Preface: A little history and background from the author
As we hopefuls look back one-hundred and seventy something years and we see our stoic heroes, our idols in this near-godlike light, we use what little scraps of information history can
provide for us to draw our conclusions about who they were beyond what they did. We glue bits of the puzzle together to give them life again beyond their most famous painting or piece, or idea. To
do this takes years and talent and dedication, and often times by the time we reach the finished product, we have reanimated the person in such a way that we have created a demigod instead of a
In many ways, we have done this to Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy, the giant of the 1840’s, the favourite of Queen Victorian, the ‘sunshine and sugar-water’ of composers. In light of recent
events, we must stand back, as humans, as historians, as musicians and as classical music lovers and take a new look at the man who we lionize as the boy genius, the social butterfly, the breezy,
torment-less soul. Could the Mendelssohn as we know him be a true ‘suffering artist’ underneath the boundless accounts of supposed happiness we find almost two-centuries later? We must, in all
An affidavit of Mr Otto Goldschmidt has unearthed itself from the depths of the Mendelssohn Scholarship Foundation housed in the Royal Academy of Music set up by a certain Miss Jenny Lind
after Mendelssohn’s death. The document states that Mendelssohn sent a letter to Miss Lind in 1847 declaring his love for her and pleading her to elope with him to America. The ultimatum stated
that if she denied, he would take his own life. The letter, claimed Goldschmidt, was destroyed leaving nothing but his word. Of course, as history shows us, Miss Lind denied Mendelssohn in her
knowledge of his marriage to Cecilé Jeanrenaud, and the couple’s five children.
Now, what would prompt such a letter in the first place? It is said that ‘absence of evidence is not evidence of absence’, and it is very probable that Miss Lind and Mendelssohn could have
had an affair. In fact, it is absolutely almost palpable within the pages of history. Such was the Victorian era, where so long as one did not make his or her affair public, it was not scrutinized.
We also know that Mendelssohn was somewhat of a Romeo, as seen with Delphine von Schauroth, the pianist and composer to whom his First Piano Concerto in G minor is dedicated. From accounts of
people who knew the soprano and composer come more proof that anything is possible. The two were almost inseparable when together. A surviving quote from Miss Lind states that ‘he was the only
person who brought fulfilment to my spirit, and as soon as I found him, I lost him again.’ So the question remains, is the affidavit legitimate or is it a sad attempt at soiling the good name of
Whatever it may be; the romantic drama of 1840’s, a falsified persona of a genius over time, or a sick and twisted irony the fact remains this: there is a mysterious affidavit, there is
proof of a relationship, and if the affidavit is true, after a suicide threat, the prolific Felix Mendelssohn died on the fourth of November 1847.
The following is a novel based on fact and assumption of facts. But not only is it that, it is a deeper look into the legendary lives of two musical giants whose personas have almost been
washed away by time. It is a glance into their minds, and a truth-based fantasy on what may or may not have been. Felix Mendelssohn and Jenny Lind: composer and soprano? Friends? Lovers? Tormented
souls bound together by a love of music? All of the above? In the following words, no stone will be left untouched, no story left untold. In the following, Miss Lind and Felix Mendelssohn are
resurrected and the speculations of eroding history are dusted off and told again through the eyes of the Nightingale herself.
© Copyright 2016 SRDarling. All rights reserved.