1 page. Quarto. Dated January 29, 1842. With integral address panel. In German (with transcription and translation).
Relative to the composer's urgent need to receive the vocal and instrumental parts for his Lobgesang symphony-cantata, op. 52 and Handel's Israel in Egypt, op. 51.
Once more I am approaching you with a major request. It concerns all vocal and instrumental parts of my Psalm 114 'Da Israel aus Aegypten zog' [When Israel out of Egypt came, op. 51] and my Lobgesang [symphony no. 2, op. 52]. Please send me everything of it that remains and the Abonnements-Concert [series at the Leipzig Gewandhaus] and that they are able and willing to lend me, 'quam citissime' by rail. But this time it is very urgent, and it means very much to me to see these complete parts arrive here by rail on Monday, 2 o'clock. Please, if at all possible, arrange it this way. I will bring everything back with me on [February] 18. I thank you a thousand times for your effort in advance.
Please let me have these items here on Monday, if at all possible!!
Always your grateful and devout
Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy"
Slight foxing, primarily to upper margin; reinforced with paper tape to left edge and with transparent tape to upper edge; creased at folds and slightly overall to blank area of address panel; remnants of red sealing wax.
Mendelssohn may have been requesting these parts from Kistner in preparation for a concert in which he co-directed (with Julius Rietz) the Niederrheinisches Musikfest in Düsseldorf (May 1842), where he conducted both his "Lobgesang" and Handel's "Israel in Egypt."
Mendelssohn's "Lobgesang" symphony-cantata received its première in June 1840 at a festival commemorating the quadricentenary of the invention of movable type. "... a broad historical review that relates the German past to the present and summons various musical icons - symphony, cantata, oratorio elements, responsorial psalmody, and chorale - into the service of praising God. If the Lobgesang failed, it did so not by emulating the Ninth [Beethoven's Ninth Symphony] but by aspiring toward an unattainable comprehensiveness - a symphony-cum-cantata with the trappings of a sacred service, a concert piece created for a specific occasion but reaching toward musical universality." Todd: Mendelssohn, p. 400.
Mendelssohn cultivated a life-long devotion to Handel and did much to promote his music in Germany, much as he had done for Bach in England, conducting Act II of Israel in Egypt in Düsseldorf in 1833 and the complete work three years later in Leipzig; he also prepared a new edition of the work in 1844 at the request of the Handel Society. "Op. 51 owes much to Handel, especially Joshua... But in conception and design... the composition is a product of nineteenth-century sensibilities and aesthetics." ibid, p. 382
Kistner was Mendelssohn's publisher in Leipzig. Mendelssohn lived in Berlin at the time but retained close ties to Leipzig and continued conducting at the Gewandhaus. Interestingly, the railroad from Berlin to Leipzig had just been completed on September 10, 1841; Mendelssohn apparently took advantage of this for the urgent delivery of the material requested from Kistner mentioned in the present letter. Item #23002
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