Felix Mendelssohn gets lost in Switzerland
Misled by a hermit
September 1, 2023 Written by Thorsten Preuss
Rapperswil, September 1, 1831. At first, young Felix Middlesson Bartholdy was furious: someone had pointed him the wrong way during a walk in Switzerland! But then he discovered that the landscape he unexpectedly encountered had its advantages. Anger turns into joy.
Image source: Image Alliance / AKG Images
Contribution to be heard
“I can barely speak because of my anger!” Felix Mendelssohn presses the pen on the paper until it breaks. “You are complete bastards, you have deceived and deceived me!” They are the inhabitants of the Swiss pilgrimage site Einsiedeln. “The whole nest, how it lingers about the overgrown abbey, the parishioners on the country road, the proud priests and the tastelessly decorated church—all this troubles me. But to be led by such a hermit!”
Angry at Lake Zurich
This is the reason for the outburst in Mendelssohn’s memoirs: he had been misled by a resident of Einsieden. Mendelssohn really wanted to hike today from Schwyz over the Hagenig Pass to Lake Walen. But then someone in Einsiedeln pointed in the wrong direction. And now he, Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy, is sitting angry on Lake Zurich, where he didn’t even want to go. The composer takes a deep breath, looks at the sunset over the water and contemplates the day again. Maybe it wasn’t so bad after all.
Fresh wind and pleasant springs
“Justice must be done, the road through the Hagenage Pass is wonderful,” Mendelssohn wrote. “The road is steep and difficult from Schwyz, but the view of Lake Lucerne, the snowy mountains above, the refreshing winds, the pleasant springs, and especially the wonderful legends you have right next to you, make up for it.”
“Swiss Song” from Mendelssohn’s String Symphony No. 11
Symphony series no. 11 in F Major “Commodo Schweizerlied”: II.Scherzo
The first tourist in the history of music
Legends Two mountain peaks rise above the crest of the pass like two implacable pyramids of rock, overgrown with a little green here and there. For generations of pilgrims to Jacob, they were merely a dangerous obstacle in their path. But Mendelssohn hikes for pleasure and admires its beauty. And so he becomes the first tourist in the history of music: “The cheerful trumpet, the little white clouds over the lake, the clarity and sharpness of the nails, the light—nothing was missing!”
what happend today
You can also tune in to our “What Happened Today” series about milestones in music history at 7:40am, 1:30pm and 4:40pm on BR-KLASSIK on the radio. You can find more episodes to listen to here.
Broadcasting: “Allegro” on September 1, 2023 From 6:05 AM on BR-KLASSIK
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