Felix Mendelssohn, on the two hundredth anniversary of his birth (February 3), is getting a welcome reappraisal. National Public Radio did a story on recently discovered works by the German composer. A New York Times article tells of the efforts of violinist Anne-Sophie Mutter and conductor Kurt Mazur to repair the reputation of the composer, damaged more than a century ago by Richard Wagner's anti-Semitic attack.
Strangely enough, Mendelssohn and Wagner composed the two most popular wedding marches. Wagner's is majestic and triumphal, but there's a richness to Mendelssohn's march that celebrates love.
I'm no connoisseur of music, but there's a place in my heart for Mendelssohn, who died at the age of 38 in 1847. And among those of us who love music, but are not musical scholars, he's remained popular. His music is simply enchanting. Memories can play tricks, but as I remember our honeymoon in Washington, D.C., in the dog days of August, 1973, Mendelssohn was always playing in our hotel room. I'm happy that the musical world is bringing him back to the first rank of composers.