So? Where's the hype this time?!?
Mozart turned 250, and you couldn't turn around without banging your shins on another recording of Eine Kleine Nachtmusik. Mendelssohn turns 200 and...not so much.So where's the hype this time? Not big box sets in the stores. Orchestral seasons aren't packed with performances of his music. Nope. The big Mendelssohn Moment is missing. It's a big story, though. Big enough for NPR's Robert Siegel to do a interview with Anne-Sophie Mutter about Mendelssohn and his music for All Things Considered. She thinks it's important, too:
Maybe it's a reflection of the economy--that's the theory at the New York Times:
I just think Mendelssohn is the Rodney Dangerfield of classical composers. He lived such a short time, and very little of his work could be called transformative. There's no grand 9th symphony, no great requiem, no jaw-dropping opera. But there is one thing that Mendelssohn excelled in: beauty. His is some of my favorite music. It is always lovely, deeply moving, and engaging from beginning to end. Gil Shaham once told me that Dvorak never wrote a bad note. Although his sister, Orli, says she actually said that, I won't debate the source here; I'll merely confirm the sentiment. Mendelssohn never wrote a bad note, and we should celebrate this wonderful composer more than we do.
So that's exactly what we intend to do. On February 3rd, we'll spend the day playing some of his greatest works, including the new Daniel Hope recording of the violin concerto and the David Zinman/RPO rendtition of the Scottish Symphony. And we'll remember a man whose life was too short, but incredibly influential. This is, after all, the man who, as a conductor, premiered some of the great works of his era and single-handedly rescued Bach from the musical trash heap--and how astute was that?