Fall 1945 • Vol. VII No. 4 Book Reviews |

Brief Comments: Letters

Letters by Felix Mendelssohn. Pantheon. $4.50. Since the Germans are probably in no mind to do any rejoicing, Pantheon's publication of the Mendelssohn Letters celebrates in a somewhat vicarious way a homecoming: in this instance, the return of Mendelssohn to the Germans. I wonder how Mendelssohn would care for the transaction. In 1832 he wrote: If one day people do not want me any more in Germany, I can still go abroad where life is easier for the foreigner, but I hope it will never prove necessary. The editor of these letters, Mr. G. Selden-Goth, is at some pains to indicate how un-Semitic Mendelssohn was; that he was scarcely conscious of being a Jew; and that "there is not a single bar in his composition inspired by motives of Jewish folksong or synagogue music." This note disturbs me, and suggests that the matter of national, racial, and religious elements in a music needs to be aired. Ravel's Spanish material in the Alborada del gracioso does not make Ravel a

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