excerpt from 'My Musical Life' pp. 12-13 (305 words)

excerpt from 'My Musical Life' pp. 12-13 (305 words)

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My Musical Life

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It must have been about the year 1846 that I was taken up to a concert at Exeter Hall, and heard there for the first time what seemed to me to be music or unearthly sweetness. The room was crowded. I was far behind. I could only see the fiddle-sticks of the band in the distance. Four long-drawn-out tender wails on the wind rising, rising; then a soft, rapid, flickering kind of sound, high up in the treble clef, broke from a multitude of fiddles, ever growing in complexity as the two fiddles at each desk divided the harmonies amongst them, pausing as the deep melodious breathing of wind instruments suspended in heavy slumbrous sighs their restless agitation, then recommencing till a climax was reached, and the whole band broke in with that magnificent subject which marks the first complete and satisfying period of musical solution in the overture to the "Midsummer Night's Dream!" I was at once affected as I had never before been. I did not know then that it was the MENDELSSOHN mania that had come upon me. It seized upon the whole musical world of forty years ago, and discoloured the taste and judgment of those affected, for every other composer. The epidemic lasted for about twenty years at its height; declined rather suddenly with the growing appreciation of SCHUMANN, the tardy recognition of SPOHR, and the revival of SCHUBERT, receiving its quietus of course with the triumph of WAGNER. People now "place" MENDELSSOHN, then they worshipped him. Can I forget the heavenly close of that dream overture that day? MR. WILLY that capital chef d'orchestre, so strict, so true, so sympathetic was leading the band. The enchanting master, who was to pass away in the following year, FELIX MENDELSSOHN, was still alive. He might have been in London at the time.

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excerpt from 'My Musical Life' pp. 12-13 (305 words)


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