludwig Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy (February 3, 1809 – November 4, 1847) was a German composer, pianist, organist and conductor of the early Romantic period.

“Ever since I began to compose, I have remained true to my starting principle: not to write a page because no matter what public, or what pretty girl wanted it to be thus or thus; but to write solely as I myself thought best, and as it gave me pleasure.” – Felix Mendelssohn.

“I dislike many-sidedness, which, moreover, I rather think I do not much believe in. Anything that aspires to be distinguished, or beautiful, or really great, must be one-sided.” – Letter to his parents, June 6, 1831, cited from Reisebriefe von Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy: Aus den Jahren 1830 bis 1832.

“People often complain that music is too ambiguous, that what they should think when they hear it is so unclear, whereas everyone understands words. With me, it is exactly the opposite, and not only with regard to an entire speech but also with individual words.” – Felix Mendelssohn.

“Though everything else may appear shallow and repulsive, even the smallest task in music is so absorbing, and carries us so far away from town, country, earth, and all worldly things, that it is truly a blessed gift of God.” – Felix Mendelssohn.

“And do you agree with me, that the first condition of an artist should be to bear respect towards what is great, and to bow to it and acknowledge it, and not attempt to extinguish great flames for the sake of making his own rushlight burn more brightly?” – Letter to Wilhelm Taubert, August 27, 1831, cited from Reisebriefe von Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy: Aus den Jahren 1830 bis 1832.

“The essence of the beautiful is unity in variety.” – Felix Mendelssohn.

“A romantic who felt at ease within the mould of classicism.” – Pablo Casals, quoted in J M Corredor, Conversations with Casals (1954).

“These seem to me so ambiguous, so vague, so easily misunderstood in comparison to genuine music, which fills the soul with a thousand things better than words.” – Felix Mendelssohn.

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